Archive: 2022

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California Passes Suite of New Climate Bills Aimed at Reducing Emissions, Stimulating Carbon Capture, and Implementing Buffers
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WELCOME TO THE TAX CREDIT REVOLUTION: NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE ENERGY INDUSTRY IN THE INFLATION REDUCTION ACT
3
Ensuring Energy Security Section in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022
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THE ENERGIZER – VOLUME 105
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The Energizer – Volume 104
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Lessons To Be Learned from FERC’s Investigation of a New Power Project’s Participation in the New England Capacity Market
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Carbon Quarterly – Volume 6
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The Energizer – Volume 103
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The Energizer – Volume 102
10
Declaration Of Emergency And Authorization For Temporary Extensions Of Time And Duty-Free Importation Of Solar Cells And Modules From SE Asia

California Passes Suite of New Climate Bills Aimed at Reducing Emissions, Stimulating Carbon Capture, and Implementing Buffers

By: David Wang, Elizabeth C. Crouse, Buck B. Endemann

On August 31, 2022—the last day of the 2022 legislative session—California legislators passed a package of climate bills aimed at reducing statewide emissions, stimulating the carbon capture industry, and implementing buffers between communities and oil and gas developments. The bills include $54 billion in climate-related spending and come on the heels of other state and federal efforts to reduce carbon emissions across many sectors of the economy.

The package contains the following bills:

  • AB 1279, which codifies California’s existing goal of carbon neutrality by 2045.
  • AB 1757, which requires the state Natural Resources Agency to establish targets for natural carbon sequestration and nature-based climate solutions.
  • SB 846, which authorizes the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant to continue operations until December 31, 2030, and provides Pacific Gas & Electric Company (“PG&E,” the plant’s operator) with a $1.4 billion loan to help facilitate those operations.  While Diablo Canyon was originally going to be retired by 2025, many saw Diablo Canyon’s 2,256 MW as critical for providing carbon-free power during the afternoon and evening ramp.
  • SB 905, which directs the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) to establish a program to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and viability of carbon capture, utilization, or storage (“CCUS”) and carbon removal technologies. The bill also requires CARB to adopt various regulations governing CCUS and carbon removal projects, including a unified permit application for such projects and measures to minimize leakage from carbon storage reservoirs.
  • SB 1020, which sets interim targets regarding retail sales of electricity. Current law requires 100 percent of all energy sales to California end-use customers to be supplied by eligible renewable energy sources or zero-carbon resources by 2045.  SB 1020 sets interim targets of 90 percent by 2035 and 95 percent by 2040. SB 1020 also requires state agencies to source 100 percent of their energy from eligible renewable or zero-carbon resources by 2035—ten years earlier than the current target.
  • SB 1137, which establishes 3,200-foot buffer zones between oil and gas facilities or wells with a wellhead and facilities that qualify as “sensitive receptors,” including private homes, schools, community centers, nursing homes, hospitals, and prisons.

Legislators failed to pass AB 2133, which would have made stricter California’s emissions reduction goals (raising from 40 percent to 55 percent the reduction below the state’s 1990 emissions levels that California would have to meet by 2030).

Each bill now goes to Governor Gavin Newsom to sign by September 30, 2022, which he is expected to do after publicly advocating for them earlier in August. The California legislature’s actions come several days after CARB announced a new rule that would require by 2035 all new cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in the state to be greenhouse gas emission-free. These state-level efforts complement recent federal efforts to catalyze and develop a low-emissions energy economy, notably the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (“IIJA,” or Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which included $47.2 billion for improving climate resilience) and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (“IRA,” which included $369 billion in climate-related spending, tax credits, and incentives). These initiatives represent a concerted effort on both the federal and state level to rapidly shift the economy towards low-emissions energy sources, and consequently provide ample opportunities for new investment opportunities, financing structures, and stakeholders.

