This is the first of three articles on the Solar Industry and Forced Labor. Here we focus on regulation. Articles in the coming weeks will focus on issues facing importers and their suppliers, and on investors and their requirements.

Continue Reading Clean Energy’s Messy Problem: The Solar Industry, the U.S. Government, and the Complex Task of Combatting Forced Labor

Continued commitments to renewable generation in 2021 mean that corporate purchasers remain major drivers in the development of new wind and solar power generation projects in the United States.  Megawatt numbers vary depending on the source; however, there is no dispute about the significant role played by corporates.  While corporate offtakers were initially focused on wind generation, corporate offtakers now regularly contract for solar generation as well.

Continue Reading Corporate Offtake Agreements are a Driving Force Behind the Shift Toward Renewable Energy in the United States

  • U.S. Customs halts the import of silica-based products from made by Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. because the products are suspected of being produced using forced labor.
  • For future imports of solar energy equipment sourced from Xinjiang, China, the United States may use Withhold Release Orders (WROs) to block entry into the United States if there is reasonable suspicion of forced labor in the supply chain.
  • The renewables industry is working together and with regulators to find ways to certify its supply chains are free of forced labor.


Continue Reading Anti-Forced Labor Measures Turn Up the Heat on Chinese Solar Equipment Suppliers

Investors are increasingly focused on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), and more companies are reporting on these statistics.  Reporting on ESG metrics is challenging because there is a lack of consistency in the market as to what ESG is, how to measure whether ESG is successful, and how that success is rewarded.  In the debt capital markets, industry trade groups are working to provide market participants with ESG reporting frameworks in order to unite these ESG reporting efforts and move towards a more uniform reporting standard.  The latest proposed framework is the Social Loan Principles published by the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association, the Loan Market Association and the Loan Syndications & Trading Association.
Continue Reading Six Key Items to be Aware of Regarding the Social Loan Principles

Offshore Wind Goes West.  On May 25, the Biden administration and the State of California announced an effort to develop areas off of the coast of California for up to 4.6 GW of offshore wind generation.  While Northeastern states and project developers are poised to begin bringing commercial scale offshore projects to market, this announcement represents the first concrete step to open up the West coast to offshore wind development.  Wind generation in the waters off the West coast will face some unique challenges (such as water depths that will force the use of floating wind turbines that are still in pre-commercial stages of development), but will also face some of the same challenges that we have been working through on the East coast (such as constrained transmission corridors, undeveloped onshore interconnection and transmission infrastructure and the need for Jones Act-qualified vessels).  Here are six key things to be aware of in the development of floating offshore wind in California.
Continue Reading Six Key Things to be Aware of in the Development of Floating Offshore Wind in California

As the demand for renewable energy in the United State increases, so does related project M&A activity.  For decades, the Sheppard Mullin team has been working on renewable energy project M&A and now we are helping our clients address several accelerating market trends for projects at all stages of the project life cycle. Here are six key items to be aware of today in US renewable energy M&A transactions.
Continue Reading Six key items to be aware of today in US Renewable Energy M&A Transactions

On February 18, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) issued a renewed Notice of Inquiry (NOI)[1] seeking input on potential revisions to its current Policy Statement on the certification of new natural gas transmission facilities.[2]  The NOI supplements FERC’s 2018 NOI issued on the same topic.[3]  Citing changes following receipt of comments in its 2018 NOI proceeding (e.g., the Council on Environmental Quality’s promulgation of updated regulations under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) for implementation by all federal agencies[4] and Executive Order 14008[5]) FERC is seeking to refresh the record and provide “additional viewpoints.”
Continue Reading FERC Issues Second NOI Concerning Its Certificate Policy

With the change in administration in Washington, D.C., President Biden elevated Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) Commissioner Richard Glick to the position of Chairman. A Democrat, Commissioner Glick now assumes
Continue Reading Six Key Items to be Aware of Today Concerning FERC Carbon Pricing Policy

On December 30, 2020, New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (the “Department”) promulgated statewide ambient limits on greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions for the years 2030 and 2050 (the “Regulations”).[1]  The GHGs covered by the Regulations include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons.[2]  The final Regulations constitute a critical step in the implementation of New York State’s climate strategy set out in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (“CLCPA”).
Continue Reading New York Moves Further Toward Implementation of Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act with Final Statewide Greenhouse Gas Emission Limits for 2030 and 2050