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11 Ariz. J. Env't L. & Pol'y 1 (2020-2021)

handle is hein.journals/arijel11 and id is 1 raw text is: ARIZONA JOURNAL
OF
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW & POLICY

VOLUME 11             FALL 2020               ISSUE 1

A COMPARISON OF PURPA RENEWABLE
ENERGY POLICY CHANGES THROUGHOUT
THE UNITED STATES FROM 2014-2019:
THERE HAS GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY FORWARD
Benjamin L. Champion*
Abstract
For 40 years, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) has served to encourage the
diversification of energy sources within the electricity sector, specifically renewable energy
technologies, through state-by-state rules enacted consistent with broadly flexible federal rules.
More recently, as renewable energy costs have plummeted and the pace of new installations has
skyrocketed, many have asked whether PURPA 's requirements have become too much of a burden
on consumers in the long run. PURPA requires utility companies to purchase energy, without
negotiating prices, from utility-scale independent renewable energy producers below a certain
size. The past five years have seen a wave of states adjusting their PURPA rules in response to
these concerns. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) also promulgated a new set
* Dr. Ben Champion is a U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Innovator Fellow, working at the Arizona
Corporation Commission on renewable energy regulatory policy. He has a J.D. from the James E. Rogers College of
Law at the University of Arizona and a D.Phil. in Geography from the University of Oxford. This note topic was
inspired by issues the Arizona Corporation Commission was facing during the summer of 2019, when the author
served as a legal extern for the Commission. The author would like to thank the editorial board and editors of AJELP
for selecting his note to publish, and for their extensive and professional support in editing the note into this final
published form. Thanks also go to Profs. Kirsten Engel and Priya Sundareshan, who were advisors to the note, as
well as Matt McDonnell who provided valuable comments throughout the drafting process. Finally, thanks to the
staff of the Legal Division of the Arizona Corporation Commission which provided the author invaluable exposure
and education while a legal extern about a range of regulatory issues that were the early foundations of this article, a
testament to the value of public service internships in furthering timely scholarship on important policy issues.

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