On Monday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released its Renewables Portfolio Standard Annual Report announcing that the State is on track to meet its renewables portfolio standard (RPS) requirement of 50% ten years ahead of schedule. The California RPS sets a requirement that 33% of electricity retail sales be served by renewable resources by 2020, and 50% by 2030. But with aggressive investment in renewables the State’s three large investor owned utilities (IOUs) may achieve the 50% goal by the 2020 deadline, ten years early. Continue Reading CPUC: California May Achieve The 50% RPS Goal By 2020, 10 Years Ahead of Schedule
Southern California Edison (SCE) released The Clean Power and Electrification Pathway, a blueprint for California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants. SCE explains that a clean power and electrification pathway is the best approach to meet California’s 2030 and 2050 climate goals, reducing 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 40 and 80 percent respectively. The plan largely revolves around three economic sectors: electricity, transportation and buildings. By 2030, the plan calls for California’s electric grid to be supplied by 80% carbon-free energy, at least 7 million electric vehicles in California and one-third of space and water heaters in California to be electric powered. Essentially, the plan proposes to produce an electric grid with more carbon-free energy that will supply high-polluting industries. Other pathways to decarbonization, including renewable natural gas and hydrogen, were also analyzed but were determined to be more expensive than the clean power and electrification pathway. For more information, see SCE’s full plan here.
We would like to thank all our clients for choosing Troutman Sanders to represent them in 2016. In 2016, our work spanned 23 states and several countries and accounted for more than 2 gigawatts of installed renewable energy with a value exceeding $5.5 billion.
In “2016 Renewable Energy Market Year in Review and a Look Ahead to 2017,” we reflect on the biggest trends and challenges we observed in 2016 and offer insights into important trends and policy agenda items that will continue to be significant in 2017 and beyond, including:
- Tax Reform
- Federal Tax Credits
- The “Duck Curve”
- Renewable Portfolio Standards
- Energy Storage / Battery Storage
- Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA)
- Resurgence of Natural Gas-Fired Generation
- Commercial Power Purchase Agreements
- Proxy Revenue Swaps
- Foreign Investment
- Community Choice Aggregation
- Federal Policy
To view the complete newsletter, click here.
With New Federal Administration, States Betting Bigger on Renewables
Nearly 1 in 10 States have launched proposals directing utilities to procure anywhere from 50% to 100% of their power from renewable energy resources by mid-century. Currently 29 states and the District of Columbia have renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in place. Several states, however, have introduced even more aggressive proposals likely in reaction to the fact that new federal requirements are not likely to be promulgated (e.g., the Clean Power Plan).
Some States Move All In For 100% Renewables
In 2015, Hawaii became the first state to adopt a 100% RPS designed to completely decarbonize its power portfolio. Over the next thirty years Hawaii’s RPS will ramp up with incremental requirements starting with 30% renewable generation by 2020 and ultimately achieving 100% renewable generation by 2045.
In recent weeks, state law makers in Massachusetts and California have introduced legislation to require 100% renewable energy output. In Massachusetts, a bill would require the state to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035, and ultimately meet all of its heating, cooling and transportation needs through renewable sources by 2050. Continue Reading With New Federal Administration, States Betting Bigger on Renewables
On February 13, 2017, a bipartisan coalition of 20 US governors published a letter imploring President Donald Trump to support the renewables industry. The group highlighted the wide impact the industry has across the nation, employing hundreds of thousands of Americans and transforming low-income and rural communities. The Governors highlight four ways in which Congress and the Trump administration could help the renewables industry.
First, grid modernization and transmission development. The Governors argued that any national infrastructure package should provide significant funding for grid modernization to address the electrical transmission challenges created by large expansions of renewable generation across the country. To implement and streamline the grid modernization process, the governors suggested that the administration create a state-federal task force to work with FERC and the National Laboratories. Continue Reading Bipartisan Governors Push Trump to Support Renewables in Infrastructure Planning
Troutman Sanders Project Finance Partners Justin Boose and John Leonti will moderate panels at Infocast’s Annual Projects & Money Conference in New Orleans on January 18 and 19 as well as its Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit in San Diego on February 8.
