Home Archives August 2008 PacifiCorp loses solar battle

PacifiCorp loses solar battle

| Print |  Email
Friday, August 01, 2008

solarp


PORTLAND Oregon’s burgeoning solar industry is back in business after a regulatory scuffle with PacifiCorp that jeopardized the future of $40 million worth of new solar installations statewide.

PacifiCorp filed a brief with the Oregon Public Utilities Commission in June seeking clarification on rules governing third-party-owned solar installations, in which companies build and operate photovoltaic systems on property owned by a municipality or nonprofit and sell excess power back to the grid.

The filing touched off a panic within the industry because third-party installations are widely considered an essential model for affordable solar projects, with giants such as Honeywell, SunEdison and RC Solar planning to invest millions in Oregon.

PacifiCorp spokesman Art Sasse emphasized that the goal was not to hinder progress but to establish clear rules regarding a development model that is growing in popularity. Critics accused PacifiCorp of creating uncertainty at a key moment for solar, with federal tax breaks scheduled to expire at the end of 2007.

A phalanx of clean-energy companies and trade groups lined up with government agencies and Oregon’s largest utility, Portland General Electric, to intervene in favor of third-party ownership deals. The interveners breathed a collective sigh of relief on July 14 after PUC attorney Michael Weirich opined that third-party owners are not electricity service suppliers, meaning they need not face the same burdensome regulations as do utilities. The PUC had not ruled by press time, but the ruling was widely expected to follow the staff opinion.

“We got everything we wanted out of that brief,” said Craig Ernst of the Oregon Solar Energy Industry Association. “It was a huge relief.”

It was also a blow to PacifiCorp, which was bought out by Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings in 2006 and is also facing controversy over its dams on the Klamath River. In spite of the backlash, Sasse says PacifiCorp does not regret the move.

“We would do it every time,” he says. “Our industry is highly regulated. You have to follow the rules and you have to know what the rules are. Every marketplace needs clarity.”                                  

BEN JACKLET


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

2014 Best Green Companies to Work For announced

News
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

100BestGreenMore than 350 people turned out today for Oregon Business magazine’s sixth annual celebration of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon.


Read more...

Driving green

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Transportation accounts for the second-largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S. (28% in 2012), and the use of renewable fuels, such as biodiesel and ethanol, is booming in light of state and national programs to make transportation fuels cleaner.


Read more...

Understanding Oregon medical marijuana dispensary tenants

News
Friday, June 13, 2014
061314 thumb grassrentBY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST BLOGGER

This article summarizes the key considerations a building owner must keep in mind when thinking about leasing to a medical marijuana dispensary.


Read more...

Creating a culture of compliance

Business tips
Thursday, June 19, 2014
DataBY MONICA ENAND | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Nine tips for building habits among employees to respond when needed.


Read more...

OB Video: Oregon MESA

News
Thursday, June 26, 2014

ThumbOregon Business hosts an informal roundtable discussion about the Oregon MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) program.


Read more...

Reader Input: Energy policy

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014

How serious a problem is climate change? Readers want to have their cake and eat it, too.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014

The CEO of Axiom EPM, Peri Pierone, and the co-founder of McMenamins, Mike McMenamin, share their recent reads.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS