McLean’s winning entry, “Throwing Shade: The Case Against Judicial Interference With Solar Net Metering Policies,” argues that programs to encourage distributed electricity generation do not trigger the Takings Clause, which sometimes requires governments to pay compensation for their decisions.
The annual contest, which is organized by ELI’s Program on Constitution, Courts and Legislation, invites law students to explore issues at the intersection of constitutional and environmental law. As the 2016 winner, McLean will receive a $2,000 cash award, endowed by the law firm of Beveridge & Diamond, and her paper will be published in ELI’s flagship journal, the Environmental Law Reporter. Entries are reviewed by a panel of experienced attorneys.
“Megan’s paper examines the history of takings law as applied to utility regulation, and concludes that it creates no barrier to net metering and other innovative policies,” said Jay Austin, a senior attorney at ELI. “Her sophisticated approach stood out even among a field of very strong student work.”
McLean wrote her paper for Professor Jim Rossi’s Renewable Power seminar. “Megan’s paper assesses whether state programs to encourage customer energy resources such as rooftop solar comply with the Takings Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” Rossi said. “Her analysis is important and timely, particularly for states that are reassessing the scope and level of these incentives.”
McLean plans to join the law firm of Husch Blackwell in St. Louis, Missouri, after graduation.