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.
Ben Huffman is a partner in the Energy, Infrastructure and Project Finance Team and the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group in the firm's Chicago office.
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
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
On October 1, 2020, the fourth edition of the Equator Principles came into effect. This fourth edition expands the scope of infrastructure projects that are captured by the principles and…
Continue Reading Six Key Items to be Aware of Today Regarding the Equator Principles IV
Momentum is growing quickly towards widespread construction of US offshore wind-powered electrical generation facilities. Several States along the northern part of the Atlantic coast have projects actively under development and RFPs for more projects to come. Recent regulatory guidance has been issued clarifying Jones Act implementation. Here are six key trends and developments for market participants to be aware of.
Continue Reading Six Key Items to be Aware of Today in U.S. Offshore Wind (“OSW”)
In light of a recent IRS Private Letter Ruling addressing public utility property and loss disallowance rules, here are six key items to be aware of today in tax equity transactions for renewable energy projects owned by public utilities.
Continue Reading Tax Equity for Public Utilities
On May 28, 2020, the IRS proposed long-awaited regulations that address key areas of uncertainty in existing guidance for Internal Revenue Code Section 45Q (45Q) carbon capture and sequestration tax credits. Although some questions remain unanswered, the regulations are a significant step towards reducing regulatory uncertainty and fostering a functional market for 45Q credits. This article will focus on the regulations’ key takeaways for transaction structuring, while also highlighting technical clarifications of significant import for this nascent industry.
Continue Reading IRS Proposes Key Section 45Q Carbon Capture and Sequestration Regulations
Members of the Sheppard Mullin Energy, Infrastructure and Project Finance Team wrote an article published in the March 16, 2020 edition of Tax Notes Federal regarding the practical impacts on tax equity financing for renewable energy projects of a private letter ruling (“PLR”) published by the IRS in late 2019. The PLR addressed normalization and loss disallowance rules applicable to public utilities. These rules have posed significant challenges to public utilities that want to own renewable energy generation facilities, make efficient use of the tax benefits they provide (via the tax equity market) and recover their costs from ratepayers.
Continue Reading Walking the Path of Utilities’ Ownership of Wind and Solar
On February 19, 2020, the IRS published two guidance documents (links here and here) of significant legal and commercial importance to the nascent market for carbon capture and sequestration production tax credits set forth in Section 45Q of the Internal Revenue Code. Although there are certain differences, the guidance bears striking similarity to existing guidance relied upon by participants in the existing wind production tax credit (Wind PTC) tax equity market. Because of the highly developed state of the Wind PTC market, the similarities make it likely that existing Wind PTC deal structures could be adapted for the 45Q tax credits, thereby improving market adoption and transactional efficiencies. On the other hand, technical and economic differences exist between wind generation and carbon sequestration that need to be overcome in order for a robust 45Q tax credit market to develop. While we are continuing to review and consider this new guidance, we have some preliminary observations as to its practical implications on potential 45Q tax credit transactions.
Continue Reading New IRS Guidance on Section 45Q Carbon Capture and Sequestration Tax Credits: Key Preliminary Takeaways for Potential Market Participants