Tel: 804.864.1100

Tel: 804.864.1100

Author Archive: David Greene

Safe Landing at Libbie Square

Over the past few days, we have transitioned out of our downtown space to new, roomy and high-tech offices in Libbie Square, an office complex in the exciting Willow Lawn corridor in the western part of Richmond. As we opened our doors this morning, there were still boxes to be unpacked and a few connections to be hooked up, but we were fully underway on client projects. Here are a couple of photos from earlier today.

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Read more in the article in this morning’s RichmondBizSense.com.

GreeneHurlocker Moves Law Office to Expanded Space in Richmond’s Willow Lawn Area

GreeneHurlocker is moving to larger office space in the Willow Law area of Richmond as of October 1, 2014, co-managing partner Brian Greene reported today.

The firm will operate from 1807 Libbie Avenue in Suite 102, expanding its office square footage by over 40%, accommodating growth in both lawyers and clients. The new location will have convenient free parking, multiple conference rooms, and expanded technology and infrastructure. It will also have its own entrance with a courtyard. The move will provide enhanced efficiencies and amenities for the firm’s clients and will place GreeneHurlocker near Willow Lawn, one of the Richmond area’s most vibrant and exciting developments with its increasing number of restaurants and shopping opportunities.

“This is the perfect time for us to relocate because our client base is growing, and we have brought in new lawyers to continue to serve our clients efficiently and effectively,” said co-managing partner Eric Hurlocker.

“Also, we are fortunate to have a variety of Virginia and mid-Atlantic clients in the energy and business sectors. Our new location will provide clients with easy access, and the increased square footage and enhanced technology will benefit our clients immensely,” he explained.

GreeneHurlocker’s lawyers practice primarily before regulatory commissions and courts in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., and throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

GreeneHurlocker, PLC, located in Richmond, Virginia, provides a broad range of energy law, transactional, administrative/regulatory law, litigation, and corporate services. Formed over two years ago, GreeneHurlocker is committed to delivering the highest quality legal services to its corporate, energy, utility and renewable energy industry clients in a professional, effective and cost-efficient manner. Contact the firm for more information at greenehurlocker.com, and follow the firm on Twitter and LinkedIn.

GreeneHurlocker Growing On The Move

This week, we’ll be getting ready for our new offices. Yes, we’re moving because we’re nearly busting at the seams, what with new clients and lawyers all around.

We’re occupying a larger and more convenient suite of offices in Libbie Square, an office development in west Richmond in the Willow Lawn corridor, a vibrant and growing area. We will have free parking, convenient access to major highways and other transportation and plenty of great spots to take our clients to lunch.

The address is 1807 Libbie Avenue, Suite 102, Richmond, VA, 23226. (If you forget it, it will be down there on the bottom of our web page.) All other contact details (phones, fax, email) are the same. We’re excited about our growth and the opportunity for more space for meetings and staff. We hope you are, as well, and will come to see us at your earliest opportunity.

Dominion Files 2014 Integrated Resource Plan

Regulatory Alert:  At the end of last month, Dominion Virginia Power (Dominion) submitted its 2014 Integrated Resource Plan (the 2014 IRP), which covers the period 2015 through 2029, to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) for review.  Virginia law requires that these plans should, among other things, reflect a diversity of electric generation supply and cost-effective demand reduction contracts and services so as to reduce the risks associated with an over-reliance on any particular fuel or type of generation demand and supply resources and be consistent with Virginia’s energy policies set forth in Section 67-102.

The SCC will review the 2014 IRP and make a determination as to whether the 2014 IRP is reasonable and is in the public interest.  The SCC has not yet issued a procedural order in this case, and we will update this Alert as soon as that happens.  We are paying particular attention to this integrated resource plan proceeding in light of the Environmental Protection Agency’s June issuance of a Clean Power Plan, pursuant to draft rule 111(d), which would require a significant reduction in carbon emissions from existing sources of power generation.

