Thank you! Harrisonburg partner Jared Burden and the whole GreeneHurlocker firm are grateful for the great attendance of our business clients and colleagues at our “Top Five Risks When You Sign A Contract” session with our friend Tom Mendez of McGriff Insurance Services yesterday afternoon in our offices in the Smith House. And the after-party, our Open House celebrating the successes of our first year of our Harrisonburg office, was incredible fun and filled the art gallery downstairs. We are pleased to report that all those who attended shared our Holiday spirit and wishes for a prosperous New Year were frequent and heartfelt. We can’t wait for another time to get together, so watch for our next seminar announcement in the New Year. You can see the fun for yourself below.
On Friday, November 2, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (“SCC” or “Commission”) approved the first major renewable energy investments by Dominion Energy Virginia (“Dominion”) following the passage of Senate Bill 966 (“SB 966”), the sweeping utility overhaul legislation enacted in March. SB 966 provides that it is “in the public interest” for Dominion and Appalachian Power Company to purchase or construct up to 5,000 MW of new wind and solar energy resources. The legislation specifically states that a wind demonstration project located off Virginia’s coast would be “in the public interest.”
The SCC approved a 12 MW, $300 million offshore wind demonstration project proposed by Dominion, which will be constructed 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. While finding the project to be prudent, the SCC’s Final Order strongly suggests that the application would have been rejected absent legislation deeming such projects to be “in the public interest” as a matter of law.
The Commission’s Final Order stated that the wind proposal “would not be deemed prudent [under this Commission’s] long history of utility regulation or under any common application of the term.” The SCC noted that the offshore wind project, which will be constructed by a Danish energy developer, was not subject to competitive bidding and that the energy costs will be “26 times greater than purchasing energy from the market” and “13.8 times greater than the cost of new solar facilities.” Finally, the Commission found that the project is not needed for Dominion to ensure reliability or meet any forecasted demand. Nonetheless, the Commission concluded that, “as a matter of law,” the Commission’s “factual analysis” of the reasonableness of the project is “subordinate [to] the legislative intent and public policy clearly set forth [by the 2018 amendments.”
The Commission also approved Dominion’s request to purchase 80 MW of solar energy via a power purchase agreement (“PPA”) with a non-utility company, Cypress Creek Renewables. The Commission noted that, unlike the offshore wind project, Dominion customers would be protected from financial and performance risks of the project since the utility is purchasing the energy from private developers.
The Final Order in the offshore wind matter (Case No. PUR-2018-00121) is available here and the Final Order in the solar PPA matter (Case No. PUR-2018-00135) is available here. Please contact one of our energy regulatory attorneys if you have questions about either of these cases.
On October 24, 2018, Dominion Energy Virginia (Dominion) announced and issued an RFP seeking 500 MW of solar and on-shore wind generation. Projects must be at least 5 MW. Interested bidders can propose to either sell Dominion the project development assets or sell energy to Dominion under a Power Purchase Agreement. Projects must be located in the Commonwealth of Virginia to be eligible.
The RFP schedule is as follows:
|Intent to Bid forms due:||This Friday, November 2, 2018|
|Proposals to sell development assets due:||December 13, 2018|
|Proposals to sell energy (PPA) due:||March 14, 2019|
|RFP concludes:||Second Quarter 2019|
Dominion has pledged to have 3,000 megawatts of new solar and/or wind energy under development or in operation by early 2022. Dominion also announced that it will issue formal RFPs on an annual basis until the 3,000 MW target is met.
Our clients and colleagues have a lot of questions about the status of retail energy choice in Virginia. In this Energy Update special report, Will Reisinger breaks down the major legal issues and several pending court cases. These cases could determine whether Virginia expands – or restricts – customers’ access to new renewable energy and market-based rate options.
GreeneHurlocker was very proud to be a long-time supporter of the Deep Run Marathon Dance, which in its final year raised over $197,000. Over the twelve-year run of the Dance, the passionate teenagers at Deep Run High School and community volunteers raised nearly $2.2 million for worthy local non-profits.
It is always a privilege for us to join in local causes that benefit the community. We’ve supported others in past years including the Rutlin Torah Academy, United Way, Commonwealth Catholic Charities’ undocumented youth project and CancerLINC. If you want to know more about our community involvement, contact any of our lawyers.
