Category: Renewables

1
The Energizer – Volume 46
2
ReNEWS Southeast – Volume 1
3
The Energizer – Volume 44
4
DEMOCRATS INTRODUCE TECHNOLOGY-NEUTRAL ENERGY BILL: Clean Energy for America Act
5
FERC Grants Waivers to Exempt Solar Aggregator from Certain QF Requirements
6
Offshore Wind Farms Are Spinning Up in the US—At Last
7
K&L Gates’ Energy Storage Handbook
8
Next Massachusetts Offshore Wind Solicitation Ready for DPU Review
9
Join Us for LSI’s Energy Storage Conference on June 13 & 14 In Seattle, WA
10
Integrating Renewables and Storage: Key Issues

The Energizer – Volume 46

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

By: Buck B. EndemannBenjamin L. TejblumDaniel S. CohenToks A. ArowojoluOlivia B. MoraAbraham F. Johns

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the energy industry. 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 blockchain technology, DERs, and other innovations driving the energy industry forward. To subscribe to the Energizer, please click here.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • United States to Become the Largest Grid-Connected Energy Storage Market in the World
  • Utah Storage Project to Be Largest Renewable Storage Project in the United States
  • Texas Legislature Passes Three Grid-Protection Bills
  • Lyft Offers EV Drivers Free Charging In Portland
  • Toyota Explores Blockchain P2P Trading in Japan

To view more information on these topics in Volume 46, click here.

ReNEWS Southeast – Volume 1

K&L Gates reports on the latest renewable energy policies and activities in the southeastern United States

By Kenneth J. Gish, William M. Keyser, Abraham F. Johns, Olivia B. Mora, and Laura B. Truesdale

Welcome to the inaugural edition of ReNEWS Southeast!

K&L Gates’ ReNEWS Southeast is a periodic bulletin that will track key developments in renewable energy policy, activities, and technologies that are driving the industry forward.

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Southeastern States See Large Year-Over-Year Increase in Renewable Output
  • Florida PSC Approves TECO Solar Tariff
  • Installation Set to Begin on United States’ Second Offshore Wind Project
  • Large Solar Farm Set to Open in South Carolina
  • Offshore Wind Turbine Components Could Eventually Be Manufactured in North Carolina
  • North Carolina Allows Duke Energy to Implement Cutting-Edge Microgrid Project, and State Receives Large Commitment of Solar Farm From Novo Nordisk
  • South Carolina Solar Law Eliminates 2% Net Metering Cap Along With Other Solar Advancements
  • Power Is on at Tennessee’s Largest Solar Development

To view more information on these topics in Volume 1 of ReNEWS Southeast, click here.

The Energizer – Volume 44

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

By: Buck B. EndemannBenjamin L. TejblumDaniel S. CohenToks A. ArowojoluOlivia B. MoraAbraham F. Johns

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the energy industry. 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 blockchain technology, DERs, and other innovations driving the energy industry forward.

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DEMOCRATS INTRODUCE TECHNOLOGY-NEUTRAL ENERGY BILL: Clean Energy for America Act

By Mary Burke Baker

SFC ranking member Wyden and 25 other Democrats (including minority leader Schumer) introduced tech-neutral energy legislation this week.  The bill includes energy storage provisions.  Following is a summary followed by summaries pertaining to energy storage. The legislation would consolidate 44 energy incentives into three tech-neutral provisions to promote energy independence and a low-carbon economy.  All of the original co-sponsors are Democrats.  The roll out of the legislation was accompanied by supporting statements from about a dozen supporting organizations.

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FERC Grants Waivers to Exempt Solar Aggregator from Certain QF Requirements

By William M. Keyser and Toks A. Arowojolu

On April 18, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued an order granting a petition for declaratory order filed by Sunrun, Inc. (“Sunrun”) that exempted Sunrun, the nation’s largest residential solar company, from certain qualifying facility (“QF”) filing requirements under the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) and the Public Utilities Holding Company Act (“PUHCA”). The requested waiver would allow Sunrun to avoid significant administrative and regulatory burdens by avoiding potentially hundreds of QF filings as it increases the number of photovoltaic (“PV”) systems it owns on behalf of its customers.

QFs have the right to sell energy or capacity to a utility at an avoided cost rate and receive relief from certain regulatory burdens. To qualify as a QF, eligible facilities (including solar facilities) with power production capacity of greater than 1 MW (1000 kW) must certify their status with the Commission by either submitting a Form 556 self-certification or filing an application. Facilities with net power production of 1 MW or less are exempt from this filing requirement. When determining the size of a QF, FERC applies a “one-mile rule.” Under the “one-mile” rule, QFs located within a mile of another facility that use the same energy source and have the same owner are considered one QF for purposes of determining whether the QF surpasses the 80MW requirement for QF eligibility. FERC also applies the one-mile rule to determine whether a QF is 1 MW or less and therefore exempt from the QF certification filing requirement.

