CPV Maryland, LLC v. PPC EnergyPlus, LLC

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: October 19, 2015
  • Case #: 13-2424
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 753 F.3d 467
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether an energy plant subsidized by the state of Maryland may be "field preempted" or "conflict preempted" when its higher incentives disrupt the federal energy market's regulatory scheme as governed by the Federal Power Act.

Petitioner, Commercial Power Ventures Maryland, LLC (CPV), secured a winning bid from the Maryland Public Service Commission (MPSC) to build a new power plant for Maryland and the District of Columbia. Maryland feared the federal market was unreliable and not incentivizing new power generation through its federal wholesale market, regulated under the Federal Power Act (FPA) and by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC). Petitioner planned to sell its energy on the federal wholesale market while earning state implemented incentives for competitive sales. Respondents, PPL EnergyPlus, et al, filed suit to challenge Petitioner’s new plant as violating the FPA for disrupting federally regulated energy costs. The district court ruled in favor of Respondents and the Fourth Circuit affirmed. The panel held that Petitioner’s plant, as subsidized by Maryland, was preempted by FPA and FERC because it conflicted with the federal energy market. Petitioner argues that the FPA provides states with autonomy over construction of energy plants and costs based on state needs. Petitioner asks the Court to decide whether state-directed and procured power plants may be “field” and/or “conflict preempted” if the state incentives are greater or more competitive than the federal market.

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