Here are a few photos we took last weekend:
As we previously discussed here, last month it was announced that President Trump signed an executive order to impose a 30% tariff on imported solar cells and modules. While there are many critics of the tariff, one local Virginia businessman hopes the tariff will help lead to Virginia’s first solar panel manufacturing facility.
As reported in the Richmond Times Dispatch article, Charles Bush has transformed a 16,000 square foot former die plant off Midlothian Turnpike in South Richmond to a potential solar panel manufacturing facility. He hopes that as manufacturers look for solar panel manufacturing plants in the United States as a result of the tariff, his plant will be attractive given that its “ready to go.” Bush stated that as of now, the plant can produce 460 solar panels a day, but he hopes to double capacity within the first year of operation.
We look forward to following Mr. Bush’s facility and hope to see solar panel manufacturing in Virginia soon!
If you have any questions regarding the solar tariff or solar energy market, please contact one of our renewable energy lawyers.
We were excited to read the front page coverage about our client, Nutriati, who we have mentioned before, here and when they were selected for a ChamberRVA IMPACT Award, in yesterday’s Richmond Times Dispatch Metro Business section.
You can see and read about the strides the Company continues to take on the RTD website. We wish the Nutriati Team continued success, and we’re looking forward to tasting those brownies someday soon.
We’re headed for Raleigh, to speak on February 6 at the Clean Energy Project Development in NC, VA, SC, & Georgia sessions sponsored by the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association. This one day conference covers the multiple legal issues involved in renewable energy law from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. The continuing legal education program (CLE) will focus on the mechanics of renewable energy for attorneys and business professionals by examining timely subjects in each of these four states.
As a regular attendee at these meetings, I know how valuable and interesting the speakers and information can be. I will bring our firm’s expertise in solar and other renewable development and energy regulation in the Mid-Atlantic and be ready to discuss the opportunities and challenges this fast growing industry presents. If you’d like to attend, just click this link.
If you have questions about solar, renewable or sustainable energy development in Virginia or other markets in the Mid-Atlantic, contact me or any of our energy lawyers. Or you can just buttonhole me in Raleigh. I’ll be around.
We’ve expanded our footprint by bringing on a new partner, Jared Burden, based in Harrisonburg to open the firm’s second Virginia office as of January 9, says co-managing partner Eric Hurlocker.
“Our expansion into the Valley and the I-81 corridor with the addition of a talented lawyer like Jared are examples of GreeneHurlocker’s client-driven strategy at work,” says Brian Greene, co-managing partner.
“We will be able to provide clients with greater depth and reach of representation in matters relating to corporate, business, project development, and commercial real estate, among others,” he concludes.
“Jared adds a seasoned practitioner to the firm’s business and corporate law practice and also brings the firm a strong commercial real estate attorney. He represents sophisticated and diverse business clients that dovetail nicely with our clients. He’s an exceptional fit for our firm,” says Eric Hurlocker.
Burden will oversee the opening and ongoing operations of GreeneHurlocker’s Shenandoah Valley office, the firm’s first office outside of Richmond. He is a graduate of Duke University and UVA Law School.
Burden brings more than 27 years of experience as a corporate lawyer encompassing acquisitions, joint ventures, venture capital, and thousands of contracts of all sizes and types. Burden’s commercial real estate practice is based in experience both as an attorney and as an executive with a DC-area retail real estate development company.
Additionally, through Burden’s innovative OPENgc service, GreeneHurlocker will be providing outside general counsel services to businesses in a custom-designed program for a flat fee.
“The fixed fee general counsel service is one of the many unique offerings that Jared brings to the firm. This will be a key value proposition for our clients in emerging markets,” says Eric.
“While I enjoyed practicing law in large law firms in Washington, DC and San Francisco, I’m most proud of the success of the solo law practice I founded here in Harrisonburg in 2015,” Jared explains.
“It leads perfectly to joining GreeneHurlocker, because the firm is a dynamic practice that is focused, as I am, on growth-stage businesses in innovative industries,” he says.
GreeneHurlocker’s Harrisonburg, VA office is located at The Hub, 128 W. Bruce St. in downtown Harrisonburg, VA, across the street from the Ice House and minutes from James Madison University.