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WELCOME TO THE TAX CREDIT REVOLUTION: NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE ENERGY INDUSTRY IN THE INFLATION REDUCTION ACT

By: Elizabeth C. CrouseElias B. HinckleyMary Burke BakerLaurie B. Purpuro

On 16 August 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA). While not as expansive as the Build Back Better Act, the IRA has the potential to dramatically accelerate the energy transition in the United States. Features of the IRA include extensions and tweaks of several popular credits for renewable electricity, alternative fuel vehicles, and carbon capture, as well as numerous new renewable energy and fuels credits and a fundamental pivot after 2024 to renewable electricity credits based on greenhouse gas emissions of generation technology. In addition, new credits for manufacturing and recycling related to the renewable energy sector may help drive increased investment in American manufacturing. Further, the new direct pay and transferability techniques create opportunities for new financing structures and stakeholders. 

To help our clients understand and benefit from these new tax credits, we have prepared a high-level summary for several key technologies, primarily in a commercial context.

Ensuring Energy Security Section in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022

By Laurie B. Purpuro

On 27 July, Senators Manchin and Schumer announced a deal on the successor to the Build Back Better Act, which is expected to pass in the Senate on Saturday (6 August 2022) and the House the following Friday. This new legislation, called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, includes US$370 billion in programs and tax credits to boost renewable energy production in the United States. 

That said, page 644 of the draft includes language that ties federal solar, wind and offshore wind development to federal lease sales for oil and gas. 

The Details

The section of the bill titled “Ensuring Energy Security” prohibits the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from issuing rights-of-way (ROW) for wind or solar development on federal land unless an onshore oil and gas lease sale has occurred within 120 days before the wind or solar lease issuance. In addition, these wind and solar ROWs would not be allowed unless, in the previous year, BLM completed onshore oil and gas lease sales covering 2,000,000 acres or 50% of the acreage in which interested parties have expressed interest, whichever is lower. (Note: Wind and solar projects that impact federal land are authorized by ROWs.)

Offshore wind (OSW) is similarly impacted by this provision, as it prohibits the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) from issuing an OSW lease unless an oil and gas offshore lease sale of at least 60 million acres is held during the year before the OSW lease issuance.

The Impact

This section of the agreement is intended to force the Biden Administration to restart the regularly scheduled oil and gas lease sales that it has been cancelling since 2021, while at the same time allowing the Biden Administration to conduct fewer annual oil and gas lease sales than currently required.   

The Mineral Leasing Act requires four onshore oil and gas leases per year; the language in this bill requires three onshore oil and gas leases per year, as a prerequisite to solar and wind development on federal land. BOEM offshore oil and gas five-year leasing programs require two offshore oil and gas lease sales in most years; this bill requires one sale per year, in order to allow solar and wind development on federal land. 

Furthermore, the acreage requirements for oil and gas sales outlined in the bill are in line with previous sales. And for the onshore oil and gas lease sales, just in case BLM falls shore of the 2,000,000 acre requirement, they can sell leases for 50% of the acreage that parties are interested in.

The Compromise

This Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is a compromise forged by Senate Democrats with the slimmest of majorities. The Ensuring Energy Security section is Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Joe Manchin’s way of requiring an all of the above energy policy for the country.

THE ENERGIZER – VOLUME 105

By: Buck B. EndemannMolly K. BarkerMatthew P. ClarkNathan C. HoweNatalie J. ReidMaeve C. TibbettsDavid Wang

There is a lot of buzz around clean technology, distributed energy resources (DERs), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the 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

  • Department of Energy Announces Funding for Solar Manufacturing and Recycling Innovation Projects
  • Oneida Nation Reservation Receives Federal Grant for Renewable Energy
  • GKN Hydrogen and SoCalGas Collaborate with U.S. Department of Energy on Green Hydrogen Storage

The Energizer – Volume 104

By: Buck B. EndemannMolly K. BarkerMatthew P. ClarkNathan C. HoweNatalie J. ReidMaeve C. TibbettsDavid Wang

