The National Debate Unfolding Over PURPA and Solar Power

By [email protected] A 40-year-old federal energy law has been making a lot of news in recent months.

In June, Montana’s Billings Gazette published a story titled, “Hot Mic Records Troubling Conversation About Solar Regulations.” The solar regulation at issue was the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, or PURPA, which has been an issue of contention at the Montana Public Service Commission for well over a year.

PURPA was designed to be a driver of conservation and renewable energy in response to the energy crisis of the early 1970s. The law requires utilities to purchase energy produced at what are known as

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