Global Power Law & Policy

Legal and Policy Developments Affecting the Global Power Industry.

 

1
K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 22
2
FERC Rule Seeks to Expand Energy Storage Participation in Wholesale Electricity Markets
3
Tax Credits for Energy Facilities Extended in New Budget Bill
4
Act on Electromobility and Alternative fuels Enters into Force
5
Energy Storage: 2017 Year in Review
6
K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 21
7
President Trump Imposes Tariffs on Imported Solar Modules and Cells
8
ACORE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance – State of the Industry Webinar: Financing Renewables Post-Tax Reform
9
Washington, D.C. Partner Recognized in #Solar100
10
FERC Rejects DOE’s Grid Reliability and Resilience NOPR

K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 22

By Buck Endemann, Ben Tejblum, and Daniel Cohen

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology and its potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries from finance and health care to real estate and supply chain management. Reports estimate that over $4.5 billion was invested in blockchain startups in 2017 alone, and many institutions and companies are forming partnerships to explore how blockchain ledgers and smart contracts can be deployed to manage and share data, create transactional efficiencies, and reduce costs.

While virtual currencies and blockchain technology in the financial services industry have been the subject of significant debate and discussion, blockchain applications that could transform the energy industry have received comparatively less attention. Every other week, the K&L Gates’ Blockchain Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of blockchain technology in the energy space. To subscribe to the Blockchain Energizer newsletter, please click here.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • European Utility Denies Renewable Energy Sale to Swiss Cryptocurrency Mining Unit Manufacturer
  • Wien Energie is Testing Blockchain-based End-Customer Energy Products
  • Energy Trading Company Vattenfall AB is Considering Deploying a Blockchain-based Trading Platform
  • Gas Natural Fenosa and Endesa Become First Companies to Use Blockchain for an Energy Trade in Spain

To view more information on theses topics in Volume 22 of the Blockchain Energizer, click here.

FERC Rule Seeks to Expand Energy Storage Participation in Wholesale Electricity Markets

By William Keyser, Buck Endemann, Mike O’Neill and Jim Wrathall

On February 15, 2018 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a Final Rule addressing participation of energy storage resources in electricity markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations (“RTOs”) and Independent System Operators (“ISOs”).  Largely adopting the proposal issued in November 2016, the Final Rule seeks to remove barriers for energy storage participation in wholesale capacity, energy, and ancillary services markets.  The ultimate impact of FERC’s directive will be determined over the next few years as RTOs and ISOs implement the standards through their respective stakeholder processes, compliance filings, and (potentially) litigation.    FERC deferred ruling on a companion proposal addressing participation of distributed energy resources (“DERs”) in wholesale markets.  In the coming months, stakeholders should carefully consider these measures as there will continue to be opportunities to shape the final outcomes. Read More

Tax Credits for Energy Facilities Extended in New Budget Bill

By Charles Purcell,  Won-Han Cheng, Elizabeth Crouse, and Andrea Templeton

Congress recently enacted the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which contained a number of extenders applicable to tax credits for energy facilities.  In the case of PTC-eligible energy facilities that were not covered by the earlier extension applicable to wind and solar, the credit was extended to facilities where construction was commenced before January 1, 2018.  This new rule applies to closed and open loop biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, trash, qualified hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic facilities.  In addition, the election to claim the ITC in lieu of the PTC on these facilities was also extended to facilities where construction was commenced before January 1, 2018.

The ITC provisions were amended to extend the “commence construction” dates for 30% credits for fiber optic solar, qualified fuel cell, ground based thermal heating and cooling systems, and qualified small wind energy property to be consistent with solar facilities (terminating at the end of 2021). The Act also extended the “commence construction” dates for 10% credits relating to qualified microturbine and combined heat and power system property (also terminating at the end of 2021).  To be eligible for the extension, combined heat and power system property must be placed into service after December 31, 2016.

In addition, the credits for fiber optic solar, qualified fuel cell and qualified small wind project will step down over the next 5 years.  It also appears that any such property not placed in service by the end of 2023 will not be eligible for any ITC.

Act on Electromobility and Alternative fuels Enters into Force

By Dr. Karol Lasocki, Piotr Michajłow, and Paulina Barańska

The Act of 11 January 2018 on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels enters into force on 22 February this year. It establishes a system of incentives for the promotion of the use of vehicles powered by alternative fuels, mainly electricity, and also introduces mechanisms for initiating investments in the necessary infrastructure.

The Act introduces into Polish law the requirements of Directive 2014/94/EU of 22 October 2014 on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure. EU Member States are to ensure that by 31 December 2020, an appropriate number of publicly available recharging points have been created to allow electrically powered vehicles to move at least in urban/suburban agglomerations and other densely populated areas.

To read the full alert on K&L Gates HUB, click here.

Energy Storage: 2017 Year in Review

This issue of EDGE Advisory: Energy Finance Report reviews energy storage developments in 2017, focusing on the key factors that will impact the sector going forward. This issues covers the following topics:

To view the full newsletter, please click here.

Highlights in this issue include:

Heading into 2018, we look forward to the industry’s accelerating growth, and to continuing to work closely with companies, investors, trade associations, and policy makers in addressing changes in market rules and maximizing the opportunities for energy storage across the electric power sector.

To download a printable PDF of the publication, open the link above and click on the fifth icon from the left in the magazine toolbar at the top of the page.

