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CH& helps rural electric co-op obtain favorable power purchase agreement to sell power from geothermal power plant

Case Background:

CH& client Surprise Valley Electrification Corp., a small, nonprofit, electric cooperative, needed assistance in enforcing its rights to sell power under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (“PURPA”), which was designed to decrease national dependence on traditional fossil fuels by encouraging small, independent, and renewable generators to locally produce energy.  The dispute arose because of unusual transmission arrangements needed to move power from Surprise Valley’s Paisley Project, a small geothermal generator, to PacifiCorp’s service territory in southern Oregon. 

How CH& Helped: 

CH&’s Land Use, Natural Resources & Environmental Law team assisted Surprise Valley and its local counsel in filing a complaint with the Oregon Public Utility Commission stating that PacifiCorp has a legal obligation under PURPA to buy power from the Paisley Project.  Additionally, CH& helped resolve contentious issues arising under the Federal Power Act and FERC rules related to the transmission of power from the Paisley Project across Surprise Valley’s distribution system to the PacifiCorp transmission system.

Results:

After proceeding through a significant administrative and negotiation process, PacifiCorp agreed to a settlement on terms highly favorable to Surprise Valley.  

  • Aided Surprise Valley in negotiating a successful agreement with PacifiCorp rather than enter into costly litigation, avoiding the need to file a potentially lengthy and costly complaint at FERC
  • Settlement enables Surprise Valley to sell power from the Paisley Project on favorable terms until that power may be needed by Surprise Valley’s own customer-owners.