2019 Continuing Legal Education Program

7:30 – 8:00 A.M. – Networking & Conversation Over Breakfast

8:00 A.M. – Welcome & Course Introduction

Bonnie Loomis, Executive Director, SC Clean Energy Business Alliance

8:10 – 8:15 A.M. – A Few Words from Our CLE Sponsor

Weston Adams, Partner, Co-Chair Energy Industry Group, Nelson Mullins
Riley & Scarborough

8:15 – 9:15 A.M. – Interconnection Standards & Legal Issues

What's Needed?
Interconnection standards define how a distributed energy system is connected to the utility.  The goal of the interconnection process is to have consistent parameters and procedures in order to avoid an unnecessarily complex process. There can be significant barriers to project development and delays when the ability to interconnect is not done in a cost-effective and timely manner. The Energy Freedom Act establishes an updated interconnection process for utility scale solar to the grid – including enforcement and conflict resolution. This panel will discuss what improvements may be needed to make the process smoother.

Steven Shparber, Of Counsel, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
Ben Snowden, Counsel, Kilpatrick Townsend
Rebecca Dulin, Associate General Counsel, Duke Energy
Chad Burgess, Director & Deputy General Counsel, Dominion Energy 

9:15 – 10:15 A.M. – Net Metering 2.0

What’s Next?
The Energy Freedom Act lifted South Carolina’s previous two percent cap on net metering and maintained a one-to-one net metering policy until June 1, 2021. In addition, the law directs the South Carolina Utilities Commission to come up with a long-term net metering structure. What are the legal requirements and possible outcomes of this anticipated new net metering design? What rate design changes are possible for customers and what other state models might be helpful to consider?

Thad Culley, Regional Director, Vote Solar
Heather Shirley Smith, Deputy General Counsel, Duke Energy
Lauren Bowen, Senior Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center
Dawn Hipp, Chief Operating Officer, South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff

10:15 – 10:45 A.M. – Networking Break

10:45 – 11:45 A.M. – Consumer Protection Provisions and Business Innovation: 

Can They Coexist?
The Energy Freedom Act directs the Public Service Commission to protect South Carolina customers from rising energy costs and customers’ ability to control costs by managing their own usage.  The law also directs the Office of Regulatory Staff and the Department of Consumer Affairs to develop customer protection regulations that include disclosures from solar companies, a consumer complaint process, and enforcement provisions. How can South Carolina advance both consumer protections without stifling business innovation? This panel session will highlight examples of the need for consumer protection and explore how to achieve both protection and innovation simultaneously.

Nanette Edwards, Executive Director, South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff
Carri Grube Lybarker, Attorney, South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs
Tyson Grinstead, Director of Public Policy, Sunrun
Sue Berkowitz, Director, South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center

11:45 – 1:00 P.M. – Lunch & Learn

Bonnie Loomis, SCCEBA Executive Director, will share insights on addiction that she learned through her young son’s recent addiction recovery journey: the warning signs of addiction (as opposed to “abuse”) she missed, the realities of addiction as life-long neurobiological disease that she learned, the resources she found most (and least) helpful). She will also share the tools she turned to for mental and emotional resilience during this challenging time personally and professionally.

1:00 – 2:00 P.M. – South Carolina Regional Transmission Organization:

Will It Happen?
South Carolina leaders have begun discussion about whether residents and businesses might benefit from a competitive market structure such as a regional transmission organization (RTO).  Should South Carolina change its market structure?  This panel will examine the issues that should go into deciding if it is right for South Carolina. 

Weston Adams, Partner, Co-Chair Energy Industry Group, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
Steven Shparber, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
Frank Ellerbe, Member, Robinson Gray

2:00 – 2:30 P.M. – Networking Break

2:30 – 3:30 P.M. – The Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA) Implementation in South Carolina:

What is at Stake?
The federal PURPA law requires utilities to pay qualifying facilities (QFs) for renewable energy they supply the grid. Two points of tension exist around the length of contract and the amount of that compensation or the avoided cost. Under the Energy Freedom Act, PURPA contracts keep a 10 year minimum but requires that independent power producers (IPPs) go to the Public Service Commission for any contract greater than 10 years. PURPA issues are also raised as solar is paired with energy storage or with stand-alone storage. This panel will discuss both the contract length and the avoided cost rate, as well as the PURPA issues surrounding paired technologies and storage. 

J. Ashley Cooper, Partner, Parker Poe
Paul Esformes, Corporate Counsel, Ecoplexus
Matt Gissendanner, Assistant General Counsel, Dominion Energy
Hamilton Davis, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Southern Current

3:30 P.M. – Wrap Up and Conclusion

Bonnie Loomis, Executive Director, SC Clean Energy Business Alliance

3:30 – 4:30 P.M. – Networking & Conversation