Solar energy has long been controlled by regulatory regimes, so this panel will explore renewable portfolio standards, carbon measures, integrated resource plan, and the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which has been a major policy driver for renewables development since it was passed 40 years ago. It will also discuss the potential FERC preemptions of state actions as conflicting with PURPA and the impacts of regulatory regimes on residential solar throughout the southeast and other U.S. states.
- Victor Flatt, Dwight Olds Chair in Law and Faculty Director, Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources (EENR) Center
Professor Flatt is the Dwight Olds Chair in Law and the Faculty Director of the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources (EENR) Center at the University of Houston Law Center. Prior to this, he held the inaugural Taft Distinguished Professorship in Environmental Law at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where he was Director of the Climate, Energy, Environment, and Economics Center. In his previous time at UHLC, he was the inaugural O’Quinn Chair in Environmental Law. He has also taught at The University of Washington, Georgia State University, the University of Georgia, and Seattle University.Professor Flatt’s expertise is in the administration of environmental law and the intersection of environmental, energy, and climate policy. Seven of his articles have been selected or were finalists for best environmental law review articles of the year, and he has spoken extensively at law school, public interest, and business meetings around the country and world. He is a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform
- Thad Culley, Regional Director, Vote Solar
Before joining Vote Solar as a Regional Director in December 2017, Thad Culley was the sole North Carolina-based partner with the law firm Keyes & Fox LLP. Keyes & Fox serves clients on a variety of energy regulatory issues around the country, including customer-scale and utility-scale distributed generation. In his seven years of practicing law with the firm, Thad has represented clients on a variety of regulatory matters–including net metering and interconnection dockets, general rate cases, and avoid cost proceedings–across more than a dozen states.In his new role at Vote Solar, Thad is working to support and develop policies in the upper southeast that advance Vote Solar’s mission of bringing solar into the mainstream. Thad is based in Chapel Hill, NC and is currently licensed to practice law in North Carolina and California.
- Steve Levitas, Senior Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Strategy, Cypress Creek Renewables, LLC
Steve Levitas works for Cypress Creek Renewables, LLC, the second-largest utility-scale solar developer in the U.S. In his capacity, as Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Strategy, he manages the company’s regulatory and policy development activities in more than twenty states and before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Prior to joining Cypress Creek, he served as Vice President for Business Affairs and General Counsel for FLS Energy, Inc., another utility-scale solar developer that was acquired by Cypress Creek in 2016.Mr. Levitas is also Senior Counsel with the law firm of Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton where he was a partner for 15 years before joining Cypress Creek. In private law practice, he developed a reputation as one of the top clean energy and environmental lawyers in the Southeast, representing a wide range of corporate, governmental and non-profit clients in connection with renewable energy project development, wastewater permitting and compliance, wetland and stream permitting and mitigation, water policy, remediation and redevelopment of contaminated property.From 1993 through 1996, Mr. Levitas served as Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources. Prior to his tenure as Deputy Secretary, he served as Director and Senior Attorney of the North Carolina Environmental Defense Fund, which he helped found in 1987.
Elizabeth Teel Galante, VP of Business Development and Government Relations, PosiGen Solar (moderator)
Elizabeth Galante has enjoyed a long career in energy advocacy. She practiced and taught energy and environmental law in Louisiana for 15 years, including the Tulane Law Clinic when it received the National Law Journal’s Runner Up Lawyer of the Year and Distinguished Environmental Achievement Award from the American Bar Association. After Hurricane Katrina, Ms. Galante directed Global Green New Orleans, a nonprofit focused on the sustainable rebuilding of the city to create LEED Platinum homes in the Lower 9th Ward and high performance schools and affordable housing statewide. She created a citywide energy education program for which Time magazine wrote “No organization is doing more to green New Orleans.” She was named a Champion of Change by the White House for managing New Orleans’ DOE Better Buildings program, and is an Aspen Institute Fellow in its flagship Henry Crown program. Elizabeth joined PosiGen Solar at its founding in New Orleans 6 years ago to deliver solar + energy efficiency financing and guaranteed savings to all homeowners, regardless of income or credit score – the only company in the nation to serve the lower income market. To date, more than 12,000 families are enjoying an average net positive savings of more than $500 per year. Due to our inclusive energy partnership with the state of Connecticut, their Green Bank was awarded Harvard’s 2017 Innovation in Government award.