In August Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark climate and clean energy bill. Six months later, we’re asking: where are we now?Read More
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 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.
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.
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.
U.S. Offshore Wind Handbook Helps Navigate Technical and Regulatory Issues
We are pleased to announce the release of the 2022 edition of the Offshore Wind Handbook, a collaboration between K&L Gates, Mainstream Renewable Power, and Kent plc., written to help guide investors and new market entrants through technical and regulatory issues in a fast-paced developing U.S. offshore wind market.
To view the 2022 Offshore Wind Handbook, click here.
U.S. Energy, Infrastructure, and Resources Alert
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold its next offshore wind lease auction on 11 May 2022, for two lease areas in the Carolina Long Bay. The lease areas comprise 110,091 acres off the coast of North and South Carolina. The auction date will occur weeks ahead of a 10-year moratorium on offshore energy leases imposed in 2020 by the Trump administration prohibiting auctions of leases for wind, in addition to oil and gas, off the coasts of North and South Carolina beginning on 1 July 2022.
U.S. Energy, Infrastructure, and Resources and Environment, Land, and Natural Resources Alert
The flurry of offshore wind activity off the U.S. Eastern Seaboard continues, as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced recently it will hold an auction on 23 February 2022, to lease six new areas for offshore wind development in the New York Bight. The six lease areas will be located off the coasts of New York and New Jersey and will comprise 488,201 total acres. Such acreage should be sufficient to develop an estimated 5.6 gigawatts (GWs) of new offshore wind capacity, enough to power nearly two million homes. The six new lease areas will add to the 18 existing lease areas for offshore wind development that currently exist off the U.S. East Coast. This new lease sale combined with other recent BOEM developments exemplifies the Biden Administration’s commitment to the development of offshore wind resources in the United States.
The U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA), the national trade association for the American energy storage industry, will recognize K&L Gates with the Brad Roberts Outstanding Industry Achievement Award at the 2020 ESA Annual Awards taking place during the association’s virtual conference next week.
The award recognizes K&L Gates for “its tremendous contributions that have advanced the industry forward including nurturing early storage developers, hosting an annual conference, and developing the widely circulated Energy Storage Handbook.” The ESA determines this award by surveying its members and past award recipients each year to identify a member organization that has made significant contributions in the storage industry.
Read more about the award in the ESA press release.
On June 18, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) announced that it will hold two separate technical conferences later this year. First, FERC will hold a Commissioner-led technical conference on September 30, 2020 to discuss issues related to carbon dioxide emission pricing (i.e., “carbon pricing”) as adopted by states in FERC-jurisdictional wholesale electricity markets (“Carbon Pricing in Organized Wholesale Electricity Markets”). Second, FERC staff will hold a technical conference on October 27, 2020 to discuss whether existing frameworks for transmission, interconnection, and merchant transmission facilities can incorporate the growing offshore wind generation efficiently and effectively (“Offshore Wind Integration in RTOs/ISOs”).Read More
This afternoon, the Department of Treasury issued eagerly anticipated guidance extending the continuous construction/efforts test safe harbor to five years for wind, solar, and other tax credit projects that began construction in 2016 and 2017.
The extension applies for purposes of the Code Section 48 investment tax credit and the Code Section 45 production tax credit, and to projects that began construction under either the significant physical work test or the 5% safe harbor. Projects that began construction in 2016 now have through December 31, 2021 to be placed in service without proving continuous construction or continuous efforts. Projects that began construction in 2017 now have through December 31, 2022 to be placed in service for the same purpose. This extension is a boon to the industry, particularly the many wind projects that have experienced disrupted schedules due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Treasury also granted a boon to the solar industry in the same guidance by providing a generally applicable safe harbor for purposes of the 3.5 month test frequently used to safe harbor supplies procured in the last quarter of a calendar year. Specifically, Notice 2020-41 provides that if a taxpayer paid for any services or property paid on or before September 16, 2019 and the services or property are “actually received” by the taxpayer by October 15, 2020, the “taxpayer will be deemed to have had a reasonable expectation” of timely delivery for purposes of the 3.5 month test. This guidance follows months of efforts by participants across the wind and solar industries to obtain assurance that project delays would not negatively impact tax credit availability. By extending these tests, Treasury has provided significant comfort to many investors and ensured the continued advancement of the power industry and the thousands of jobs it provides to Americans across the country.
Join us on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, for a CLE presentation on “COVID-19: Perspectives for the “Next New Normal” for Renewable and Utility Companies.”
Companies are seeing unprecedented legal and business impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These impacts are bringing about changes in strategy and how many companies approach their day-to-day business operations to adapt to this new business environment. This one-hour session will involve a presentation by the following K&L Gates attorneys sharing their perspectives on what to consider during the “next new normal.”
- Michael D. Cuda, Partner, Banking & Asset Finance
- April Boyer, Partner, Labor, Employment and Workplace Safety
- Jamie Lavergne Bryan, Partner, Oil, Gas & Resources
- Elias B. Hinckley, Partner, Power
- John M. Sylvester, Partner, Insurance Recovery and Counseling
This presentation will include the evolving legal and business impacts of COVID-19 in connection with:
- Contract Issues
- Insurance Issues
- Potential Work Issues
- Litigation Trends
This webinar will contain a chat feature in which you can submit questions so that we may tailor this presentation to address your concerns.
To register, please click here.
This webinar will explore the key trade and national security policies that currently impact the ESS market in the U.S. and assess their potential impacts on future deployments, including:
• How might regulatory developments under the Executive Order impact storage?
• What might the future hold for tariffs?
• How do these processes play out in an election year?
For more information and to register, please click here.