There is a lot of buzz around clean technology, distributed energy resources (DERs), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the 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. To subscribe to The Energizer newsletter, please click here.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Federal Highway Administration Proposes Minimum Standards and Requirements for Federally-Funded Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
  • Department of Energy Offers Funding to Combat Climate Change Impacts to Grid System
  • Colorado’s Transition from Coal is Several Years Ahead of Schedule

Lessons To Be Learned from FERC’s Investigation of a New Power Project’s Participation in the New England Capacity Market

By: Ruta K. SkucasKimberly B. FrankJennifer L. Mersing

On 28 June 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order approving a Stipulation and Consent Agreement stemming from an enforcement investigation with Salem Harbor Power Development, LP (Salem Harbor or DevCo) in Docket No. IN18-18. Around a week prior to FERC issuing its Order, grid operator ISO New England, Inc. (ISO-NE) issued a notice to the market regarding the forthcoming settlement, then issued a second statement shortly thereafter. FERC’s Order, and any related forthcoming settlements, illustrate the consequence of failing to exercise the diligence necessary to ensure the accuracy of information reported by a market participant to an independent system operator/regional transmission organization (ISO/RTO), and sends a strong signal regarding the amount of discretion that ISO/RTO staff may exercise in implementing the market rules of its organization’s tariff.

For more information, please contact our Energy Infrastructure and Resources lawyers or visit our practice page.

Carbon Quarterly – Volume 6

By: Ankur K. TohanMolly K. BarkerTad J. MacfarlanSamuel R. BodenDavid J. RaphaelMatthew P. ClarkAlyssa A. MoirMelissa M. MalstromLaurie B. PurpuroBrianna K. Marshall

No matter your views on climate change policy, there is no avoiding an increasing focus on carbon regulation, resiliency planning, and energy efficiency at nearly every level of government and business. Changes in carbon—and more broadly greenhouse gas—policies have the potential to broadly impact our lives and livelihoods. The Carbon Quarterly offers a rundown of the latest developments.

IN THIS ISSUE:  

Carbon Policy

  • The 2023 Farm Bill and the Growing Climate Solutions Act

Carbon Litigation and Regulation

  • Supreme Court Advances Major Questions Doctrine and Limits EPA’s Authority to Regulate Power Plant Carbon Emissions
  • The Courts Again Allow Agencies to Weigh Carbon
  • USDA to Invest US$1 Billion in Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry

Carbon Business

  • Continuing Carbon Offset Opportunities in Agriculture and Forestry

Carbon Spotlight

  • Weyerhaeuser’s Climate Change Solutions

The Energizer – Volume 103

By: Buck B. EndemannMolly K. BarkerMatthew P. ClarkNathan C. HoweNatalie J. ReidMaeve C. TibbettsDavid Wang

There is a lot of buzz around clean technology, distributed energy resources (DERs), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the 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

  • FERC Initiates Rulemaking Aimed at Helping New Electric Generation Facilities Connect to the Grid
  • FERC Announces Two Proposed Rules Aimed at Improving Power System Resiliency against Extreme Weather
  • The U.S. Department of Energy Awards US$57.9 Million to Clean Energy and Emissions Reduction Projects Targeting Manufacturing Sector

The Energizer – Volume 102

By: Buck B. EndemannMolly K. BarkerMatthew P. ClarkNathan C. HoweNatalie J. ReidMaeve C. TibbettsDavid Wang

There is a lot of buzz around clean technology, distributed energy resources (DERs), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the 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

  • Department of Energy Announces the Creation of the Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange.
  • New Legislation Expands New York Power Authority’s Ability to Purchase, Construct, and Operate Renewable Energy Projects.
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory Develops Affordable Pathway for Hydrogen Generation.

Declaration Of Emergency And Authorization For Temporary Extensions Of Time And Duty-Free Importation Of Solar Cells And Modules From SE Asia

By Stacy J. Ettinger

On June 6, 2022, President Biden issued a declaration of emergency and authorization for temporary extensions of time and duty-free importation of solar cells and modules from SE Asia under 19 USC 1318(a). The basis for the declaration of emergency is the need to ensure electric resource adequacy and address the unavailability of solar cells and modules that is jeopardizing new, planned solar installations.

