Category: The Americas

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K&L Gates Links with Global Legal Blockchain Consortium
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2018 Election Guide: A Guide to Changes in Congress – Available Now
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FirstEnergy: Bankruptcy Court Asserts Primacy Over FERC; Approves Rejection of Power Purchase Agreements
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Trump Administration Releases Clean Power Plan Replacement Proposal
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Join Us for LSI’s Energy Storage Conference on June 11 & 12 in Seattle, WA
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Join K&L Gates at NEBC’s Energy Workshop on Thursday, June 7
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Join K&L Gates at #ESACon18
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FERC Rule Seeks to Expand Energy Storage Participation in Wholesale Electricity Markets
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Tax Credits for Energy Facilities Extended in New Budget Bill
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ACORE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance – State of the Industry Webinar: Financing Renewables Post-Tax Reform

K&L Gates Links with Global Legal Blockchain Consortium

Global law firm K&L Gates LLP has joined the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium (GLBC), an organization of legal and technology industry stakeholders focused on increasing the security, productivity, and interoperability of blockchain technology.

To date, more than 120 large companies, law firms, software companies, and law schools have joined the GLBC to help in developing standards and policies that govern the use of blockchain technology in the business of law. Specific issues on which the consortium focuses include data integrity, authenticity, security, and privacy for contracts and documents; interoperability between corporate legal departments and law firms; productivity improvements in the operation of legal departments and law firms; and augmentation of existing legal technology systems.

Judith Rinearson, a partner in K&L Gates’ New York and London offices and one of the co-chairs of the firm’s FinTech practice leading K&L Gates’ involvement with GLBC, said: “We have been very strategic in  how we have approached the enormous opportunities presented by the blockchain. Our membership in GLBC is a great fit in our overall strategy to harness the capabilities of the blockchain in order to benefit our clients.”

Last year, K&L Gates announced plans to implement its own private blockchain to assist in the exploration, creation, and implementation of smart contracts and other technology applications for future client use, a commitment that very few, if any, other major law firms have made.

Lawyers in the firm’s FinTech practice are part of a cross-disciplinary, global team focused on helping clients navigate regulatory, policy, and business issues surrounding the FinTech space, such as consumer financial services regulation, e-commerce regulation, fund formation, cybersecurity, finance, and intellectual property matters.

K&L Gates is a fully integrated global law firm with lawyers located across five continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals. For more information about K&L Gates or its locations, practices and registrations, visit klgates.com.

2018 Election Guide: A Guide to Changes in Congress – Available Now

The tumultuous 2018 midterm election, characterized by many as the most consequential in a generation, ended as predicted: the Democrats took control of the House while the Republicans increased their hold in the Senate.

Indeed, it was a tale of two Houses. As of 10:00 a.m. ET on November 7, the Democrats have picked up 28 seats in the House of Representatives, with the prospects of gaining about seven more as the remaining close races are decided, mostly in the west. In the Senate, Democratic Senators in Missouri, Indiana, and North Dakota were defeated while a Republican lost in Nevada, resulting in a net gain of two Senate seats thus far for Republicans with three races too close to call.

To help you assess yesterday’s election, K&L Gates has prepared a comprehensive guide that summarizes the results and their impact on the 116th Congress, which will convene in January. The Election Guide lists all new members elected to Congress, updates the congressional delegations for each state, and provides a starting point for analyzing the coming changes to the House and Senate committees.

Please click here to download the most up-to-date version of the 148-page Election Guide, which will be updated on an ongoing basis as more of the close races are called and committees are finalized.

For additional information regarding the effects of the recent elections, please contact Tim Peckinpaugh or any member of the Public Policy and Law practice.

To view the complete guide online, click here.

