Archive: 2021

1
The Energizer – Volume 87
2
The Energizer – Volume 86
3
The Energizer – Volume 85
4
What a Clean Future Means For Maritime
5
Case Notes: Brazos Electric’s Bankruptcy Filing
6
The Energizer – Volume 84
7
The Energizer – Volume 83
8
Washington State Legislature Considers First of Its Kind State-Level Natural Gas Ban
9
D.C. Circuit Vacates Trump’s ACE Rule and Deals Biden’s EPA New Hand for Regulating Power Plant Greenhouse Gas Emissions
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The Energizer – Volume 82

The Energizer – Volume 87

By: Buck B. Endemann, Daniel S. Cohen, Molly K. Barker, Olivia B. Mora, Natalie J. Reid, Matthew P. Clark

There is a lot of buzz around clean technology, distributed energy resources (DERs), microgrids, and other technological innovations in renewable energy and clean transport industries, and how these developments can contribute to solving longstanding environmental justice issues. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumers and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy industry forward.

IN THIS ISSUE: 

  • Industry Stakeholders Announce Formation of Clean Hydrogen Future Coalition
  • Perovskite Solar Modules Exceed 20 Percent Efficiency
  • Green Hydrogen Fund Backed by Corporate Energy Heavyweights
  • TRi Energy Partnership Progresses Towards Modular Reactor in Washington

The Energizer – Volume 86

By: Buck B. Endemann, Daniel S. Cohen, Olivia B. Mora, Molly K. Barker, Natalie J. Reid, Matthew P. Clark, Nathan C. Howe, Orethu Manu

There is a lot of buzz around clean technology, distributed energy resources (DERs), microgrids, and other technological innovations in renewable energy and clean transport industries, and how these developments can contribute to solving longstanding environmental justice issues. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumers and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy industry forward.

IN THIS ISSUE: 

  • New Legislation Would Extend Investment Tax Credit to Standalone Storage
  • FERC and BOEM Approve Nation’s First Wave Energy Testing Facility
  • DOE Begins Planning of US$75 Million Grid Energy Storage Facility
  • DOE Announces Grants for Clean Hydrogen Projects
  • EV Connect Announces Large-Scale Vehicle-to-Grid Charging Project

The Energizer – Volume 85

By: Buck B. Endemann, Daniel S. Cohen, Olivia B. Mora, Molly K. Barker, Natalie J. Reid, Matthew P. Clark, Nathan C. Howe, Orethu Manu

There is a lot of buzz around clean technology, distributed energy resources (DERs), microgrids, and other technological innovations in renewable energy and clean transport industries, and how these developments can contribute to solving longstanding environmental justice issues. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumers and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy industry forward.

IN THIS ISSUE: 

  • M-RETS Develops First Hourly Renewable Energy Certificate Retirement
  • FERC Approves SAA Between New Jersey BPU and PJM for Offshore Wind Transmission
  • Major Southern Utility Plans to Close Coal Facilities by 2030 
  • Siemens Energy Details Use for DOE Hydrogen Funding Grant
  • Malta Inc. Closes on Series B Funding for Long-duration Thermal Storage

What a Clean Future Means For Maritime

By: Brody GarlandCliff L. RothensteinLaurie B. PurpuroDarrell L. ConnerMark Ruge, and Elle M. Stuart

As the Biden Administration finds its stride in the first 100 days, we are starting to see movement on several of its key priorities. Chief among them: pivoting to a clean energy economy. A campaign that promised investments of up to $2 trillion in alternative energy saw progress this week, as House Democrats, led by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Rush (D-IL), announced a down payment on those hopes with the introduction of the CLEAN Future Act. In our previous K&L Gates alert from January, our team discussed how the U.S. maritime industry should expect the issues of clean energy investment and climate resiliency to rise to the very top of the White House’s legislative agenda. This week’s rollout of the CLEAN Future Act further confirms the importance of these priorities, and the far-reaching implications of the reforms offered for the transportation and maritime sectors.

