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Taking Tennessee Electric With A Private Vehicle Charging Market: An Ev Infrastructure Policy For Conservative States, Claire Bonvillain J.D. Candidate Jun 2023

Taking Tennessee Electric With A Private Vehicle Charging Market: An Ev Infrastructure Policy For Conservative States, Claire Bonvillain J.D. Candidate

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

The transition from petroleum to electricity as a fuel source for vehicles is an essential step in the effort to stop harmful climate change. The transportation sector currently produces more carbon emissions in the United States than any other area. Recognizing this, the federal government and several states have recently devoted resources to facilitating the transition to large-scale electric vehicle (EV) use. In particular, there must be a nationwide network of EV charging infrastructure so that EV drivers can confidently drive EVs anywhere. Much of the legal research on increasing the number of EV charging facilities and consumer EV purchases …


Promoting Cost-Effective Grid Modernization, Jim Rossi Jan 2022

Promoting Cost-Effective Grid Modernization, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Recent legislative reforms enacted in several states grant incumbent utilities a right-of-first-refusal (ROFR) over new electric power transmission lines. Regional grid planners, who typically defer to state law, often avoid running competitive solicitations for regional transmission projects located in these states. As a result, state ROFR laws expose customers to excessive regional transmission costs.

Such state ROFR laws are constitutionally dubious, and ultimately harmful to customers. Customers affected by ROFR laws do not realize the cost savings and other benefits of competition, including superior cost containment and innovative grid modernization solutions. States can promote cost-effective grid modernization by encouraging competitive …


Local Power, Alexandra B. Klass, Rebecca Wilton Jan 2022

Local Power, Alexandra B. Klass, Rebecca Wilton

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article is about “local power.” We use that term in two distinct but complementary ways. First, local power describes the authority of local governments to enact regulatory policies in the interests of their citizens. Second, local power describes the authority of local governments to exercise proprietary control over the sources and delivery of electric power to their citizens. This dual meaning of local power is particularly important today, as an increasing number of local governments are seriously considering “municipalizing”--taking control of local electric power systems-—at the same time that, outside the electric power sector, many states are constraining local …


Regulation And The Geography Of Inequality, Ganesh Sitaraman, Christopher Serkin, Morgan Ricks Jan 2021

Regulation And The Geography Of Inequality, Ganesh Sitaraman, Christopher Serkin, Morgan Ricks

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

We live in an era of widening geographic inequality. Around the country, the spread between economically and culturally thriving places and those that are struggling has been increasing. "Superstar" cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Atlanta continue to attract talent and grow, while the economies of other cities and rural areas are left behind. Troublingly, escalating geographic inequality in the United States has arrived hand in hand with serious economic, social, and political problems. Areas that are left behind have not only failed to keep up with their thriving peers; in many ways, they have stagnated and seen …


Energy Federalism's Aim, Jim Rossi Jan 2021

Energy Federalism's Aim, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The Federal Power Act (FPA) has endured for eighty-five years, in part because it does not embrace a single regulatory approach for the energy industry. Nor does the FPA favor a single approach to federal- ism: it delegates broad authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to regulate the wholesale sale and transmission of energy in interstate commerce, while leaving states considerable leeway to regulate not only retail rates but also power generation and distribution. The statute expanded federal authority over wholesale electric power sales, with the primary purpose of closing regulatory gaps in interstate energy markets.

For the …


Zombie Energy Laws, Joshua C. Macey May 2020

Zombie Energy Laws, Joshua C. Macey

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article traces the development of three legal rules—cost recovery for vertically integrated utilities, the requirement that regulators assess the financial viability of energy projects before issuing a certificate of public convenience and necessity, and the filed rate doctrine—that emerged out of the view that electric power companies should be shielded from market forces. It argues that important elements of these legal rules have become “zombie energy laws.” Zombie energy laws are statutes, regulations, and judicial precedents that continue to apply after their underlying economic and legal bases dissipate. Zombie energy laws were originally designed to protect consumers by, among …


Beneficial Precaution: A Proposed Approach To Uncertain Technological Dangers, Edward L. Rubin Jan 2020

