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Michael is focused on helping clients make the most of structural changes in the energy industry. Michael counsels clients on the rights and obligations of participants in organized electricity markets. With a background working as in house counsel for a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) and a power trading firm, Michael is equipped to advise industry clients on numerous aspects of regulatory, financial, and transactional issues affecting the development and optimization of generation and transmission assets.

Earlier this summer, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) introduced a groundbreaking order—Order No. 2023—aimed at reforming the generator interconnection process in response to the evolving landscape of energy resources, market dynamics, and emerging technologies across the nation.

Industry reaction to the substance of the new rules has been mixed, but it is

In a forty-page opinion issued by Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, the Texas Supreme Court held that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”) has sovereign immunity regarding allegations of overpricing during Winter Storm Uri and related fraud claims, even though ERCOT is a private corporation. The Court was split 5-4 in its decision with Justices Boyd and Devine writing in dissent, joined by Justices Lehrmann and Busby.

In a rulemaking issued April 6, 2023, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (“Commission”) adopted amendments to market participant registration and certification requirements.[1] The Commission’s rule amendments significantly change qualification and reporting requirements for Retail Electric Providers (“REP”), Power Generation Companies (“PGC”), Self-Generators, and Power Marketers. This article outlines the most significant of these

On February 8, 2023, the State of Minnesota enacted House File 7 (“H.F. 7”) to modify electric utility standards and revises the state’s goals for generating carbon-free electricity by 2040. As discussed below, H.F. 7 significantly modifies the legal frameworks that direct and incentivize future Minnesota electric sector developments and has implications for regional energy policy.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas (Commission) plays a vital role in regulating the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) wholesale market, and retail energy markets throughout all of Texas. This article identifies key projects and initiatives at the Commission that are ongoing in 2022 and have a major impact on the electric power grid and energy markets in Texas. The Commission continues to move rapidly as it implements the 2021 post-Uri legislative mandates, and we expect it to continue changing regulations affecting a wide swath of the market and the ERCOT system to bolster reliability.  Everyone engaged in the ERCOT market should continue to pay close attention to these reforms.  Husch Blackwell is following these key matters at the Commission and represents or advises clients on many of them. We are happy to answer any questions related to any item outlined below.  

On September 22, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $6-7 billion Funding Opportunity to begin the development of a nationwide program for the planning, construction, and operation of commercial-scale Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs, known colloquially as “H2Hubs.” H2Hubs are defined as “a network of clean hydrogen producers, potential clean hydrogen consumers, and connective infrastructure located in close proximity.” The DOE’s effort results from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) passed in 2021. The BIL appropriates $8 billion over a five-year period (2022-2026) and amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to establish a program to develop four to ten regional H2Hubs.

In the wake of increasing inflation and as a means of codifying several of the Biden administration’s legislative priorities, the Senate passed the $750 billion Inflation Reduction Act on August 7, 2022 (the “Act”), by a 51-50 party-line vote. The Act, which is comprised of sweeping healthcare, energy, and tax measures, was approved by the House of Representatives on August 12, 2022, and signed into law by President Biden on August 16, 2022, creating a significant number of renewable energy sector benefits.

Pursuant to the Renewable Fuel Standard (“RFS”), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“U.S. EPA”) issues annual renewable volume obligations (“RVOs”), which set the minimum aggregate volume of renewable fuel that refiners must blend with transportation fuel for the following calendar year.

Refineries producing transportation fuel meet their RVOs by blending the required volume of renewable fuel into gasoline or diesel fuel or by acquiring credits (called renewable identification numbers, or “RINs”). The RFS permits “small” refineries – those producing fewer than 75,000 barrels of fuel per day – to claim an exemption by showing that meeting their RVOs would cause them “disproportionate economic hardship.”