The one-mile rule carries potential consequences for developers of small and distributed rooftop solar systems like Sunrun, particularly when they retain ownership over the individual systems. According to the petition, Sunrun’s customers can choose to have Sunrun finance the PV system with Sunrun initially retaining ownership and continuing to monitor, maintain, and insure the system. Under Sunrun’s system, the homeowner is granted an option to buy the PV system later.

Sunrun filed its petition in September 2018 requesting waivers of two QF certification requirements to support its business model of selling, owning, and maintaining residential solar PV systems. First, Sunrun requested a waiver of the QF certification filing requirement for separately interconnected, individual residential rooftop solar PV systems with a maximum net power production of 20 kw or less that Sunrun provides financing for but which the homeowner has an option to purchase. Because Sunrun could conceivably finance or own many such 20 kW systems within one-mile radius, it would be possible for all such 20 kW systems to aggregate to over 1 MW and trigger QF certification filing requirement. Second, Sunrun also requested that, in a self-certification submitted for a cluster of rooftop PV systems that exceed 20 kW, FERC waive the requirement to include information for the facilities covered by the first waiver request (i.e., 20 kW or less).

Sunrun explained to FERC that its concerns were two fold: (1) while 99.5% of the residential PV systems that Sunrun owns have a nameplate capacity below 20kW, PV systems within close proximity to one another can collectively be deemed to be one QF under the one-mile rule, and (2) without the waivers, Sunrun would have to “monitor the geographic concentration of its PV systems” and file and continuously update a highly burdensome number of filings. With Sunrun’s 202,000 PV systems spread across 22 states, numerous applications would be expected.

FERC granted the requested waivers, finding that Sunrun’s request aligned with the purpose of the 1MW exemption which is “to ease the administrative burden for both the Commission and small scale QFs.” FERC also directed Sunrun to maintain sufficient records of the residential PV portfolio that it owns through “third-party financing arrangements” to ensure that its aggregated solar resources are in compliance with other federal regulations. FERC’s ruling could provide an opportunity for Sunrun and other rooftop solar aggregators to sell solar power into the wholesale markets. However, despite the easing of the administrative and regulatory burden at FERC, solar aggregators are still subject to a host of interconnection and state regulatory requirements that would also need to be addressed. We will continue to monitor the developments of this proceeding and its impacts on the solar PV and wholesale markets.

Offshore Wind Farms Are Spinning Up in the US—At Last

By Eric Niller of Wired

On June 1, 2019 the Pilgrim nuclear plant in Massachusetts will shut down, a victim of rising costs and a technology that is struggling to remain economically viable in the United States. But the electricity generated by the aging nuclear station soon will be replaced by another carbon-free source: a fleet of 84 offshore wind turbines rising nearly 650 feet above the ocean’s surface.

In this article from Wired, K&L Gates partner and Practice Group Coordinator for power David Hattery discusses how in recent years, wind turbines and their technologies have become more palatable, and therefore are more accessible, to communities. Because of this, turbines are able to generate more power than ever.

Click here to read the full article.

K&L Gates’ Energy Storage Handbook

Version 4.0 Now Available!

As a courtesy to our clients and friends, the K&L Gates Power practice has updated the Energy Storage Handbook.

This Energy Storage Handbook (Handbook) is designed to be a basic primer on what energy storage is, how it is regulated by federal and state governments, and what sorts of issues are encountered when such projects are financed and developed. While this Handbook is not meant to be a definitive catalog of every energy storage law and issue existing in today’s marketplace, we have endeavored to highlight the most common regulatory and development issues faced by our clients and the industries that we serve. We anticipate continuing to update this Handbook as additional states and stakeholders continue to address the implementation of energy storage resources in the marketplace.

We hope you find it useful and welcome your feedback.

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Next Massachusetts Offshore Wind Solicitation Ready for DPU Review

By Elizabeth C. Crouse and Michael L. O’Neill

On March 27, 2019, Massachusetts’s three electric utilities submitted a draft of their second offshore wind request for proposals (“RFP”) to the state’s Department of Public Utilities (“DPU”) for review and comment. This second solicitation is a follow-up to the initial RFP under Section 83C of Massachusetts’s 2016 renewable energy mandate that directs its utilities to procure 1,600 megawatts (“MW”) of offshore wind nameplate capacity by June 2027.

