Justia Vermont Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Energy, Oil and Gas
Applicant Ecos Energy, LLC appealed the Public Service Board's decision that its proposed solar power project did not qualify for a standard-offer power purchase contract under Vermont's Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) program because it exceeded the statutory limit on generation capacity. In 2009, the Board issued an order in which it prescribed various procedures and requirements for the standard-offer program. The standard-offer program was administered by the SPEED facilitator, VEPP, Inc. One of the participants in the implementation process, Central Vermont Public Service, commented that separate projects would need to enter into separate interconnection agreements with the utility, enter into separate standard contracts, and obtain separate certificates of public good. Another participant, Renewable Energy Vermont, commented that the statute was clear that "separate plants that share common infrastructure and interconnection should be considered as one plant." In April 2013, VEPP issued a request for proposals (RFP) for projects. Applicant proposed three 2.0 MW solar projects (the Bennington Solar project, the Apple Hill Solar project, and the Sudbury Solar project). Applicant's three projects were the lowest-priced projects. In submitting the RFP results to the Board, VEPP noted that the Bennington project and the Apple Hill project would be located on the same parcel of property and the generation components of the project were "physically contiguous." It requested that the Board make a determination as to whether or not the two projects constituted a single plant. The Board accepted the Bennington project and disqualified the Apple Hill project, which had a higher price. The Board authorized VEPP to enter into standard-offer contracts with applicant for the Bennington and Sudbury projects. Applicant subsequently petitioned the Board to reconsider and modify its order. When it refused, applicant appealed the decision. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court found that the Board's conclusion that the Bennington and Apple Hill projects constituted a single plant was contrary to the plain language of the applicable statute: the Bennington and Apple Hill projects would qualify as "independent technical facilities." As such the Court reversed the Board's decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.View "In re Programmatic Changes to the Standard-Offer Program and Investigation into the Establishment of Standard-Offer Prices under the Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development" on Justia Law