State Cases

This section summarizes Constitutional challenges to renewable energy laws or administrative decisions in eleven states. While there are ongoing proceedings in seven states, no proceeding has yet resulted in a court or administrative agency striking down a renewable energy law as unconstitutional. This site also includes summaries of two appeals in Federal courts about Maryland’s and New Jersey’s incentive schemes for new gas-fired generation.

Summary of Proceedings:

Forum: Challenge to: Authority: Status:
California Public Utilities Commission Renewable Portfolio Standard (interconnection, deliverability requirements) Commerce Clause CPUC denied challenge in 2013, no appeal to state court; petition to hear appeal pending before the U.S. Supreme Court
9th Cir. Court of Appeals Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Commerce Clause Remanded to District Court in 2013
Federal District Court, Colorado Renewable Energy Standard (per se discriminatory, incentives for certain projects) Commerce Clause Motions for Summary Judgment pending, trial possible in 2014
Federal District Court, Connecticut Contracts for renewable energy that were selected through an RFP by State regulators Supremacy Clause Complaint filed December 2013
Federal District Court, Delaware Renewable Portfolio Standard (benefits for generator using fuel cells produced in DE) Commerce Clause, Equal Protection Clause Motions to Dismiss pending
Federal District Court, Massachusetts Statutory requirement for long-term contracts for renewable energy; solar energy mandate Commerce Clause Settlement reached in 2010; statute’s in-state preferences removed
Federal District Court, Massachusetts Contract between offshore wind developer and utility Commerce Clause, Supremacy Clause Complaint filed in January 2014
7th Cir. Court of Appeals Michigan Renewable Energy Standard Commerce Clause In dicta in a 2013 decision, the Court said Michigan’s RES was unconstitutional
Federal District Court, Minnesota Law prohibiting imports from or contracts with new coal-fired generators Commerce Clause, Supremacy Clause Motions for Summary Judgment pending, trial possible in 2014
Missouri state courts Renewable Electricity Standard (in-state requirement) Commerce Clause Challenge moot because in-state requirement withdrawn
New York Public Service Commission Renewable Portfolio Standard (in-state requirement) Commerce Clause In-state requirement upheld by PSC, appeal possible
Supreme Court of Ohio Wind farm approval (based in part on in-state RPS requirement) Commerce Clause Opening brief filed February 2014
Rhode Island Public Utility Commission, FERC Contract between offshore wind developer and utility Commerce Clause, Separation of Powers PUC, FERC declined to address issues; PUC’s decision affirmed by RI Supreme Court
Federal District Courts, Maryland, New Jersey States’ incentives to encourage new gas-fired generation Commerce Clause, Supremacy Clause Federal Court held incentives unconstitutional under Supremacy Clause; currently on appeal

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