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Winding Creek Solar LLC v. Peevey

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20163
Nos. 13-cv-04934-JD, (N.D. Cal. , 12/06/2017) (Donato, J.)

A district court held that the California Public Utilities Commission's tariff program for small renewables, known as the Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (Re-MAT), violates the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). A solar company challenged the Re-MAT program, arguing that the tariff was incorrectly calculated based on the cost of developing the projects, rather than avoidance costs. It also challenged the program's 750-MW cap, because PURPA requires utilities to buy any energy that is made available from qualifying facilities. The Commission argued that FERC previously found that Re-MAT was consistent with federal law, since a "standard contract" is offered at an avoidance cost rate, and filed for summary judgment. The solar company filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. The court ruled for the solar company, holding that Re-MAT violated federal law, that the FERC decisions were not germane, and that a standard contract option does not excuse the violations of PURPA. Summary judgment was granted in favor of the solar company.