On Wednesday, January 18, Justin Boose will moderate a panel titled “Ancillary Markets – Compensation for Providing Stabilization Services to Renewable Generation.” Because renewables are an intermittent resource, the penetration of renewables requires firm generation sources to stabilize the grid. In certain markets, such as ERCOT, the ancillary markets are not providing the right signals needed to attract new thermal generation. The panel discussion will focus on this challenge and explore potential solutions.
On Thursday, January 19, John Leonti will moderate a panel titled “Renewables Outlook 2018, 2019 and Beyond.” The extension of the PTC and ITC has provided some much needed certainty for the renewables sector. However, there is still plenty of uncertainty around other drivers that will shape the project development landscape for solar and wind in 2018, 2019 and beyond. John and his panelists will explore the outlook for renewables development and examine the evolution of the tax equity market and financing structures to support growth.
We are pleased to offer clients and friends a 15% discount on registration. To receive this discount, please register directly with Infocast using discount code 170771.
On Wednesday, February 8, John Leonti will moderate a panel titled “Swaps and Other Risk Mitigation Products” at Infocast’s annual Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit in San Diego. The Summit offers unique networking opportunities to connect with the entire spectrum of the wind industry, at the highest levels—developers, yieldcos and yield-oriented vehicles, tax equity investors, lenders, private equity funds and other investors, turbine suppliers, PPA offtakers, customer and more.
We are pleased to offer clients and friends a 15% discount on registration. To receive this discount, please register directly with Infocast using discount code 1708107.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals sent a clear message to secured creditors with its recent decision, Ring v. First Niagara Bank, N.A. (In re Sterling United, Inc.),1 that in the case of a collateral description in a financing statement for blanket liens covering all of a debtor’s assets — less is more. In the case, the secured party, First Niagara Bank, supplemented its “all assets” UCC-1 description with the phrase “including but not limited to, [all assets located at]”, followed by a specific address where the collateral was located.2 When the debtor later moved to a new location, this unnecessary additional phrase almost backfired on the secured party when a bankruptcy trustee moved to avoid the financing statement as a preference.3 The Court ultimately found after protracted litigation that the collateral description was sufficient, but First Niagara’s experience serves as a reminder to creditors (and their attorneys) that a simple “all assets” UCC-1 description limits the risk of future litigation.
1 Ring v. First Niagara Bank, N.A. (In re Sterling United, Inc.), No. 15–4131–bk (2d Cir. Dec. 22, 2016) (Summary Order).
2 Id., at * 4
3 See id.
With the Obama administration coming to an end, January 2017 marks the beginning of a dramatic wholesale conservative shift in federal public policymaking. Starting with the swearing-in of the 115th Congress on January 3rd, and followed by President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, the legislative and executive branches promise a robust schedule of activity heading into the Trump administration’s first 100 days.
Troutman Sanders Strategies team’s 2017 Federal Outlook provides an overview of the legislative and regulatory priorities for the 115th Congress and the incoming Trump administration. Click here to view a copy of the complete report.
Originally posted in Troutman Sanders Environmental Law and Policy Monitor
On December 14, 2016, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) finalized revisions to its regulations for nonpurposeful (or incidental) take of eagles and eagles nests under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (“Eagle Act”). According to FWS, the rule is intended to balance clean energy development and eagle conservation goals. FWS acknowledges the Obama Administration’s efforts to expand wind energy development and how the accompanying growth has impacted eagles, but emphasizes its belief that wind energy development does not pose a disproportionate risk to eagles as compared to other activities that may incidentally take eagles. FWS’s revisions are clearly drafted with the wind industry in mind. Continue Reading Fish and Wildlife Finalizes Helpful Revisions to Eagle Take Permit Regulations
Last week the U.S. Court of Federal Claims issued its opinion in Alta Wind I Owner Lessor C et. al. v. United States (“Alta Wind”) (available here). The court awarded the plaintiffs over $200 million in damages relating to underpaid Section 1603 grants for six different wind projects, five sold in sale-leaseback transactions and one sold in an outright sale to an unrelated party. As described below, the opinion addresses a number of fundamental issues relating to the determination of qualifying basis for Section 1603, ITC, and depreciation purposes. Continue Reading Alta Wind Addresses Fundamental ITC and Depreciation Issues for Renewables