Attorney Sara Bergan was quoted in an article in Solar Industry magazine titled “Judge Strikes Down Minnesota Clean Energy Law As Unconstitutional.” The article discusses the reversal by a federal judge of Minnesota’s 2007 Next Generation Energy Act (NGEA), which the state enacted to encourage renewable power generation, increase energy conservation and decrease its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.
U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson struck down the law because of a provision that requires that an out-of-state operator of a fossil-fuel power plant demonstrate to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that it offsets the plant’s CO2 emissions by an approved method. The judge ruled that the provision violated the extraterritoriality doctrine of the U.S. Constitution by attempting to regulate transactions entirely outside of Minnesota and by requiring merchants outside the state to seek approval in Minnesota before undertaking transactions.
Bergan says the case is emblematic of a utility system having to adjust to greater complexity, i.e. it is no longer the case that a vertically integrated power provider can be fairly certain of where the electricity it generated will end up. "States with existing laws seeking limits on electricity from certain generating sources will want to watch this case closely," she said.
Read “Judge Strikes Down Minnesota Clean Energy Law As Unconstitutional,” published on April 22, 2014. (Subscription required.)