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Sondra McLemore to Speak on Solar Energy Siting at Upcoming Conference – Register Today!

Solar array on a farm field. Photo by Mayhah Suri.

By: Kyla Kaplan

Growing up on a farm in Latin America, Sondra McLemore has always been interested in energy, natural resources, and the environment. After receiving her graduate degrees, she became interested in energy law and has worked around the country in states such as Texas, Maryland, and Mississippi on various energy matters. 

She is now the Assistant Attorney General for the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) and the Power Plant Research Program (PPRP). McLemore has been in her current role since 2011 where, among other duties,  she represents the PPRP in its role in the works with local and state governments in the siting process for solar energy generating stations. In this role, she has been involved in the State permitting process for many of the large solar projects. She will be providing remarks in her personal capacity and not on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General or her client agencies.

 The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for providing recommendations to the Public Service Commission concerning generation and transmission permitting matters before the Public Service Commission. MEA is an independent state agency that advises the Governor and the General Assembly on energy policy manners and administers programs to encourage clean energy technologies in all sectors of Maryland’s economy

McLemore will be joined on the panel by Les Knapp, Legal & Policy Counsel, Maryland Association of Counties and Ryan Showalter, Partner, McAllister, DeTar, Showalter & Walker. This panel will focus on the roles of the local and state governments in siting solar energy generating stations following the Court of Appeals’ decision in Board of County Commissioners of Washington County v. Perennial Solar, LLC.  

In Board of County Commissioners of Washington County v. Perennial Solar, LLC., the Court of Appeals held that state law preempted local zoning authority for siting solar energy generating systems that require a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) issued by the Maryland Public Service Commission. Local governments, however, do still play a part in the CPCN process. 

On the panel, the experts will explain how the opinion of the local jurisdiction factors into the Public Service Commission’s decision-making process when deciding whether to approve a CPCN application for solar field installations

To learn more and hear from Sondra McLemore, register for the fifth annual Agricultural & Environmental Law Conference, on November 14, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm at the Crowne Plaza Annapolis, 173 Jennifer Road, Annapolis, MD 21401. You can register at https://go.umd.edu/aleiconf2019registration

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