K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 21

By Buck B. Endemann and Ben Tejblum

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology and its potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries from finance and health care to real estate and supply chain management. Reports estimate that over $4.5 billion was invested in blockchain startups in 2017 alone, and many institutions and companies are forming partnerships to explore how blockchain ledgers and smart contracts can be deployed to manage and share data, create transactional efficiencies, and reduce costs.

While virtual currencies and blockchain technology in the financial services industry have been the subject of significant debate and discussion, blockchain applications that could transform the energy industry have received comparatively less attention. Every other week, the K&L Gates’ Blockchain Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of blockchain technology in the energy space. To subscribe to the Blockchain Energizer newsletter, please click here.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory to Test Blockchain Applications to Facilitate Peer-to-Peer Energy Trading
  • Blockchain Pilot Project in Estonia to Test Large Scale Tokenization of Energy Data on the Blockchain
  • IoT Developer Launches First Energy Blockchain Pilot

To view more information on theses topics in Volume 21 of the Blockchain Energizer, click here.

President Trump Imposes Tariffs on Imported Solar Modules and Cells

By Stacy Ettinger and James Wrathall

President Trump announced the imposition of tariffs on imported crystalline silicon photovoltaic (“CSPV”) modules and cells, as previously recommended by the U.S. International Trade Commission.  The tariffs will be effective February 7, 2018.

Importers will be required to pay a tariff in the amount of 30 percent of the entered value in the first year, declining by 5 percent a year in each of the second, third, and fourth years.  With respect to CSPV solar cells, the first 2.5 gigawatts imported in each year will be exempted from the tariff.  These tariffs are in addition to the antidumping and countervailing duties relief previously imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Chinese solar imports.

For U.S. solar developers and installers, the initial 30 percent tariff is expected to add 10 to 15 cents per watt to the final installed price.  Green Tech Media Research (“GTM”) has predicted this will cause a reduction of approximately 10 percent in U.S. installed solar capacity.  The tariffs do not apply to technologies other than CSPV, specifically thin film modules.  Therefore manufacturers of thin film products such as Solar Frontier and First Solar may see increased relative market share.

The biggest impacts on projects are expected in the utility-scale solar sector, which is largely dependent on being competitive with other generation sources.  Residential solar is viewed as more resilient and less sensitive to price changes.

Some CSPV manufacturing might shift to free trade agreement countries not included in the injury finding.  In particular, manufacturers based in Singapore or Canada may benefit, if the President’s proclamation reflects the approach taken by a majority of the ITC Commissioners to exclude these countries from the tariff program.

China, South Korea, and other countries with exports subject to the tariffs will likely file complaints before the World Trade Organization (“WTO”).  It is unclear what position the current Administration would take in response to an adverse WTO decision, if any. In any case, the WTO dispute settlement process itself could take anywhere from two to four years to complete.

Companies should consider steps to mitigate impacts of these tariffs.  Reportedly over two gigawatts of modules have already been procured for 2018 projects in the United States.  Accessing stockpiles of solar equipment may aid in reducing economic impacts.

The formal proclamation signed today by President Trump provides for exclusion of particular products from the safeguard measure. Procedures for requests for exclusion will be published in the Federal Register within 30 days.  Companies may want to review the product exclusion process and consider whether an exclusion request is warranted.

 

ACORE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance – State of the Industry Webinar: Financing Renewables Post-Tax Reform

On Wednesday, January 24, 2018 from 12:00-1:30pm ET, K&L Gates Seattle associate Elizabeth Crouse will be moderating the ACORE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance sponsored webinar “Financing Renewables Post-Tax Reform.”

The State of the Industry Webinar, a quarterly series produced in partnership between ACORE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, offers the latest intelligence and analysis on renewable energy markets, finance and policy.

Provisions included in the tax reform package will affect how leading financiers of renewable energy projects are taxed on their investments. These changes could impact the availability of tax equity – a critical source of financing that is a significant catalyst for market growth and responsible for roughly 20% of annual U.S. renewable energy investment. On this webinar, experts will consider how changes to the tax code might shake out in the renewable energy market, alternate sources of project financing and other factors developers should expect in 2018 and beyond.

Policy Update:

Greg Wetstone, President & CEO, ACORE

Todd Foley, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs, ACORE

Markets Update:

Ethan Zindler, Head of Americas, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Moderator:

Elizabeth Crouse, Associate, K&L Gates LLP

Speakers:

Marshal Salant, Managing Director, Head of Alternative Energy Finance, Citi

Meghan Schultz, Senior Vice President, Structured FinanceInvenergy LLC

Kevin Walsh, Managing Director, Renewable Energy, GE Energy Financial Services

To register for this webinar, please click here.

FERC Rejects DOE’s Grid Reliability and Resilience NOPR

By William M. Keyser, Molly Suda, Gillian R. Giannetti and Toks A. Arowojolu

On January 8, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the “Commission”) issued an order rejecting the Department of Energy’s (“DOE”) notice of proposed rule making (“NOPR”) that would have allowed fuel secure generation that would include coal and nuclear generation facilities with a 90-day fuel supply to “fully recover costs” to maintain the resiliency of the electric grid. The Commission found that the NOPR did not comply with Section 206 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”). Instead, the Commission initiated a new proceeding to “examine holistically the resilience of the bulk power system” and directed regional transmission organizations (“RTOs”) and independent system operators (“ISOs”) to respond to questions outlined in the order addressing grid resilience issues by March 9, 2018. All other interested entities may submit reply comments by April 9, 2018. Commissioners LaFleur, Chatterjee, and Glick each issued separate concurring opinions.

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