RPS Report: Commerce Clause Analysis of People. v. Nazarian and Solomon v. Hanna
Carolyn Elefant, State-Federal RPS Collaborative
In the past, certain provisions in RPS programs have been challenged in court as violating the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. The RPS Collaborative has previously published an overview paper explaining how states can reduce the likelihood of a successful challenge. Now, two recent cases—one in Maryland and the other in New Jersey—can provide additional guidance to states seeking to retain economic benefits of an RPS. The cases did not focus directly on the states’ RPSs, but rather on efforts to increase in-state capacity resources. Nevertheless, because they involve the electric utility sector and the courts concluded that the programs complied with the Commerce Clause, the cases shed light on ways in which an RPS program can be protected against a constitutional challenge.