Case Notes: Brazos Electric’s Bankruptcy Filing

By: Michael B. Lubic and Sumner C. Fontaine

On 1 March 2021, Brazos Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (“Brazos”) commenced a chapter 11 bankruptcy case in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. Brazos is a Texas-based non-profit electric cooperative corporation that provides wholesale electricity to its members, which, in turn, provide retail electricity to Texas consumers.  Due to the freezing of essential electric generation and natural gas pipeline equipment during the historic winter storm that blanketed Texas in mid-February 2021 and the resulting spike in wholesale electricity prices, Brazos received approximately $2.1 billion in settlement charge invoices from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”).  These invoices, promptly issued during and immediately following the storm, required payment within a matter of days.  In a declaration accompanying the voluntary bankruptcy petition, Mr. Clifton Karnei, Brazos’ Executive Vice President and General Manager, described Brazos’ position following the sudden, dramatic spike in electricity costs as a “liquidity trap that [Brazos] cannot solve with its current balance sheet.” 

Brazos’ first-day pleadings explain that its financial position and need for bankruptcy protection directly result from the effects of February’s winter storm on Texas’ electricity market, specifically on the relationship between Brazos and ERCOT. ERCOT serves a clearinghouse role in one of Texas’ three main energy grids, the Texas Interconnection, which covers 213 of the 254 counties in the state, and is responsible for procuring energy on behalf of its members while also administering the reliable operation of the wholesale electricity market.  To buy and sell wholesale electricity, as Brazos does, ERCOT requires market participants to have sufficient available credit (calculated using a metric based on the participant’s credit limit plus a percentage of tangible net worth, among other factors) to support such participant’s total exposure.  The effects of February’s winter storm on the Texas power grid caused prices to spike to $9,000 per megawatt-hour. The cut-off cap was set on 16 February by ERCOT as demand soared while the state’s electricity supply declined.  For comparison, ERCOT’s monthly prices for wholesale electricity from November 2020 through January 2021 ranged between $21 to $29 per megawatt-hour.  On 16 February, and each of the succeeding three days, ERCOT made collateral calls to Brazos for hundreds of millions of dollars each day, for a total of approximately $1.5 billion in collateral calls.  Brazos filed a notice of force majeure on 25 February, informing ERCOT that it would not satisfy the invoices due to an event outside of Brazos’ reasonable control.  Brazos filed for bankruptcy protection less than one week later.

As of the petition date, Brazos estimates the total principal amount of its funded debt obligations to be approximately $2.04 billion, with $1.81 billion of such debt being secured promissory notes financed through the Federal Financing Bank.  Brazos has fully drawn its $500 million unsecured revolving facility with Bank of America, N.A. and other lenders.  Mr. Karnei states that Brazos’ goals in commencing the chapter 11 case are to preserve its ongoing business operations and propose a reorganization plan to maximize creditors’ recovery.  The first day hearing in front of Judge David Jones is scheduled for 3 March at 2:00 p.m. (EST).

The Energizer – Volume 84

By: Buck B. Endemann, Daniel S. Cohen, Molly K. Barker, Olivia B. Mora, Natalie J. Reid, Matthew P. Clark, Nathan C. Howe, Orethu Manu

A biweekly update on clean technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the renewable energy and clean transport sectors.

There is a lot of buzz around clean technology, distributed energy resources (DERs), microgrids, and other technological innovations in renewable energy and clean transport industries, and how these developments can contribute to solving longstanding environmental justice issues. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumers and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy industry forward.

