Description: Challenge to Montana Public Service Commission order setting terms and conditions of a power purchase agreement for a proposed 80 megawatt solar project.
MTSUN, LLC v Montana Department of Public Service Regulation
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 09/22/2020 Opinion Download Montana Supreme Court affirmed district court decision concluding that Public Service Commission's determinations were arbitrary and unlawful. Montana Supreme Court Affirmed that Public Service Commission Improperly Rewrote Terms of Solar Project PPA, Including by Eliminating Carbon Adder. The Montana Supreme Court affirmed a district court order that reversed a Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) order setting terms and conditions of a power purchase agreement (PPA) for a proposed 80 megawatt solar project. The project developer filed a petition with the PSC to establish terms and conditions after negotiations with a utility stalled. The PSC altered all terms and conditions in the PPA, including terms on which the parties agreed such as use of a “carbon adder” in the calculation of avoided energy costs. The PSC concluded that carbon costs would no longer be included in the avoided-costs calculation because the current federal administration opposed carbon emissions regulation. The district court held, among other things, that elimination of the carbon adder was arbitrary and capricious and directed the PSC to assign a price for carbon. The Montana Supreme Court agreed with the district court that the solar project developer was entitled to an agreed-upon rate for energy, a carbon adder, and a 25-year contract term. The Supreme Court said the PSC lacked authority to rewrite these terms.