In short, there is an emergency because the US is unable to import solar modules in sufficient quantities to ensure solar capacity additions necessary to achieve US climate and clean energy goals, ensure electricity grid resource adequacy, and help combat rising energy price.

Statutory authority. The statutory authority cited in the declaration (19 USC 1318(a)) is a catch-all provision that allows the president to authorize CBP to permit duty free entry of certain items if the president declares the existence of an emergency.

Specifically, the statute provides for “the importation free of duty of food, clothing, and medical, surgical, and other supplies for use in emergency relief work.” Expect arguments from stakeholders that solar products don’t fit within the list, but this law is about as good as gets if you want to find a way to stop the application of antidumping and/or countervailing duties (“ADCVDs”).

Here’s how this is going to work—

New Commerce regulation. Commerce likely will publish an interim final regulation – before the date of the preliminary determination in the solar circumvention proceedings – that will allow Commerce to instruct CBP to not collect duties on cells/modules from the four SE Asian countries for a period of 24 months (starting from the date of the proclamation). The new regulation will not apply to the current ADCVDs on imports of Chinese or Taiwanese solar cells/modules.

Current regulations (19 CFR Part 358) set forth the procedures for importation of supplies for use in emergency relief work free of ADCVDs, as authorized under 19 USC 1318(a). These regulations were published in 2006 (71 FR 63230 (October 30, 2006)). 

Commerce will continue with the circumvention inquiries. Commerce officials put out a press release on June 6 clarifying that the agency will continue the ongoing circumvention inquiries. The release states that “whatever conclusion Commerce reaches when the [circumvention] investigation concludes will apply once this short-term emergency period [24 months] is over. In accordance with the President’s declaration, no solar cells or modules imported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam will be subject to new antidumping or countervailing duties during the period of the emergency. Existing duties on Chinese and Taiwanese imports of solar cells and modules remain in effect.”

Commerce could still go negative at the prelim or final. Commerce is proceeding with the circumvention inquiries related to imports of cells/modules from the four SE Asian countries. Commerce’s preliminary determination is due no later than August 29, 2022; Commerce’s final determination is due by January 26, 2023. Commerce could still issue a negative determination at the prelim or final stage of the circumvention inquiries.

What happens if Commerce goes affirmative? If Commerce goes affirmative, per its regulations it must direct CBP to suspend liquidation and require a cash deposit of estimated duties. Pursuant to the emergency declaration and new regulation, Commerce would have the authority to not follow its regulations. In other words, Commerce would instruct CBP to not suspend liquidation or collect cash deposits for imports of solar cells/modules from the four SE Asian countries.

What could go wrong with this plan? Possible risk is that an interested party to the circumvention inquiries (such as the domestic manufacturer that requested the inquiries) will sue on the new regulation and/or Commerce’s application of the current regulation (19 CFR Part 358), arguing duty free treatment of solar cells/modules is beyond the scope of products covered under the statute (19 USC 1318(a)). The litigation could take at least a couple years to play out.

If the plaintiff were to prevail (and assuming an affirmative final regarding circumvention), suspension of liquidation and estimated duty payments would kick in. It is unclear whether suspension/duty payments would be retroactive (ie, to date of affirmative preliminary determination) or prospective (eg, from the effective date of the final court decision). The latter seems more likely.

The bottom line. Implementation of the Declaration should provide a two year window during which developers and other solar system providers should be able to import panels from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam without the risk of retroactive tariffs.

Relevant documents

Declaration of Emergency and Authorization for Temporary Extensions of Time and Duty-Free Importation of Solar Cells and Modules from Southeast Asia | The White House

FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Bold Executive Action to Spur Domestic Clean Energy Manufacturing | The White House

President Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Accelerate Domestic Manufacturing of Clean Energy | Department of Energy

Department of Commerce Statement on President Biden’s Proclamation on Solar Cells and Modules | U.S. Department of Commerce

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