Beneficial Precaution: A Proposed Approach To Uncertain Technological Dangers, Edward L. Rubin

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

As a result of the specialization and cumulation of knowledge in the era of High Modernity, research and development in most technical fields is largely incomprehensible to anyone outside that field. What should policy makers do when technical specialists disagree, and particularly when some predict an oncoming catastrophe and others dismiss the concern? This is the situation with the so-called Singularity, the point at which machines design, build, and operate other machines. Some experts in cybernetics and artificial intelligence argue that this is imminent, while others consign the possibility to science fiction. If the skeptics are right, nothing need be …


Sunny And Share: Balancing Airspace Entitlement Rights Between Solar Energy Adopters And Their Neighbors, Joshua B. Landis Apr 2019

Sunny And Share: Balancing Airspace Entitlement Rights Between Solar Energy Adopters And Their Neighbors, Joshua B. Landis

Vanderbilt Law Review

In an effort to ameliorate the effects of climate change, state and local governments have made increasingly large commitments to support solar energy adoption. For solar investments to be successful, however, solar adopters require unobstructed access to sunlight, which is directly at odds with the interests of neighbors and developers who value vertical development, especially in urban centers. To mitigate these looming conflicts, governments have enacted a variety of laws that assign airspace entitlements to either solar adopters or their neighbors. Unfortunately, these solutions are all poorly tailored for dense cities, which is where future airspace conflict is likely to …


Revisiting The Public Utility, Jim Rossi, Morgan Ricks Jan 2018

Revisiting The Public Utility, Jim Rossi, Morgan Ricks

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This foreword introduces "Revisiting the Public Utility," a series of essays published in a special issue of Yale Journal on Regulation. We cluster the contributions to this issue around public utility regulation’s core rationales and its scope, its implications for innovation and industry stability, and its evolving approach to price regulation. The scholarship represented in this issue challenges the notion that public utility ideas are obsolete or irrelevant to modern issues in economic regulation. It questions whether public utility regulation has fallen short of its goals, and shows that there are some good reasons to question many embedded regulatory practices. …


Reconstituting The Federalism Battle In Energy Transportation, Jim Rossi, Alexandra B. Klass Jan 2017

Reconstituting The Federalism Battle In Energy Transportation, Jim Rossi, Alexandra B. Klass

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This article explores the growing federalism tensions in efforts to expand the nation’s energy transportation infrastructure — the electric transmission lines, natural gas pipelines, natural gas import and export terminals and related infrastructure that power the U.S. electricity and transportation systems. It uses two illustrations — one involving an interstate electric transmission line (subject to state jurisdiction) and one involving and an interstate natural gas pipeline (subject to federal jurisdiction) — to highlight how the clear jurisdictional lines between federal and state authority over these projects created decades ago is no longer adequate for today’s energy needs. We believe that …


Carbon Taxation By Regulation, Jim Rossi Jan 2017

Carbon Taxation By Regulation, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article argues that, even though a carbon tax remains politically elusive, a carbon taxation by regulation has begun to flourish as a way of financing carbon reduction. For more than a century, energy rate setting has been used to promote public good and redistributive goals, akin to general financial taxation. Various non-tax subsidies in customer energy rates have enormous untapped potential for promoting low-carbon sources of energy, while also balancing broader economic and social welfare goals. While carbon taxation by regulation offers many benefits, regulators' narrow fixation on consumer protection and economic goals has hobbled realization of its potential. …


Environmental Law At The Borders, J.B. Ruhl Jan 2017

Environmental Law At The Borders, J.B. Ruhl

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Pipelines to the north. Walls to the south. Between President Trump's issuance of a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline crossing from Canada and his promise to build "The Wall," the politics of our national borders rarely have been in as much turmoil as they are today. And as with any infrastructure project, environmental policy has been deeply in play all the way. But the environmental law of the borders might surprise you. Indeed, arguably there isn't any for these two projects.