FirstEnergy: Bankruptcy Court Asserts Primacy Over FERC; Approves Rejection of Power Purchase Agreements

By Charles A. Dale III, William M. Keyser, David A. Mawhinney, and Michael L. O’Neill                      

In a closely watched battle between FirstEnergy Solutions (“FirstEnergy”) and the Ohio Valley Energy Corporation (“OVEC”) that could have significant implications for the U.S. power sector, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio asserted its primacy over the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) in deciding whether to allow FirstEnergy to repudiate certain FERC-regulated power purchase agreements (“PPAs”). In a decision with significant implications for all participants in rapidly evolving wholesale power markets, the bankruptcy court applied the highly deferential business judgment standard instead of the more stringent standard applied by FERC when evaluating proposed changes to PPAs featuring mutually agreed-upon filed rates. The court’s decision is now the subject of a direct appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the outcome may inspire additional action by Congress and the president.

To read the full alert, click here.

 

Trump Administration Releases Clean Power Plan Replacement Proposal

Advancing President Trump’s campaign promise to end the “war on coal,” on August 21, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) proposed a new rule to replace the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (“CPP”). Unlike the CPP, the proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule (the “ACE Rule”) does not set numerical standards or targets for greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. Instead, the ACE Rule would give states flexibility to set their own standards of performance for existing coal-fired power plants. EPA asserts that the ACE Rule will eventually reduce GHG emissions to a similar extent as the CPP would have; however, according to EPA, the ACE Rule would reduce GHG emissions by 1.5% by 2030, compared to 32% by 2030 under the CPP. Interested parties will have 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register to comment on the ACE Rule.

To read the full alert, click here.

Join Us for LSI’s Energy Storage Conference on June 11 & 12 in Seattle, WA

K&L Gates is pleased to participate in Law Seminars International’s upcoming Energy Storage Conference.  The conference is scheduled to be held at our office in Seattle.  K&L Gates’ Portland partner William Holmes hosts this event as Co-Chair.  Washington DC partner William Keyser will present on “FEROrder 841: Electric Storage Participation in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators” and Seattle partner David Hattery will join a panel on “Business and Transactional Issues.”

About the Conference

Many experts view 2017 as the year in which energy storage turned the corner from nascent technology to full-fledged energy market participant. Major milestones included the construction of a large-scale energy storage facility to replace a natural gas plant in California, completed in less than six months; a large-scale solar-plus-storage PPA in Arizona priced substantially below prior market floors; and Tesla’s announcement of the successful powering of a 100MW mega battery in South Australia.Evolving market rules are expanding revenue opportunities for energy storage, including from deferred transmission and distribution upgrades, reduced peak demand charges, integration of intermittent resources, and provision of ancillary services. With FERC’s Order 841 and state policy initiatives to facilitate energy storage and distributed energy resources, energy storage projects may soon receive additional regulatory support.LSI’s first Energy Storage conference will explore in detail all of the facets for energy storage project development with the goal of better positioning you to take advantage of the opportunities.
For more information and to register, click here.

Join K&L Gates at NEBC’s Energy Workshop on Thursday, June 7

Please join us on Thursday, June 7, 2018 as we host the Northwest Environmental Business Council’s (NEBC) Energy Workshop “Powering Our Future: Insight into the Growth of Renewables.”

As host of the event in our Seattle office, our partners Ankur Tohan and Alyssa Moir and associate Endre Szalay will speak on a panel titled “Solar & Wind Project Development: Navigating Risk and Seizing Opportunity.”

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Join us for an engaging afternoon of discussions on policy, technology, and legal hot topics in the renewable energy industry. Panelists representing perspectives from power producers, power purchasers, energy investors, utility, and the legal industry will discuss the role of competitive markets in the renewable energy sector, the impact and increasing presence of renewables and storage on the grid, and renewable project development issues and opportunities with a focus on the Northwest.

The workshop is presented free of charge to NEBC members and all interested parties.

DETAILS

Thursday, June 7
1:45 – 2:00 p.m.: Registration & Opening Remarks

2:00 – 5:00 p.m.: Technical Workshop

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.: Happy Hour

Location: K&L Gates LLP, 925 Fourth Avenue, Suite 2900, Seattle, WA

REGISTRATION

For more details and to register, click here.