GreeneHurlocker works with many clients operating in areas that may be impacted by the 2014 IRP proceeding. Please contact one of our energy lawyers if you have questions about the 2014 IRP, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan or any other issues relating to Virginia energy regulation.

 

New Natural Gas Pipeline Announcement

Just Announced – On Tuesday, September 2, 2014, Dominion announced a joint venture with Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources to build a $5 billion natural gas pipeline that would stretch from West Virginia through southwest Virginia down to southern North Carolina. The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would carry up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, a tremendous throughput. Pending regulatory approvals from both FERC and state regulators, construction of the pipeline could begin in mid-2016, going into service as early as late 2018.

 

This project comes on the heels of EQT Corp. and NextEra Energy’s announcement in June 2014 that they plan to construct a 330-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline from West Virginia into southern Virginia.  The Mountain Valley Pipeline, pending regulatory approvals, is expected to be put into service sometime during the fourth quarter of 2018 and would provide at least 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas transmission capacity.

 

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline would deliver natural gas to growing markets in Virginia and beyond, and would provide direct access to natural gas flowing from the Marcellus and Utica gas shale basins in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

 

GreeneHurlocker works with many clients operating in areas that may be impacted by the construction and operation of the proposed pipeline. Please contact one of our energy lawyers if you have questions about the regulatory approvals or any other issues relating to this new pipeline.

Two years old and welcoming our newest associate.

Thanks to you, our clients and friends, GreeneHurlocker – within only two years – has doubled in size. We are grateful for the opportunity to represent companies in the energy and utilities industries, their partners, investors, executives and consumers in matters of regulation, finance, mergers and acquisitions, rates, agreements and, when necessary, litigation. It has been a great two years.

We’ve been gratified by the growth of our client base, which has allowed us to add new lawyers in the last seven months. In July, we welcome Leeron Avnery, an experienced corporate transactions and regulatory lawyer with whom we’ve worked in past years on energy matters.

Leeron will focus on work for renewable energy companies and investors, retail electricity producers and distributors, pricing agreements, procurement contracts, corporate finance and acquisitions. You can read all about Leeron here.

North Carolina Rule Could Spur or Cripple Solar Development

North Carolina Utilities Commission Considers Utility Power Purchase Agreement Rule Changes that Could Spur or Cripple Solar Development

Last week, the North Carolina Utilities Commission (“NCUC”) held hearings on policies that have the potential to either significantly expand opportunities for small-scale solar projects or severely restrict solar industry growth. Currently, North Carolina utilities are required to enter into 15-year power purchase agreements (“PPAs”) for new solar facilities of 5 MW or less.  The program is standardized so that the utility purchases the energy from these solar facilities at the standard offer service (“SOS”) rate, set by the NCUC. This PPA structure has benefited developers by providing a specific non-negotiable rate for solar plant output, lowering the upfront transactional costs and uncertainty for new solar projects. Solar industry supporters are urging the NCUC to expand the PPA parameters, while the utilities want to limit the scope of this program.

Solar Industry Proposal:

To help grow distributed solar infrastructure in North Carolina, solar industry advocates have asked the NCUC to expand the solar PPA program to provide for 20 year contracts at the SOS price for all plants up to 10 MW. If the developers’ proposals are adopted, they may soon find it easier – and less costly – to finance 5-10 MW projects, as well as smaller-scale projects that would be able to lock in 20-year contracts, rather than the current 15-year limit.

Utilities’ Proposal:

By contrast, North Carolina utilities – including Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, and Dominion Power North Carolina – propose limiting the size of eligible facilities from 5 MW down to 100 kW. Solar advocates anticipate that if NCUC accepts the utilities’ proposal, this 98% reduction in the size of solar facilities eligible for standardized PPAs would cripple solar developers, subjecting future larger-scale projects to protracted negotiations with utilities, increasing the time and costs to break ground. The utilities raised concerns about (1) their ability to manage growth and balance their systems and (2) potential challenges the NCUC may face in managing solar growth while carrying out its regulatory charge ensure safe, reliable power at just and reasonable rates.

