Tag: clean energy

1
Renewables on Tribal Land: Addressing Environmental and Economic Equity on the Path to a Clean Energy Economy
2
Keeping “PACE” in Commercial Real Estate Improvements: A Primer on the New Washington Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resiliency (C-PACER) Program
3
DEMOCRATS INTRODUCE TECHNOLOGY-NEUTRAL ENERGY BILL: Clean Energy for America Act
4
The Blockchain Energizer – Volume 32
5
Blockchain Energizer – Volume 31
6
K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 30
7
K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 28
8
K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 26

Renewables on Tribal Land: Addressing Environmental and Economic Equity on the Path to a Clean Energy Economy

Authors: Bart J. Freedman, Teresa A. Hill, and Benjamin A. Mayer

Demand for renewable energy projects has never been greater. The newest, latest trend is the push for renewable energy projects with positive social impacts and benefits to marginalized communities. Indeed, some of the most significant consumers and supporters of renewable and carbon-free power are now making environmental and economic justice a central focus and condition of their use of and investments in clean energy projects.1 Utility leaders have identified racial justice as a top concern in the transition to a clean energy economy.2 Key stakeholders and influential civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, have created toolkits and are advocating for just energy policies and practices.3 The Rocky Mountain Institute announced this summer that it will be launching a residential solar program to expand the use of solar in communities of color.4 At the same time, clean energy transition legislation throughout the country is accelerating the need for carbon-free resources, including wind, solar, and storage projects, to replace traditional fossil fuel resources, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, to power the grid.5

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Keeping “PACE” in Commercial Real Estate Improvements: A Primer on the New Washington Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resiliency (C-PACER) Program

Authors: Rhys W. Hefta, Craig S. Trueblood, David L. Benson, Kari L. Larson

Commercial property owners in the state of Washington may soon have access to a new source of funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and resiliency improvements to their buildings. Washington’s C-PACER legislation (House Bill 2405), passed by the legislature during the 2020 regular session, went into effect 11 June 2020. The C-PACER program aims to address the significant needs for property owners to finance energy efficiency upgrades, renewable energy improvements, stormwater management, water conservation, and resiliency retrofits to address vulnerabilities to earthquakes and other natural disasters.

The state and many local governments across the country are imposing new requirements on the owners of existing buildings to reduce water and energy consumption, control stormwater runoff, minimize damage from earthquakes, and convert to renewable sources of energy. These types of building improvements often have high up-front capital costs and long cost-recovery periods. This combination has inhibited investment by property owners who may not plan on holding an asset long enough to see the benefit of these improvements.

With the enactment of the C-PACER program, Washington joins 36 other states that have enacted some form of property assessed clean energy legislation (20 of which have current active programs). Washington’s C-PACER program, like some other states, relies on private rather than public financing. Unlike traditional private financing models, C-PACER loans are not personal debt obligations. Rather, the C-PACER loan is repaid through a voluntary assessment on the improved property that runs with the land and is secured by a super-priority lien. Accordingly, the obligation to repay the C-PACER loan remains with the property regardless of any transfer of ownership. Because of this unique structure, C-PACER loans can allow for a much longer repayment period than traditional financing options. In addition, the super-priority of the lien allows for lower interest rates. In theory, the longer term and beneficial rate will improve the ability of the owner to repay the C-PACER loan, as the owner actually accrues the benefit of savings on utility bills, lower insurance premiums, and other operating cost reductions from the improvements.

The following is a brief summary of the key information to know about the C-PACER program.

Is the C-PACER Program Available Statewide?

The C-PACER program is a voluntary program that is to be managed on a statewide basis by the Washington Department of Commerce (though a C-PACER program guidebook is not expected this year as a result of COVID-19). Once established, each county must opt into the program on a voluntary basis. However, counties are not required to wait for the statewide program. Each county is empowered to establish its own program in compliance with the requirements of the state legislation. Accordingly, availability will vary by jurisdiction. No counties have yet adopted a program.

What Properties Qualify?

Under the C-PACER program, owners of agricultural, commercial, and industrial properties are eligible to obtain financing for qualifying projects. The C-PACER program also applies to owners of multifamily residential properties with five or more dwelling units. Eligible property may be owned by any type of business, corporation, individual, or nonprofit organization permitted by state law. However, as noted above, individual counties have broad discretion to establish their own program within the parameters of the state legislation and could limit the types of properties that qualify.

What Projects Qualify?

C-PACER financing is available both for qualifying improvements to existing commercial buildings and new construction. Qualified improvements include, among others, solar panels, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, insulation and other improvements that address safe drinking water, or those that decrease energy or water consumption or demand through efficiency technologies, products, or activities. Improvements that support the production of clean, renewable energy, including a product, device, or interacting group of products or devices on the customer’s side of the meter that generates electricity, provides thermal energy, or regulates temperature, would also be deemed qualifying improvements. Likewise, improvements that increase resilience are also qualified improvements. Examples of resilience improvements include seismic retrofits, flood mitigation, stormwater management, wildfire and wind resistance, energy storage, and microgrids. The inclusion of resiliency improvements is a feature of the Washington legislation that is not found in other jurisdictions and may be of particular interest for owners of unreinforced masonry buildings and other properties in need of seismic improvements.

How Is the C-PACER Loan Repaid?