IN THIS ISSUE: 

  • New GREEN Act Could Extend and Create New Credits for Renewable Energy, Energy Storage, Carbon Capture, and Electric Vehicles
  • Eight California Community Choice Aggregators Form Joint Powers Authority
  • Southeastern U.S. Utilities Request Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Approval for Energy Exchange
  • Green Hydrogen Joint Venture in Iberia Will Help Meet the European Union’s Carbon Goals  

The Energizer – Volume 83

By: Buck B. Endemann, Daniel S. Cohen, Molly K. Barker, Olivia B. Mora, Natalie J. Reid, Matthew P. Clark

A biweekly update on clean technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the renewable energy and clean transport sector.

There is a lot of buzz around clean technology, distributed energy resources (DERs), microgrids, and other technological innovations in renewable energy and clean transport industries. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumers and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer highlights emerging issues or stories relating to the use of DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy industry forward. The Energizer also highlights important developments in environmental justice initiatives.

IN THIS ISSUE: 

  • Southwest Power Pool Grows Energy Markets Expanding Renewable Trading
  • Carbon Engineering and 1PointFive Are Developing a Direct Air Capture Facility
  • New Jersey to Install $166 Million Electrical Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
  • Boston Set to Launch its Community Choice Electricity Program
  • Wave Energy Technology Receives Substantial Funding

Washington State Legislature Considers First of Its Kind State-Level Natural Gas Ban

By: David Benson, Buck Endemann, Elizabeth Thomas, Sandra Safro, and Benjamin Mayer

Fossil-based natural gas may be headed for a reckoning, at least in Washington State. Not long ago, natural gas was seen by many as the key “bridge fuel” necessary to transition our society away from oil and coal. Natural gas has its upsides; most significantly, it burns more efficiently and emits fewer pollutants than coal.1 Yet burning natural gas still emits greenhouse gases (GHG), including methane, a potent climate pollutant. According to EPA, methane accounts for approximately 10% of the GHG emissions in the United States.2 That is a problem for states like Washington that have called for zero carbon emissions in the power sector by 2045 and have also enacted laws aimed at reducing GHG emissions throughout other sectors.

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D.C. Circuit Vacates Trump’s ACE Rule and Deals Biden’s EPA New Hand for Regulating Power Plant Greenhouse Gas Emissions

U.S. Public Policy and Law Alert

By: David J. Raphael, Sandra E. Safro, Cliff L. Rothenstein, Dean Brower

On 19 January 2021, the eve of inauguration for the Biden Administration, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) struck down the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE Rule). Issued under the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the ACE Rule repealed and replaced the formerly enacted Clean Power Plan (CPP) and sought to establish a more narrowly defined framework for the regulation of power plant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As a premise for the ACE Rule, the Trump EPA argued that Section 111 of the Clean Air Act (CAA), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 7411, contains clear and unambiguous language limiting the EPA’s emission reduction measures to improvements “at” and “to” existing GHG emissions sources. However, the D.C. Circuit held that the CAA does not require the EPA to confine its GHG regulation in this way and, in fact, that the Trump EPA’s interpretation under the ACE Rule constituted a “fundamental misconstruction” of the statute. The D.C. Circuit also found that the ACE Rule’s extended compliance deadline requirements were arbitrary and capricious insofar as they relaxed the schedules for federal action and state compliance under Section 7411(d). The D.C. Circuit’s decision clears the way for the Biden EPA to establish a new regulatory framework for power plant GHG emissions.

The Energizer – Volume 82

By: Buck B. Endemann, Daniel S. Cohen, Molly K. Barker, Olivia B. Mora, Natalie J. Reid, Matthew P. Clark

A biweekly update on clean technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the renewable energy and clean transport sector.

There is a lot of buzz around cleantech, distributed energy resources (DERs), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the renewable energy and clean transport industries. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumer and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy and clean transportation industries forward.

IN THIS ISSUE: 

  • Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative to Develop Solar + Pumped Storage Hydrogen Project
  • New York Announces the Largest U.S. Award for Offshore Wind Contracts
  • Hydro-Québec Invests in New Electrolysis Plant
  • StoreDot to Provide Samples of Fast-Charging EV Battery

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