Public Utilities Law Update 2022: Bright Horizons in Renewables Development

24 March 2022 Renewable Energy Outlook Blog
Author(s): David W. Clark R. Lynn Parins Rikaela R.J. Greane

This March, Foley sponsored the Wisconsin Public Utilities Institute’s annual Public Utilities Law Update. This event covered the regulatory and legislative developments in the Wisconsin utility industry over the past year. Virtual and in person attendees included Wisconsin Public Service Commission Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq, Public Service Commissioner Tyler Huebner, Midwest utility general counsels, energy project developers, and other energy market participants.

Presenters at the conference emphasized progress made toward utility workforce and supplier diversity, the continued growth in renewable energy project development in Wisconsin, and the opportunities associated with federal infrastructure legislation. Chair Valcq summarized the results of the utility workforce and supplier diversity requirements established by the Commission last year, including potential modifications to future reporting requirements. These reporting requirements focused on women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, disability-owned, and LGBT businesses in addition to household economic burdens.

Chief Legal Counsel for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, Cynthia Smith, provided the annual update on notable dockets at the Commission, including the large number of renewables projects before the Commission. Projects covered included the 250 MW solar and 75 MW battery storage Darien solar project, the 200 MW solar and 110 MW battery storage Paris solar project, and the 91 MW Red Barn wind farm. Each of these projects are intended for Wisconsin utility ownership after development as merchant plants.

Foley Senior Counsel, Lynn Parins spoke on the panel “Energy Decarbonization Objectives, Opportunities, and Obstacles”, alongside Commissioner Huebner, Dan Litchfield of Invenergy, Cari Anne Renlund of Madison Gas and Electric, and Kari Valley, Managing Assistant General Counsel of MISO, moderated by Lisa Agrimonti of Fredrikson & Byron. The panel covered the importance of a consistent and longer-term tax incentive structure to encourage further development and meet carbon reduction goals, including President Biden’s executive order targeting U.S. government net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Panelists also emphasized the need for timely siting and permitting processes, new entrants and training of current energy professionals, and streamlined interconnection processes.

Foley is committed to helping our clients in the Energy sector in markets nationwide, and has a deep presence and expertise in Wisconsin and the upper Midwest.  For more information, please contact David Clark, Lynn Parins, Rikaela Greane or your Foley attorney.

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