On November 3, 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum (Memorandum) that potentially opens the door to agency attempts to expand mitigation obligations beyond what is required under law while also having the potential to have significant and positive net benefits for the development of energy projects. The Memorandum encourages advance (i.e., pre-project) restoration measures, including mitigation banking, by both public and private entities.  It directs federal agencies to adopt a clear and consistent approach, such as guidance and regulations, to further this goal. Agencies affected include the United States Forest Service (USFS), the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of Interior (DOI) — projects involving review by these agencies, including energy and other types of proposed development, may be affected. These agencies will be expected to draft handbooks, guidelines, policies and regulations to implement advance mitigation measures.
Intense climate negotiations in Paris have now concluded for the 21st “conference of the parties” (or COP-21) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Until quite late in the process, many big-picture questions remained unresolved, including the enforceability of emissions limitations plans under the agreement, compensation for loss, and the target limit for global temperature rise. The resolution of these questions will be summarized below, with initial commentary on the results of the negations and questions going forward.
Leading up to and during the negotiations, media reports reflected optimism among global stakeholders seeking limits to greenhouse gas emissions, and expectations for an historic deal ran high. This ambitious agenda redoubled during the talks themselves, when low-lying island nations and scientists sought to tighten temperature increase targets from 2 degrees Celsius to 1.5 degrees Celsius. As discussed below, while the agreement reflects a new level of commitment to cutting carbon, the high expectations were not met entirely in the final accord.
A series of public meetings are being held across Washington State to provide an update on the Washington State Legislature’s Clean Energy Fund II. The Clean Energy Fund provides grants to projects that support development, demonstration and deployment of clean energy technologies and is administered by the Department of Commerce’s State Energy Office. Personnel from the Department of Commerce will be at each meeting to provide information and answer questions.
The next meeting is being held in Spokane, Washington at Avista Utilities. The meeting details are:
- When: Thursday, December 17, 2015
- Where: Avista Utilities
1411 E. Mission Avenue
Spokane, WA 99202
If you are interested in attending the meeting on December 17 in Spokane, you can register here. We will keep you updated on future scheduled meetings and updates on the Clean Energy Fund II. More information on the Clean Energy Fund II can be found here.
Law Seminars International will present a discussion on renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) next Thursday, December 10 from 12:00-1:30 p.m. PST featuring Bill Holmes of K&L Gates and other renewables industry professionals. The presentation will cover what makes a renewable PPA different from other contracts, how renewable PPAs address the complex regulatory system governing electric power, common risk sharing terms in renewable PPAs, key financial terms, and the latest ideas for “synthetic” PPAs and other new approaches allowing large companies to participate directly in the market for renewable power.
Register directly on the Law Seminars International Website.