The initial solicitation in 2017 resulted in the selection of the Vineyard Wind project to enter negotiations with the utilities. The utilities executed power purchase agreements (“PPAs”) totaling 800 MW of offshore wind capacity with Vineyard Wind. DPU is reviewing those PPAs currently. [1]

Even though DPU has not approved the PPAs for the initial solicitation yet, the utilities have moved forward with the second solicitation because Massachusetts law requires that the second solicitation be issued within 24 months of the first solicitation. The second solicitation contemplates procurement of at least 400 MW of offshore wind capacity, although the utilities will consider proposals ranging between 200-800 MW of capacity. According to this draft RFP, the utilities will consider a larger project proposal if it is “likely to produce more economic net benefits to customers based on the evaluation criteria in the RFP.”

Some of the key bidding requirements and evaluation criteria include:

  • Each bidder must be in possession of development rights for offshore wind generation in a designated federal wind energy area (not closer than 10 miles from an inhabited area) as leased after January 1, 2012;
  • Each bidder must submit at least one bid of a 400 MW project, or explain why it cannot, and can submit its projects in up to two phases;
  • Each bidder must propose a generator lead transmission line;
  • Each proposal for the energy generation and/or associated renewable energy certificates must be less than $84.23 per MW-hour on a nominal levelized basis as calculated based on the first solicitation; and
  • Proposals will be evaluated on direct contract prices and other costs and benefits, including:
    • Direct benefits of any applicable energy storage systems,
    • Impacts on Massachusetts’s greenhouse gas emission rates,
    • Specific investments in supply chain infrastructure, port facilities, workforce and the Offshore Wind Accelerator Fund, and
    • Demonstrated direct benefits to low-income ratepayers.

As proposed, the utilities plan to issue the RFP on May 17, 2019, and expect to receive confidential proposals by August 9, 2019 (with public redacted versions due by August 16, 2019). The utilities plan to select the winner(s) by November 8, 2019, and finalize the PPAs for DPU approval by January 10, 2020.

In comments on the second Section 83C solicitation, several wind developers raised concerns that a timeline that does not permit developers to demonstrate a construction start by the end of 2019 imperils the developers’ ability to qualify for the 12% federal investment tax credit (“ITC”). The production and investment tax credits are currently phasing out for wind, but wind projects that begin construction in accordance with IRS guidance in 2019 may still qualify for the credits at a reduced rate, specifically a 12% ITC or 40% of the maximum production tax credit rate applicable to electricity produced in a relevant year. Many of the commenters indicate that the 12% ITC is more valuable to their projects.

Although the utilities propose to select the winning bidder(s) before the end of 2019, the timeline in the solicitation does not suggest that the utilities and the winners will execute their PPAs and submit them for DPU approval by 2020. Any activity that the developers undertake to begin construction in 2019 based on the unapproved PPA may expose them to the risk that DPU will reject or modify the PPA after a developer has made some expenditures towards the project.

[1] See Offshore Wind Handbook, K&L GATES LLP AND SNC LAVALIN at 19 (2018), http://www.klgates.com/files/Upload/2018-08_OG_Offshore-Wind-brochure.pdf.

Join Us for LSI’s Energy Storage Conference on June 13 & 14 In Seattle, WA

K&L Gates is pleased to participate in Law Seminars International’s upcoming Energy Storage Conference.  K&L Gates’ Portland partner, Bill Holmes, will act as event Co-Chair and Washington DC partner William Keyser will present on “Federal level: FERC Order 841 implementation and other developments in Congress, at the FERC, and at the DOE.”

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Integrating Renewables and Storage: Key Issues

American Bar Association – Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources Telephonic Program Call

Register here.

As the importance of renewable energy in the power generation mix grows, there are an increasing number of contexts in which its deployment in conjunction with storage will enhance the number and character of services, the potential number of active parties, and the possibilities for enhancement of distributed energy applications. Major issues related to the exercise of federal and state jurisdiction under existing and proposed laws have arisen, which will be of increasing importance as the capabilities of storage technology management and the possibilities for its integration with renewable energy resources continues to accelerate. This program will highlight three key areas currently illustrative of this point: federal and state initiatives to encourage energy storage; RTO implementation of FERC order no. 841: energy storage development issues; the challenges and opportunities for utilities presented by energy storage integration.

Moderators:
Roger Feldman, Co-Chair, SEER Renewable, Alternative, and Distributed Energy Resources Committee
Aaron Levine, Co-Chair, SEER Renewable, Alternative, and Distributed Energy Resources Committee

Speakers:
Judy Chang, Principal, The Brattle Group
Joy Ditto, President and CEO, Utilities Technology Council (UTC)
Bill Holmes, Partner, K&L Gates

Sponsoring SEER Committees: the Renewable, Alternative, and Distributed Energy Resources Committee, the Energy Infrastructure, Siting, and Reliability Committee, the Energy Markets and Finance Committee, and the Science and Technology Committee

Register here!

You must pre-register to participate.

Registrants may include members of co-sponsoring Section Committees, other Section members, and others who are not currently Section members. Upon registration, you will receive more detailed information about the location and dial-in information.
This program will not offer CLE.

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