Conclusion:

A primary NCUC focus in these proceedings is the potential disruptive impacts, both positive and negative, increased development of distributed solar may have on North Carolina’s electricity systems. With such starkly opposite proposals from solar advocates and the utilities, the NCUC may instead take the position recommended by NCUC Public Staff – no change at all.

Whatever the outcome of these proceedings, which are anticipated to continue for several months, we will be keeping an eye on state-level solar policy developments, in North Carolina and elsewhere, as regulators are faced with balancing the benefits of increasing growth in the solar industry with the challenges such growth places on current industry norms and infrastructure.

If you have any questions about these North Carolina Utilities Commission proceedings, or want to discuss other industry or regulatory developments in energy law affecting your company, please contact one of our energy lawyers.

GreeneHurlocker Partners Again Selected As Virginia Super Lawyers

RICHMOND, VA, July 14, 2014 — GreeneHurlocker co-managing partners Brian Greene and Eric Hurlocker have been recognized as 2014 Super Lawyers in the area of Energy and Natural Resources, as published in the listing publication by Thomson Reuters.

Greene has been listed in nine consecutive editions of the Virginia Super Lawyers and Hurlocker has been listed in the most recent two. According to the publisher, only five percent of all attorneys in Virginia are recognized as Super Lawyers.

Greene maintains a diverse and sophisticated regional energy practice, representing a wide range of clients in several jurisdictions for regulatory, market and business matters. Hurlocker focuses on advising clients in the areas of energy law as well as commercial transactions and general corporate work for energy and technology companies, manufacturers and services providers, with a focus on renewable energy markets and investors. The GreeneHurlocker firm is currently celebrating its second anniversary.

The selections for this list are made by the research team at Super Lawyers through a patented review and rating process. The list is a Thomson Reuters business, and calls itself a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The mission of Super Lawyers is to bring visibility to those attorneys who exhibit excellence in practice.

The Super Lawyers lists are published in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines across the country. The Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law.

Will Solar Power Cost Continue to Fall As Efficiency Rises?

SEIA solar energy costs

SEIA solar energy costs

Recent reports show that, in 19 markets around the world, including some in parts of the United States, solar photovoltaic (PV) energy matches or undercuts local electricity prices.

In just the last four years, the average cost of installed solar power across all sectors of the US economy has dropped more than 50 percent, from $6.00 a watt to $2.59, with a further decline to $1.60/watt projected by 2020. Since 2008, the cost of solar PV modules per watt has declined from $3.40 per watt to about $0.80 per watt.

This trend is part of the foundation that our solar energy clients are building their successes on. From college campus energy projects to large scale solar arrays for investments, the reliable supply of PV modules and their lower costs due to manufacturing economies of scale are shaping the renewable energy supply of the future.

The potential disruption for fossil fuel producers and related industries is more imminent than anyone expected. However, the accelerating use of solar will prove a boon to the retail energy producers who have had the vision to make early investments and work with regulators to open markets.

If you  have any questions about the solar energy market for our renewable energy lawyers, please contact us at our Richmond, Virginia headquarters.

Heading to Hershey to Join Regulatory Conference

Brian Greene and Eric Wallace will represent our firm at the MACRUC (Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners) 19th Annual Education Conference being held June 22-25 in Hershey, PA. We’re also one of the conference sponsors.

GreeneHurlocker’s sponsorship of the conference makes sense because of the increasing partnerships and relationships between the conference attendees and our firm.  Our energy lawyers, who represent electricity, natural gas, and  water companies know that they will see many of the firm’s current clients at the conference as well as people with whom we work on a daily basis.  The conference is the perfect place to build upon current professional relationships and forge new ones.

Among the many sessions taking place over the three day conference, one will include utility regulators and industry leaders in the energy field giving their take on the current financial, regulatory and market environments and the future outlook for their industries. In addition, contemporary concerns such as demand response, smart grid, distributed energy resources and retail competition, along with risk, security and resource management, rate structures, environmental and physical network issues will also be presented.

If you plan to attend, we hope to see you there! Look for us at the breaks and in sessions.

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