2010 Law & Lawyers Report
The U.S. utility industry has never faced a more uncertain legal and regulatory landscape. From FERC demand-response pricing to state ratemaking disputes, legal trends and decisions are reshaping the power and gas market. The industry’s top legal minds provide strategic counsel. By definition, a battlefield is an ugly place. Conflict creates chaos, uncertainty and danger.
Legal and regulatory changes are transforming the industry.
This year has marked a sea change in energy policy, from environmental compliance to transmission pricing. Fortnightly interviews top lawyers to better understand how regulatory developments are affecting the power and gas industries.
The great debate over emissions allowance distribution.
Various approaches to distributing emissions allowances spark a heated debate over costs and fairness, but the allocation methodology doesn’t determine whether a regulatory scheme will reduce emissions. Auctioning allowances and distributing them for free both offer advantages and challenges for a successful cap-and-trade system.
An integrated approach could prove more effective for controlling emissions.
Despite political challenges, the EPA and Congress have made strides toward a more coherent and integrated approach to regulating air emissions. The time is right to reach consensus on a multi-pollutant strategy.
New green mandates force portfolio planners to re-think their models.
Rob Cleveland and John Brown
Quantifying the impacts of renewable portfolio standards (RPS) on utility integrated resource plans (IRP) sounds straight forward—just add more wind, solar, hydro, biomass, etc., to the plan and everything should be good to go. The reality is not quite so simple.
The current coal bust might lead to a future boom.
Gary L. Hunt and Hans Daniels
Coal is taking a beating. As mining costs rise, coal reserves deplete, emission regulations strengthen, and inter-fuel competitive dynamics change, the allocation of coal in the electric generation industry is certain to see substantial changes. The uncertainties over CO2 regulations and emissions standards are having a chilling impact on both proposed and current coal investment.
How new market-based regulations fit with today’s programs.
Sam Napolitano, Melanie LaCount, James O. Lee, Beth Murray, Mary Shellabarger, and Sam Waltzer
What do the Clean Air Interstate Rule, the Clean Air Mercury Rule, and the Clean Air Visibility Rule require of the power sector? Authors from the Environmental Protection Agency review implementation progress.
EPACT and the repeal of PUHCA have not affected the pace of utility acquisitions.
Elliot Roseman and Kimberly Richardson
Why do we still have several hundred shareholder-owned electric utilities in the United States, not to mention several thousand municipal and cooperative ones?
New provisions nearly eliminate the financial impacts of the rule’s ozone regulations.
Stephen T. Marron and John H. Wile
As of 2009, annual caps on NOx emissions imposed by the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) nearly will eliminate the financial impacts of CAIR’s ozone provisions. What does this mean for your utility?
Climate risks are entering the calculus for utility investment strategies.
Utilities are eager to invest in new power capacity—in part to build rate base and in part because they recognize the danger of relying too much on a single fuel source. Environmental issues, however, are adding greater complexity to company strategies for achieving fuel diversity.