As we enter 2024, we once again review the most significant legislation, policy changes and regulatory actions with respect to climate change taken by California in the past year. In contrast to 2022, which brought a revamp of California’s timeline to complete its transition to zero-emission energy sources and the finalization of a $54 billion climate funding package, the headline grabber in 2023 was the passage of three bills related to corporate emissions and accountability.Continue Reading California Climate Change Legislation, Policy and Regulation – 2023 in Review

With the recent Gulf Auction falling short of expectations and projects on the East Coast faltering, many have adopted a bearish stance on the U.S. offshore wind sector. However, California recently passed two new bills to support the state’s burgeoning offshore wind industry: the Offshore Wind Advancement Act (AB 3) and the California Offshore Wind Expediting Act (SB 286). These bills, which take effect January 1, 2024, have the potential to significantly impact offshore wind development in California.Continue Reading New Bills Advance California’s Offshore Wind Strategy

While 2022 saw record commitments to renewable generation by commercial and industrial customers in the U.S., agreements with C&I customers in 2023 were affected by federal investigations into tariff avoidance, storm responses, supply chain disruptions and importation issues. Nonetheless, the outlook for growth remains promising for 2024, as corporate purchasers continue to drive the U.S. renewable markets.Continue Reading Beyond Borders: Global Corporate PPA Outlook

On October 7, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law two sweeping climate disclosure bills, Senate Bill 253 (“SB 253”), the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act, and Senate Bill 261 (“SB 261”), the Climate-Related Risk Act. Taken together, SB 253 and SB 261 overlap the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed climate disclosure rule (the “SEC Proposed Rule”), and expand upon it in several significant ways. The SEC Proposed Rule addresses both greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions and climate risk, while the California measures separate the two, with SB 253 addressing GHG emissions, and SB 261 addressing climate risk.Continue Reading Change is in the Air: Everything You Need to Know About California’s Sweeping New Climate Disclosure Laws

On August 29th, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held the first auction for offshore wind areas in the Gulf of Mexico. Sheppard Mullin’s preview of the auction can be accessed here. The auction concluded after just two rounds of bidding, with only the Lake Charles area off the coast of Louisiana being awarded. The two Texas areas available in the auction, Galveston I and II, received no bids.Continue Reading Gulf of Mexico Offshore Auction Falls Short of Expectations

On July 21, 2023, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued a Final Sale Notice (FSN) for offshore wind leases covering three areas on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The auction will include a 102,480-acre area off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana and two areas off the coast of Galveston, Texas totaling nearly 200,000 acres. On August 29th, up to fifteen qualified bidders will vie to become the first offshore wind leaseholders in this high-potential region.Continue Reading Previewing the Gulf of Mexico Offshore Wind Lease Auction

The United States is broadening the scope and diversity of its energy mix at a rate and to an extent not seen in a century, if ever. The changes underway provide both important opportunities and critical challenges for owners seeking to repurpose existing assets in a market governed by overlapping federal, state and local regulations.Continue Reading Six Key Considerations for Transitioning Existing Fossil Fuel Transport, Storage and Electricity Generation Assets to New Uses

On February 13, 2023, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued its “initial guidance”[1] regarding the Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit Program (the “Program”) established by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the “IRA”)[2] and codified under new Section 48(e) of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) concerning “special rules for certain solar and wind facilities placed in service in connection with low-income communities.” The guidance makes strides to implement the Program required by the IRA, but it also leaves some gaps to be addressed in more guidance to come. Continue Reading IRS Issues Guidance for Inflation Reduction Act Low-Income Bonus Tax Credits

For years, domestic content requirements have been a point of pain and frustration for government contractors. Historically, these regimes typically come in the form of the proverbial stick – that is, provide products and/or services that meet these country of origin requirements, or risk severe consequences (the billions in False Claims Act Trade Agreements Act settlements speak for themselves). But through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Congress has taken a unique approach by authorizing the Department of Treasury to use country of origin as a carrot – offering certain energy facilities bonus tax credits for meeting specified “domestic content” requirements. To create this new carrot, Congress relied heavily on the Government’s prior experience with domestic content regimes – pulling predominantly from the Federal Transit Authority’s (“FTA”) “Buy America” regulations, but with a Buy American Act twist. In doing so, Congress has left the renewable energy industry with more questions than answers on the applicability of the bonus tax credit to their facilities.Continue Reading Domestic Content Requirements of the Inflation Reduction Act: Basic Requirements, Qualification Analysis, and Lingering Questions

The U.S. General Services Administration (“GSA”) recently released a Request for Information (“RFI”) seeking input from industry to help the federal government develop strategies for the procurement of carbon pollution-free electricity (“CFE”) in accordance with Executive Order 14057’s goal of achieving 100% CFE for the federal government by 2030. The RFI seeks to gather information about the “availability of CFE in the retail electricity market and ways for the Federal Government to incentivize additional production and delivery of CFE.”Continue Reading GSA Issues Request for Information on Carbon Pollution-Free Electricity

In the closing weeks of 2022, the California Air Resources Board (“CARB” or “Board”) approved its final 2022 Scoping Plan, which sets forth a detailed roadmap to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions in order for the state to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, with an interim goal of achieving a reduction in GHG emissions of 40% below the 1990 level by 2030 (the goal adopted by the State in 2017’s SB 32).Continue Reading California Air Resources Board Adopts 2022 Scoping Plan