Archive: 2017

1
K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 10
2
FERC Welcomes New Commissioners, Quorum Restored
3
K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 9
4
Illinois District Court Rejects Federal Preemption Challenges to State Zero-Emissions Credit Program
5
K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 8
6
K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 7
7
Maryland Issues Request for Proposals for Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Projects
8
United States Announces Intent to Withdraw From Paris Climate Accord: What is the Real Impact?
9
K&L GATES BLOCKCHAIN ENERGIZER – VOLUME 6
10
Energy Department Seeks Input on Regulatory Reform

K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 10

By Molly Suda, Buck B. Endemann, and Ben Tejblum

A bi-weekly update on applications of blockchain technology in the energy industry

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology and its potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries from finance and healthcare to real estate and supply chain management. Reports estimate that over $1.4 billion was invested in blockchain startups in 2016 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.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Blockchain-Powered Utility-Scale Solar Investment Fund Launches ICO
  • ISDA Issues Whitepaper on Smart Contracts and Distributed Ledger Technology
  • Bank in Thailand to Use Blockchain to Digitize Letters of Guarantee

To view more information on theses topics in Volume 10 of the Blockchain Energizer, click here.

 

FERC Welcomes New Commissioners, Quorum Restored

By David L. Wochner, Sandra E. Safro, William M. Keyser, Molly Suda, Michael L. O’Neill, Jennifer L. Bruneau, Benjamin L. Tejblum, Elizabeth P. Trinkle and Gillian R. Giannetti

On August 3, 2017, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s nominations of Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson as Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Commissioners and restored FERC’s quorum for the first time in nearly 180 days. The next step is for Mr. Chatterjee and Mr. Powelson to be sworn into their positions.

FERC has not had a quorum since February 3, 2017. In the interim, the Commission has accumulated a backlog of filings that will require formal Commission action, including

  • Applications under Section 4 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) related to the rates and terms and conditions of service;
  • Applications related to interstate natural gas pipeline infrastructure under Section 7 of the NGA;
  • Applications related to the rates and terms and conditions of service for interstate oil and products pipelines under the Interstate Commerce Act;
  • Applications related to rates, rules, or charges for the transmission or wholesale sale of electric energy under the Federal Power Act;
  • Complaints challenging rates, rules, or charges for the transmission or wholesale sale of electric energy under the Federal Power Act; and
  • Petitions for declaratory orders seeking clarification from the Commission.

With FERC’s quorum restored, it also can move forward with rulemaking proceedings, including notices of proposed rulemaking that were issued before February 2017, as well as formal investigations and enforcement actions that require Commission authorization. It is unclear at this point how FERC will process and prioritize this backlog and how long it will take before the Commission is able to process filings on more traditional timeframes.

FERC does not hold a formal Commission meeting in August, but the Commissioners can vote notationally and therefore could begin issuing orders in the near term.

Below is a brief biography of FERC’s newest members.

Neil Chatterjee

Mr. Chatterjee most recently served as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’s senior energy policy analyst. While in this position, Mr. Chatterjee advised Senator McConnell on energy and infrastructure initiatives, including President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Mr. Chatterjee worked previously as a Principal in Government Relations for the National Rural Cooperative Association and as an aide to House Republican Conference chairman Deborah Pryce (R-OH). Mr. Chatterjee grew up in Lexington, Kentucky near the heart of the coal industry. He earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Lawrence University in New York and a law degree from the University of Cincinnati. Mr. Chatterjee’s term expires on June 30, 2021.

Robert Powelson

Mr. Powelson has extensive regulatory experience, having served as a Commissioner at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) and as President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Mr. Powelson has served on numerous academic boards, including Drexel University’s Board of Trustees and Lincoln University’s Board of Directors. Prior to his position on the Pennsylvania PUC, Mr. Powelson worked as Chief Executive Officer and President of the Chester County, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. He earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s University and a master’s in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Powelson’s term expires on June 30, 2020.

In addition, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing for President Trump’s two other nominees, Richard Glick and Kevin McIntyre, for September 7, 2017, at 10 a.m. If approved by the Committee, Mr. Glick and Mr. McIntyre will then be ready to be scheduled for full Senate confirmation. Below is a brief biography for both nominees.

Richard Glick

Before President Trump nominated him for FERC, Mr. Glick served as General Counsel for the Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Previously, Mr. Glick served as an energy and wind power lobbyist and advised U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson during the Clinton Administration. Mr. Glick earned his bachelor’s degree from The George Washington University and his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. If confirmed, Mr. Glick’s term would expire on June 30, 2022.

Kevin McIntyre

Mr. McIntyre is well-known among industry professionals, having served as co-head of Jones Day’s energy practice. While in private practice, Mr. McIntyre focused on government regulation of energy markets, electric and natural gas utilities, oil and natural gas pipelines, and co-authored several treatises on energy practice. Mr. McIntyre is actively involved in the Energy Bar Association, having served as on its Charitable Foundation’s Board of Directors. He also has served on the advisory board of Georgetown University Law Center’s Corporate Counsel Institute. Mr. McIntyre earned his bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. If confirmed, Mr. McIntyre’s term would expire on June 30, 2018. The White House press release announcing Mr. McIntyre’s nomination also states the White House’s intention to seek an additional term for Mr. McIntyre, to expire on June 30, 2023.

