Northwest Energy Law
Typically offered every other year
The course will focus on the legal and regulatory framework that governs the energy industry, with particular focus on energy issues in the Pacific Northwest. We will cover state and federal regulation of investor-owned utilities and examine the setting of rates and the development of generating resources by electricity utilities in the Northwest. We will study the laws governing the Bonneville Power Administration and the interaction of investor-owned and consumer-owned utilities with the federal Columbia River System. We will examine issues unique to the Pacific Northwest due to the impact of hydroelectric generation on electricity prices and the environment, and how hydro interacts with other renewable energy resources. We will focus on the major trends in the electricity industry at the state, regional and national level, key among them the political and industry response to climate change. We will examine recently-enacted state legislation, potential Western regional action, and federal policy concerning carbon regulation and the promotion of renewable resources. The course will examine how well the existing utility rate-making regulatory paradigm works with the new set of social objectives implicated by climate change policy. The class will be evaluated based on an unscheduled final exam.