The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service”) published a proposed rule listing the tricolored bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The tricolored bat occurs in portions of 39 states, including Texas, Iowa, and Oklahoma, which contain a significant concentration of utility-scale wind projects. In combination with the Service’s proposed “endangered” designation for the northern long-eared bat, the new proposed rule could complicate wind energy project permitting across the country.

Continue Reading U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Listing Tricolored Bat as Endangered Under Endangered Species Act

Offshore wind development off the California coast took another step closer to reality on August 10, 2022 with the California Energy Commission’s release of a report setting maximum feasible capacity and megawatt goals for 2030 and 2045. The report constitutes a milestone in the planning process prescribed by AB 525, which requires that the Commission “evaluate and quantify the maximum feasible capacity of offshore wind to achieve reliability, ratepayer, employment, and decarbonization benefits” for 2030 and 2045.

Continue Reading California Energy Commission Releases Milestone Offshore Wind Energy Report and Sets Maximum Feasible Capacity and Megawatt Planning Goals for 2030 and 2045

On August 7, 2022, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H.R. 5376) (the “Reconciliation Bill”) on a party line vote with the deciding vote cast by the Vice President. The Senate’s passage of the Reconciliation Bill likely satisfies the requirements for a Proposed Change in Tax Law, as defined under most tax equity financing documents. However, in general, those agreements require that only adverse Proposed Changes in Tax Law be reflected in the Base Case Model in advance of a Funding Date. In general, changes that affect the tax capacity of an investor are not within the scope of a Proposed Change in Tax Law but, as discussed below, even if the corporate alternative minimum tax were considered an adverse change, as finally adopted the AMT should not have a material adverse impact on tax capacity.

Continue Reading Tax Law Changes in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H.R. 5376)

U.S. state and federal lawmakers, as well as federal regulators, are increasingly focusing on the role of blockchain and distributed ledger technology in ongoing efforts to combat climate change and to facilitate the transition from carbon-based fossil fuels.

Continue Reading Lawmakers and Regulators Examine Role of Blockchain Technology in Energy Transitions

The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) provided $1.2 trillion in federal funding for infrastructure, including approximately $384 million to support California EV infrastructure through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (“NEVI”) formula program. This sum supplements significant State investments, bringing California funding dedicated to expanding EV Infrastructure to nearly $3 billion through 2026.

Continue Reading A Quick Guide to EV Charging Infrastructure Funding and Incentives in California

On May 18, a coalition of 235 consumer, environmental, and public interest groups penned a petition urging the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices undertaken by electric utilities, pursuant to Article 6(b) of the FTC Act, which empowers the agency to conduct a broad investigative study and request information. Sec. 6(b), 15 U.S.C. § 46(b).

Continue Reading Federal Trade Commission Petitioned To Investigate Electric Utilities

On March 11, 2022, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) proposed reverting the definition of “prevailing wage” under the Davis-Bacon Act to a definition used over 40 years ago. According to the DOL, the proposal is meant to modernize the law and “reflect better the needs of workers in the construction industry and planned federal construction investments.”[1]
Continue Reading Turning Back the Clock: DOL Proposes Previous Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Definition

As current supply chain issues continue to threaten the U.S. photovoltaic solar industry, solar module suppliers, manufacturers, renewable energy developers and utilities alike face great uncertainty surrounding the immediate future of the solar module supply market. The bottom-line is that supply chain issues are increasing shipping and equipment costs for solar cells and panels, however, there are several independent factors that are working together to drive this surge in pricing and constrained market. These factors include the following:

Continue Reading Making Sense of the Solar Supply Chain Issues

On January 12, 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) issued its Final Sale Notice for the auction of six offshore wind lease areas in federal waters off the
Continue Reading SheppardMullin Six: Groundbreaking BOEM Lease Sale in New York Bight Further Accelerates Offshore Wind Development in the Atlantic

President Biden recently wrote a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan urging the Commission to immediately investigate potential anticompetitive behavior in the oil and gas sector. The President noted that gas prices have been rising, while the costs faced by oil and gas companies themselves have decreased. Concerned that the two largest oil and gas companies in the country are set to double their net income over 2019 while the gap between the price of unfinished gasoline and the price at the pump is increasing, he called on the FTC to “bring all of the Commission’s tools to bear if you uncover any wrongdoing.”

Continue Reading Antitrust Scrutiny Heating Up in Oil and Gas Industries

Introduction: On November 18, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) issued a notice of inquiry seeking comments on various aspects of currently accepted reactive power compensation mechanisms and alternative compensation methodologies, including for those resources that interconnect at the distribution level but offer reactive power capability in support of transmission.  The NOI may foreshadow FERC’s adoption for the first time of a uniform standard for reactive power compensation, displacing the current fragmented reactive power federal pricing environment.

Continue Reading FERC Seeks Comments on Potential Alternative Reactive Power Compensation Mechanisms in Reactive Power Capability Compensation, 177 FERC ⁋ 61,118 (2021) (“NOI”)