K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 9

By Molly Suda, 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 healthcare to real estate and supply chain management. Reports estimate that over $1.4 billion was invested in blockchain startups in 2016 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

  • Illinois Moving Forward with Blockchain Pilots
  • Singapore: Latest Country to Develop a Regulatory Sandbox to Promote Energy Innovation
  • LO3 Energy Developing Blockchain-Powered Microgrid Technology to Australia

To view more information on theses topics in Volume 9 of the Blockchain Energizer, click here.

Illinois District Court Rejects Federal Preemption Challenges to State Zero-Emissions Credit Program

By Molly Suda, Donald A. Kaplan, William M. Keyser, John L. Longstreth, and Elizabeth P. Trinkle

UPDATE: On July 25, 2017, the New York court issued its decision, which also upheld New York’s ZEC program. We will have more analysis of that decision in a later post.

On July 14, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued an opinion dismissing challenges to the state of Illinois’ zero-emissions credit (“ZEC”) program. Illinois’ ZECs are tradable credits created by statute that, in the court’s words, put “money in the coffers of Exelon from the sale of ZECs that will give it a benefit when pricing its energy in the wholesale market relative to competing energy producers that do not receive ZEC payments.” The ZECs represent the zero-emissions attributes of nuclear power and would provide additional revenue for nuclear power plants, whose owners state they are unable to cover their costs in the current low-price wholesale energy and capacity markets.

In its decision in the companion cases Village of Old Mill Creek v. Star and Electric Power Supply Association v. Star upholding the ZEC program, the court rejected arguments that Illinois’ program is preempted by the Federal Power Act and further concluded that ZECs do not discriminate under the dormant commerce or equal protection clauses. If affirmed on appeal, the opinion could have important implications for the future of other states’ programs aimed at supporting at-risk nuclear power plants and may influence the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC”) outlook on its role in integrating state programs and policies into wholesale energy markets.

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

K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 8

By Molly Suda, 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 healthcare to real estate and supply chain management. Reports estimate that over $1.4 billion was invested in blockchain startups in 2016 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.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Investment in Energy Blockchain Applications is Heating Up
  • New Forms of Consensus Being Developed to Meet the Needs of Business Blockchains
  • Blockchain Being Deployed to Optimize Shipping Container Management

To view more information on theses topics in Volume 8 of the Blockchain Energizer, click here.

 

K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 7

By Molly Suda, 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 healthcare to real estate and supply chain management. Reports estimate that over $1.4 billion was invested in blockchain startups in 2016 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.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Blockchain May Help Address Cyber Security Concerns in the Energy Industry
  • United Nations Recognizes the Potential for Blockchain Technology to Promote Climate Change Action
  • Infocast Blockchain Webinar
    • Interested in learning more about blockchains? On July 12, the authors of the Blockchain Energizer will partner with Infocast to provide a one-hour webinar on blockchain technology and its applications in the energy space.
    • Registration is free and may be accessed through the following link.

To view more information on theses topics in Volume 7 of The Blockchain Energizer, click here.

 

Maryland Issues Request for Proposals for Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Projects

By William M. Keyser and Elizabeth P. Trinkle

The Maryland Department of Transportation (“MDOT”) has issued a request for proposals (“RFP”) to create a Master Services Agreement (“MSA”) to select contracts to design, construct, finance, and operate renewable energy facilities and energy storage projects at MDOT locations throughout the State of Maryland.  The terms of the MSA will be five years, with an optional two year extension.

The scope of the RFP encompasses solar, geothermal and microhydropower renewable energy systems. In addition to traditional renewable energy facilities, bidders may also propose energy storage systems and microgrid development. Bidders are encouraged to find cost-effective project financing, and the contractor will be responsible for applying for and obtaining incentives offered by the State of Maryland.  Proposals are to be submitted in two parts:  Part I should include the technical aspects of the project, and Part II should contain the pricing information required by the RFP.   Read More

United States Announces Intent to Withdraw From Paris Climate Accord: What is the Real Impact?

By William M. Keyser, Laurie B. Purpuro, Cliff L. Rothenstein, Alyssa A. Moir, and Christina A. Elles

On June 1, President Trump declared that he would withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord (the “Agreement”).  His announcement, though not unexpected, raises a host of questions on several legal, technical, and policy fronts.  And while the news and commentary on President Trump’s position continues to change, three fundamental questions are worth asking:

  1. How is the Agreement structured to handle withdrawal?
  2. What legal actions could potentially force the Trump administration to take actions to address climate change?
  3. What impact, if any, would a withdrawal have on U.S. state and private-side initiatives to address climate change?

We focus our analysis on these questions in this Legal Insight, which you can view on K&L Gates HUB.

K&L GATES BLOCKCHAIN ENERGIZER – VOLUME 6

By Molly Suda, 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 healthcare to real estate and supply chain management. Reports estimate that over $1.4 billion was invested in blockchain startups in 2016 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.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Blockchain-Based Energy Trading Pilot Project Looks to Expand
  • Over 20 Energy Trading Frims Will Participate in Peer-to-Peer Energy Trading Market

To view more information on these topics in Volume 6 of The Blockchain Energizer, click here.

Energy Department Seeks Input on Regulatory Reform

By Tim L. Peckinpaugh, David L. Wochner, David L. Benson and Kathleen L. Nicholas

On May 30, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) published a request for information (“RFI”) soliciting guidance on potential regulations that should be modified or repealed to reduce burdens and costs. This is part of a government-wide initiative to overhaul the federal government’s regulatory regime, set in motion with an executive order signed by President Trump just after his inauguration. This RFI also comes after President Trump signed an executive order, “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” which seeks to review all regulatory actions that hamper the domestic production of fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

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

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