Join K&L Gates at #ESACon18

K&L Gates is proud to sponsor the Energy Storage Association’s 28th Annual Conference and Expo

K&L Gates welcomes you to join us at #ESACon18.  As the ESA News Desk Host, we are excited to have the opportunity to meet with you at this renowned conference and expo.  The conference will be held on April 18-20 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA.

K&L GATES HIGHLIGHTS

DISCOUNT CODE
As a member of the ESA Board of Directors, Portland Partner Bill Holmes is pleased to offer a 10% discount on registration.  Enter code BILLAC18 to receive the discount.

FERC Rule Seeks to Expand Energy Storage Participation in Wholesale Electricity Markets

By William Keyser, Buck Endemann, Mike O’Neill and Jim Wrathall

On February 15, 2018 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a Final Rule addressing participation of energy storage resources in electricity markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations (“RTOs”) and Independent System Operators (“ISOs”).  Largely adopting the proposal issued in November 2016, the Final Rule seeks to remove barriers for energy storage participation in wholesale capacity, energy, and ancillary services markets.  The ultimate impact of FERC’s directive will be determined over the next few years as RTOs and ISOs implement the standards through their respective stakeholder processes, compliance filings, and (potentially) litigation.    FERC deferred ruling on a companion proposal addressing participation of distributed energy resources (“DERs”) in wholesale markets.  In the coming months, stakeholders should carefully consider these measures as there will continue to be opportunities to shape the final outcomes. Read More

Tax Credits for Energy Facilities Extended in New Budget Bill

By Charles Purcell,  Won-Han Cheng, Elizabeth Crouse, and Andrea Templeton

Congress recently enacted the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which contained a number of extenders applicable to tax credits for energy facilities.  In the case of PTC-eligible energy facilities that were not covered by the earlier extension applicable to wind and solar, the credit was extended to facilities where construction was commenced before January 1, 2018.  This new rule applies to closed and open loop biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, trash, qualified hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic facilities.  In addition, the election to claim the ITC in lieu of the PTC on these facilities was also extended to facilities where construction was commenced before January 1, 2018.

The ITC provisions were amended to extend the “commence construction” dates for 30% credits for fiber optic solar, qualified fuel cell, ground based thermal heating and cooling systems, and qualified small wind energy property to be consistent with solar facilities (terminating at the end of 2021). The Act also extended the “commence construction” dates for 10% credits relating to qualified microturbine and combined heat and power system property (also terminating at the end of 2021).  To be eligible for the extension, combined heat and power system property must be placed into service after December 31, 2016.

In addition, the credits for fiber optic solar, qualified fuel cell and qualified small wind project will step down over the next 5 years.  It also appears that any such property not placed in service by the end of 2023 will not be eligible for any ITC.

ACORE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance – State of the Industry Webinar: Financing Renewables Post-Tax Reform

On Wednesday, January 24, 2018 from 12:00-1:30pm ET, K&L Gates Seattle associate Elizabeth Crouse will be moderating the ACORE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance sponsored webinar “Financing Renewables Post-Tax Reform.”

The State of the Industry Webinar, a quarterly series produced in partnership between ACORE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, offers the latest intelligence and analysis on renewable energy markets, finance and policy.

Provisions included in the tax reform package will affect how leading financiers of renewable energy projects are taxed on their investments. These changes could impact the availability of tax equity – a critical source of financing that is a significant catalyst for market growth and responsible for roughly 20% of annual U.S. renewable energy investment. On this webinar, experts will consider how changes to the tax code might shake out in the renewable energy market, alternate sources of project financing and other factors developers should expect in 2018 and beyond.

Policy Update:

Greg Wetstone, President & CEO, ACORE

Todd Foley, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs, ACORE

Markets Update:

Ethan Zindler, Head of Americas, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Moderator:

Elizabeth Crouse, Associate, K&L Gates LLP

Speakers:

Marshal Salant, Managing Director, Head of Alternative Energy Finance, Citi

Meghan Schultz, Senior Vice President, Structured FinanceInvenergy LLC

Kevin Walsh, Managing Director, Renewable Energy, GE Energy Financial Services

To register for this webinar, please click here.

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