Stranded Costs And Grid Decarbonization, Jim Rossi, Emily Hammond Jan 2017

Stranded Costs And Grid Decarbonization, Jim Rossi, Emily Hammond

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Over the past half century, energy law has endured many stranded cost experiments, each helping firms and customers adjust to a new normal. However, these past experiments have contributed to a myopic regulatory approach to past stranded cost recovery by: (1) endorsing a preference for addressing all stranded costs only after energy resource investment decisions have been made; and (2) fixating on the firm’s financial costs and protection of investors, rather than on the broader impacts of each on the energy system.

The current transition to decarbonization is already giving rise to stranded cost claims related to existing energy assets …


How Smart Is Too Smart?: How Privacy Concerns Threaten Modern Energy Infrastructure, Megan Mclean Jan 2016

How Smart Is Too Smart?: How Privacy Concerns Threaten Modern Energy Infrastructure, Megan Mclean

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

Smart meters are integral to the health of our electric grid and are critical to a reliable, affordable, and efficient energy economy. Yet, collection of smart meter data is raising privacy concerns that are inspiring pockets of resistance to smart meter installation around the country. The fact that these data, like many other kinds of personal information, can and often do flow to the government should not prevent their collection and use. It is critical for environmental and energy regulators to have access to this data to maximize the potential of our energy system. On the state level, several legislatures …


Ferc V. Epsa, Jim Rossi, Jon Wellinghoff Jan 2016

Ferc V. Epsa, Jim Rossi, Jon Wellinghoff

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Essay explores the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in FERC .v. EPSA for state regulation of customer energy resource initiatives, such as net metering policies for rooftop solar and energy storage programs. Unlike many past judicial decision that fixate on a jurisdictional "bright line," EPSA does not define a turf for state policymaking as beyond FERC's reach but instead recognizes how state policies operate adjacent to FERC's regulation of practices affecting wholesale rates. As the first Supreme Court case to explicitly recognize cooperative federalism programs in the regulation of modern energy markets under the FPA, ESPA is …


In Defense Of Ecosystem Services, J.B. Ruhl Jan 2016

In Defense Of Ecosystem Services, J.B. Ruhl

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The path of ecosystem services as a theme in environmental law and policy spans my practice (1982-1994) and academic (1994-present) careers. The importance of nature to human well-being seems so obvious one would think it has been front and center in environmental law and policy since the beginning, but, until recently, that has not been the case. Lately, however, the ecosystem services framework has catapulted this theme into prominence, if not dominance, in environmental discourse.


The Regulatory Contract In The Marketplace, Emily Hammond, David B. Spence Jan 2016

The Regulatory Contract In The Marketplace, Emily Hammond, David B. Spence

Vanderbilt Law Review

For decades, energy policy has struggled to reconcile two distinct visions for the future: the first seeks ever-more-competitive, efficient, and dynamic electricity markets, while the second seeks an ever-greener mix of electricity generation sources. Caught within this push-and-pull dynamic is the regulatory contract--a nineteenth-century concept that stands more for ordered regulation than competitive markets. This Article examines how piecemeal pursuit of two energy visions has produced mismatches between rapidly evolving markets and governance institutions that cannot change as quickly. To better evaluate these mismatches, the Article develops a framework that accounts not just for market operation and environmental externalities, but …


Nuclear Power, Risk, And Retroactivity, Emily Hammond Jan 2015

Nuclear Power, Risk, And Retroactivity, Emily Hammond

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster presented a familiar scenario from a risk perception standpoint. It combined a classic" dread risk" (radioactivity), a punctuating event (the disaster itself), and resultant stigmatization (involving world wide repercussions for nuclear power). Some nuclear nations curtailed nuclear power generation, and decades-old opposition to nuclear power found a renaissance. In these circumstances, risk theory predicts a regulatory knee-jerk response, potentially resulting in inefficient overregulation. But it also suggests procedural palliatives that conveniently overlap with administrative law values, making room for the engagement of the full spectrum of stakeholders. This Article sketches the U.S. regulatory response to …


