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.
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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

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. 
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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.
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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.

Infocast’s 7th Annual Projects & Money Conference, New Orleans, January 18-19

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.

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

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.
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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.
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