Thursday, June 13, 2013

Midwest Court Ruling May Ease Energy Sales Into California

This could be an extremely important case.
The article concentrates on one scenario re: California's border areas, but there are others which make the ruling very sane: one project is a billionaire's idea for an enormous wind project in a windy plain state with the output to be wired, on a high voltage direct current line, straight, and exclusively, to California.  The concerpt is due to California committing to a large percentage of it's electricity coming from "renewable" generation.
To date, most such state initiatives stipulate some local production with the idea that jobs will be created by the subidies.  This court ruling, if it stands, would seem to eliminate that argument.

Midwest Court Ruling May Ease Energy Sales Into California | The Grid | ReWire | KCET:
A ruling by a federal court in the Midwest may force California to buy renewable energy from out of state whether it wants to or not, potentially spurring energy development in the desert areas east of the California state line. The decision found that Michigan laws favoring in-state renewable energy generation are unconstitutional.

Handed down June 7 by the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago, the decision came as a result of a legal contest between several states and regional utilities and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over who's on the hook for the costs of new regional transmission lines. In 2011, FERC approved a plan by the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO) to build a new transmission network between the Great Lakes and the Great Plains states. That network would bring western wind energy to midwestern cities, and MISO expected those Midwestern utilities and their ratepayers to shoulder the costs of building the lines.
But some of those locals sued to block the plan, including the state of Michigan. According to Michigan's Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act -- the equivalent to California's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law -- Michigan utilities are forbidden to count renewable energy generated outside the state toward the mandated 10 percent renewable energy level those utilities much achieve by 2015. Given that Michiganders were generating their renewables in-state, argued the plaintiiffs, there was no reason to ask them to pay for transmission to bring them energy they wouldn't be using.
On June 7, Circuit Judge Richard Posner found that Michigan's law ran up against an "insurmountable constitutional objection":
Michigan cannot, without violating the commerce clause of Article I of the Constitution, discriminate against out-of-state renewable energy.
Continue reading at ReWire | KCET:

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