The Democratization Of Energy, Joseph P. Tomain Jan 2015

The Democratization Of Energy, Joseph P. Tomain

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The electricity industry is changing in dramatic ways. Most significantly, as demonstrated by the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan, the country is witnessing the merger of energy and environmental regulation. Historically, energy regulation was driven by the need to produce more power for economic growth. By contrast, environmental regulation attended to the pollution of the environment. Production of energy depends upon the use of natural resources, and throughout the fuel cycle from extraction and transportation to the burning and disposal of those resources, the environment is directly affected. Most dramatically, greenhouse gas emissions present climate change challenges. In order to …


Fukushima's Shadow, Lincoln L. Davies, Alexis Jones Jan 2015

Fukushima's Shadow, Lincoln L. Davies, Alexis Jones

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The March 11, 2011 tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi power station in Japan immediately etched its place in history as arguably the most noteworthy of the three nuclear energy disasters to date. This Article surveys the response to Fukushima both in Japan and worldwide. It observes that rather than stopping what many thought was a burgeoning "nuclear renaissance," the global policy reaction post-Fukushima was more varied. Using the examples of Germany, the United States, and China, the Article examines the three general approaches to nuclear energy that nations have followed since Fukushima: abandonment, status quo, and expansion. The Article then …


Revitalizing Dormant Commerce Clause Review For Interstate Coordination, Jim Rossi, Alexandra B. Klass Jan 2015

Revitalizing Dormant Commerce Clause Review For Interstate Coordination, Jim Rossi, Alexandra B. Klass

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Interstate coordination presents one of the most difficult challenges for American federalism as well as for energy markets and policy. Existing laws vest the approval of large-scale energy infrastructure projects such as interstate oil pipelines and high-voltage, interstate electric transmission lines with state and local levels of government. At the same time, state siting and eminent domain regimes routinely enable and even encourage state regulators to hold out from approving interstate infrastructure projects, hobbling any hope for interstate coordination. This Article analyzes how judicial review under dormant Commerce Clause principles and doctrine can promote better interstate coordination by discouraging regulatory …


Electric Power Resource "Shuffling" And Subnational Carbon Regulation: Looking Upstream For A Solution, Jim Rossi, Andrew J.D. Smith Jan 2014

Electric Power Resource "Shuffling" And Subnational Carbon Regulation: Looking Upstream For A Solution, Jim Rossi, Andrew J.D. Smith

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

"Resource shuffling" occurs when different subnational approaches to carbon regulation create variations in the costs of production across jurisdictions. California is the most aggressive jurisdiction in the United States to address climate change and has adopted a cap & trade program for its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This Article addresses the resource shuffling issue presented by California's cap-and-trade program and evaluates the merits of various legal and regulatory solutions to the problem.


Federal Preemption And Clean Energy Floors, Jim Rossi, Thomas Hutton Jan 2013

Federal Preemption And Clean Energy Floors, Jim Rossi, Thomas Hutton

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Federal policies regarding renewable and clean energy often lack clear definition, are incomplete, and are scattered across multiple statutes and agencies. Yet at the same time, recent decisions of both federal agencies and courts have attributed a preemptive effect to federal statutes that threatens to hobble innovation in renewable and clean energy policy by subnational regulators. One consequence of this approach is that most significant policies promoting clean and renewable energy are channeled toward subsidies from the federal fisc, rather than diverse policies undertaken independently by state governments or regional customers and suppliers. This Article argues that, contrary to many …


Symposium - Supply And Demand: Barriers To A New Energy Future, Michael P. Vandenbergh, J. B. Ruhl, Jim Rossi Nov 2012

Symposium - Supply And Demand: Barriers To A New Energy Future, Michael P. Vandenbergh, J. B. Ruhl, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law Review

Like many fields, energy law has had its ups and downs. A period of remarkable activity in the 1970s and early 1980s focused on the efficiencies arising from deregulation of energy markets, but the field attracted much less attention during the 1990s. In the last decade, a new burst of activity has occurred, driven largely by the implications of energy production and use for climate change. In effect, this new scholarship is asking what efficiency means in a carbon- constrained world. Accounting for carbon has induced scholars to challenge the implicit assumption of the early scholarship that the price of …


Environmental Law And Fossil Fuels: Barriers To Renewable Energy, Uma Outka Nov 2012

