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Miguel integrates energy law, public policy, and regulatory compliance to solve complex legal and business challenges for sophisticated energy and natural resources clients. Miguel’s experience has placed him at the nexus of business and energy, land-use, and natural resources law. He represents a variety of clients involved in the development of renewable energy projects, providing regulatory counsel, and big picture thinking that helps get projects across the finish line. Parallel to his renewable energy practice, Miguel has counseled public officials and private companies in connection with cryptocurrency and energy use, including how mining operations can utilize flared natural gas produced by shale fracking to power bitcoin mining facilities.

On November 3, 2022, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued three notices (“November 3 Notices”) requesting public input on the climate and clean energy incentives contained in the Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”). The November 3 Notices request comments by December 2, 2022, on the amendments, extensions, and enhancements of the IRA’s energy tax benefits. The November 3 Notices follow an initial set of six notices that were issued by the IRS on October 5, 2022 to seek public input on other aspects of the energy tax incentives contained in the IRA.

Continue Reading IRS Seeks Public IRA Comments by December 2

In 2020, New Mexico voters approved a Constitutional Amendment changing the PRC from five elected commissioners to three appointed commissioners. Historically, PRC commissioners were elected to serve four-year staggered terms; however, beginning January 1, 2023, PRC commissioners will be appointed to serve staggered six-year terms.
Continue Reading From Elected to Appointed: New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to Undergo Major Changes Effective January 2023

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.

Continue Reading The Pathway to U.S. Hydrogen Development is Established

The state of Illinois continued its push to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 when, on July 14, 2022, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved the Illinois Power Agency’s (IPA) 2022 Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan (LTRRPP) and finalized rules and programs established under the Climate and Equitable Job Act (CEJA), which passed in September 2021. The LTRRPP is a guidebook for CEJA’s implementation, and its approval authorizes over $1.1 billion to procure new renewable generation in Illinois over the next two years by helping to fund renewable energy projects across Illinois.

Continue Reading Illinois Commerce Commission Approves Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan

On June 6, 2022, United States Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) released the first major bipartisan bill intended to regulate digital assets. Interestingly, the bill calls for additional information around the energy use of digital assets. If passed, the bill would require the preparation and submission by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), in consultation with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), of an annual report to be submitted to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives on the following five aspects of digital asset energy use:
Continue Reading Proposed Legislation Aims to Regulate Digital Assets’ Energy Use

On June 8, 2022, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (“Commission”) filed a memo from its Infrastructure Division requesting that electric utilities, power generation companies, municipally owned utilities, and electric cooperatives (“Entities”) operating outside of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”) provide to Commission Staff unredacted copies of their Emergency Operations Plans (“EOP”). Entities that operate both outside of the ERCOT power region and in the ERCOT power region, and entities that operate solely in the ERCOT power region and have already provided an unredacted EOP to ERCOT (as required by the Emergency Operations Plan rule (16 TAC §25.53), are not required to provide the Staff an unredacted EOP.
Continue Reading Public Utility Commission Requests Unredacted Emergency Operations Plans From All Applicable Entities by June 24, 2022

The Texas Supreme Court (“TXSC”) recently confirmed what many already know: the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) has only administrative authority related to water rights in Texas. This means that water rights ownership disputes must utilize Texas courts to adjudicate water rights ownership.
Continue Reading Texas Supreme Court Water Law Verdict Highlights Lack of TCEQ Authority Over Water Rights

The second meeting of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’s (ERCOT) Large Flexible Load Task Force (LFLTF) facilitated an opportunity for ERCOT, ERCOT market participants (MPs), and bitcoin miners to get to know one another through educational presentations and dialogue. Over 250 participated in-person and virtually.

ERCOT began the event by providing a detailed overview of its interim interconnection process that it hopes to turn into a long-term and permanent process in the future. This interim process enables large loads like bitcoin mining operations to quickly (within 150 days) interconnect with the ERCOT grid while also maintaining grid reliability and meeting existing interconnection requirements. ERCOT anticipates that as much as 17GW of large flexible loads may seek to interconnect with the ERCOT grid by 2026. The bulk of these interconnection requests are expected to be made in north and west Texas.

Continue Reading ERCOT, Market Participants, and Bitcoin Miners Become Acquainted at Second Task Force Meeting

Effective March 25, 2022, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”) began requiring documentation from large electrical loads like cryptocurrency miners before allowing them to connect to the Texas power grid. Through a Market Notice, ERCOT established an interim process requiring transmission service providers (“TSPs”) to submit interconnection studies that meet the requirements of the National Electric Reliability Council’s Reliability Standard FAC-00202 for interconnection of certain large loads. Specifically, TSPs will be required to submit the studies for interconnection of the following types of loads:

  • New loads not co-located with a Resource with total demand within the next two years of 75 MW or greater;
  • Existing loads not co-located with a Resource increasing total demand by 75 MW or greater within the next two years;
  • New loads co-located with a Resource with total demand within the next two years of 20 MW or greater; or
  • Existing loads co-located with a Resource increasing total demand by 20 MW or greater within the next two years.


Continue Reading ERCOT Now Requires Cryptocurrency Miners to Provide Information on Their Impact to the Texas Power Grid

In case you missed it while preparing for your turkey dinner, on November 22, 2021, the United States Supreme Court issued a significant decision bearing on states’ rights to water in Mississippi v. Tennessee, et al.[1]  In that decision, the Court decided 9-0 that the Equitable Apportionment Doctrine, which had prior to this decision been held to apply only to surface waters, now also applies to interstate aquifers i.e., underground waters.
Continue Reading Water Law Update: The Equitable Apportionment Doctrine Is Not Just for Rivers and Streams Any More