Environmental Law And Fossil Fuels: Barriers To Renewable Energy, Uma Outka

Vanderbilt Law Review

Renewable energy is gaining momentum around the globe, but the United States has only just begun to change its energy trajectory away from fossil fuels. Today, only about 10% of electricity in the United States is generated from renewable energy, and most of that comes from hydroelectric power plants that have been operating for many years. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects 30% of new capacity over the next twenty years will utilize renewable resources, without significant changes in U.S. energy policy, but at that pace renewable energy will still account for only 16% of generated electricity. These prospects stand …


Interstate Transmission Challenges For Renewable Energy: A Federalism Mismatch, Alexandra B. Klass, Elizabeth J. Wilson Nov 2012

Interstate Transmission Challenges For Renewable Energy: A Federalism Mismatch, Alexandra B. Klass, Elizabeth J. Wilson

Vanderbilt Law Review

It is impossible to talk about developing renewable energy resources in the United States without also talking about developing electric transmission infrastructure. More specifically, the transmission-planning strategies that may have worked in the past are no longer effective to integrate new sources of renewable energy into the transmission grid. Transmission lines were historically built to link large stationary power plants to nearby electricity demand centers like cities. For renewable energy, however, state mandates and policies are driving investment in wind-and to a lesser extent solar-energy, creating a need for new transmission lines to link these dispersed resources with electric load …


Building-Related Renewable Energy And The Case Of 360 State Street, Sara C. Bronin Nov 2012

Building-Related Renewable Energy And The Case Of 360 State Street, Sara C. Bronin

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article focuses on small-scale and midsized facilities and does not consider large-scale facilities, which tend to be located far from population centers. These facilities certainly raise pressing legal concerns, not least of which is how the energy sprawl they create should be managed. Indeed, siting (along with initial start-up financing) is a primary barrier to large-scale renewable energy. This Article sets large-scale facilities aside and focuses primarily on projects whose scale allows them to be incorporated into inhabited structures.


Good For You, Bad For Us: The Financial Disincentive For Net Demand Reduction, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Jim Rossi Nov 2012

Good For You, Bad For Us: The Financial Disincentive For Net Demand Reduction, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article examines a principal barrier to reducing U.S. carbon emissions — electricity distributors’ financial incentives to sell more of their product — and introduces the concept of net demand reduction (“NDR”) as a primary goal for the modern energy regulatory system. Net electricity demand must decrease substantially from projected levels for the United States to achieve widely-endorsed carbon targets by 2050. Although social and behavioral research has identified cost-effective ways to reduce electricity demand, state-of-the-art programs to curtail demand have not been implemented on a widespread basis. We argue that electric distribution utilities are important gatekeepers that can determine …


Sustainable Consumption, Energy Policy, And Individual Well-Being, Daniel A. Farber Nov 2012

Sustainable Consumption, Energy Policy, And Individual Well-Being, Daniel A. Farber

Vanderbilt Law Review

The United States is an exceptional place in many ways, not least in its consumption. The United States consumes a disproportionate share of the world's energy and resources, with a correspondingly large environmental footprint. At present, although we have been successful in creating economic wealth, well-being has lagged behind. Could the United States shift to a more sustainable path? Would that require an unacceptable sacrifice of social welfare? This Article argues that a shift really is possible, and that many of the steps to sustainability would actually make people better off even apart from their environmental benefits.

At present, we …


Hydro Law And The Future Of Hydroelectric Power Generation In The United States, Dan Tarlock Nov 2012

Hydro Law And The Future Of Hydroelectric Power Generation In The United States, Dan Tarlock

Vanderbilt Law Review

Hydroelectric energy ("hydro") is the oldest major source of noncarbon, renewable energy in the United States. For three reasons, increased hydro generation should be a major element of any national climate change and energy-security policy designed to promote the greater use of renewables to help the country transition to the production of sustainable, i.e., noncarbon-based, energy. First, hydro is relatively clean because it does not cause air pollution or substantial greenhouse gas emissions.' Second, hydro is relatively reliable. Third, hydro can help wean the United States from its dependence on imported and often politically unstable hydrocarbon sources of energy, because …