As discussed above, C-PACER loans are repaid by a voluntary assessment on the improved property, secured by a lien in favor of the county, which is then immediately assigned to the C-PACER lender. The lien is second only in priority to the lien for unpaid taxes. Once a C-PACER loan is advanced, the administration of the C-PACER loan (including enforcement) is done by the private lender. After the adoption of a C-PACER program, a county’s role is limited to the approval of an assessment and recordation of a C-PACER lien, as well as to the administration of the C-PACER program (which may be contracted out to a private third party).

Who Makes the C-PACER Loans?

Subject to compliance with generally applicable licensing requirements, any private entity can make a C-PACER loan.

What Is the Impact for Holders of Mortgages on the Property?

Because the lien of a C-PACER loan is superior to all other debt obligations other than unpaid taxes, written consent of any existing mortgagee or other holder of a security interest in the real property is required before an owner can obtain a C-PACER loan. Note that the super-priority nature of C-PACER loans may be objectionable to mortgage lenders (and, in fact, some lenders expressly prohibit borrowers from obtaining any such loans).

How Is the C-PACER Lien Enforced?

The private lender is responsible for collection and enforcement of delinquent C-PACER liens or C-PACER loan installment payments. The C-PACER lien is enforced by the lender in the same manner that the collection of delinquent real property taxes is enforced by the county under chapter 84.64 RCW, including the provisions of RCW 84.64.040, with minor exceptions.

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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The Blockchain Energizer – Volume 32

By: Buck B. Endemann, Benjamin L. Tejblum, Daniel S. Cohen    

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology and its potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries from finance and health care to real estate and supply chain management. Many institutions and companies are forming partnerships to explore how blockchain ledgers and smart contracts can be deployed to manage and share data, create transactional efficiencies, and reduce costs.

While virtual currencies and blockchain technology in the financial services industry have been the subject of significant debate and discussion, blockchain applications that could transform the energy industry have received comparatively less attention. Every other week, the K&L Gates’ Blockchain Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of blockchain technology in the energy space.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • The Arizona Corporation Commission Opens the First Blockchain-focused Utility Regulatory Docket.
  • Energy Web Foundation and LO3 Energy Partner to Standardize Data on Tobalaba.

To view more information on theses topics in Volume 32 of the Blockchain Energizer, click here.

Blockchain Energizer – Volume 31

By: Buck B. Endemann, Benjamin L. Tejblum, Daniel S. Cohen    

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology and its potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries from finance and health care to real estate and supply chain management. Many institutions and companies are forming partnerships to explore how blockchain ledgers and smart contracts can be deployed to manage and share data, create transactional efficiencies, and reduce costs.

While virtual currencies and blockchain technology in the financial services industry have been the subject of significant debate and discussion, blockchain applications that could transform the energy industry have received comparatively less attention. Every other week, the K&L Gates’ Blockchain Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of blockchain technology in the energy space.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • New Era Energy is Preparing to Launch a Blockchain-based Carbon Credit Market Pilot Program
  • WePower Unveils “Alpha” Version of its Clean Energy Financing and Trading Platform.

To view more information on theses topics in Volume 31 of the Blockchain Energizer, click here.

K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 30

By Buck Endemann, Ben Tejblum, and Daniel Cohen

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology and its potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries from finance and health care to real estate and supply chain management. Many institutions and companies are forming partnerships to explore how blockchain ledgers and smart contracts can be deployed to manage and share data, create transactional efficiencies, and reduce costs. To subscribe to the Blockchain Energizer newsletter, please click here.

While virtual currencies and blockchain technology in the financial services industry have been the subject of significant debate and discussion, blockchain applications that could transform the energy industry have received comparatively less attention. Every other week, the K&L Gates’ Blockchain Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of blockchain technology in the energy space.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Walmart Patent Application Envisions Blockchain-based Demand Response, Internet-of-Things Ecosystem.
  • Clean Energy Blockchain Network Partners with Silicon Valley Power to Advance California Low Carbon Fuel Standard Goals.
  • Hydro-Québec Temporarily Halting Service Requests from Cryptocurrency Miners.

To view more information on theses topics in Volume 30 of the Blockchain Energizer, click here.

K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 28

By Buck Endemann, Ben Tejblum, and Daniel Cohen

Your Blockchain Energizer authors Buck Endemann and Ben Tejblum presented at EUCI’s “Blockchain Technology for the Energy Sector” conference on May 8-9 in Houston, Texas. The crowd included existing market participants (utilities, retail suppliers, and regulators) along with new participants looking to leverage blockchain technology to facilitate energy transactions and improve utility operations. During our time in Houston, we found that blockchain discussions are a great way to spur broader conversation on innovation and industry sector change. Recurring themes included how utilities could be incentivized to adopt new technologies (through performance-based regulation or other constructs) while ensuring that they continue to meet their obligation to provide reliable service to all customers. The impact of new and innovative business models on low-income households, under-represented communities, and the unknown impacts on data privacy were important topics, as well.

Looking ahead, several panelists proposed that Europe is the “canary in the coal mine” due to the proliferation of distributed energy technologies and strong commitments to renewable energy. Perhaps not coincidentally, that is where the most energy-related blockchain use cases have taken root, usually with the support of business, regulators, and other state actors. K&L Gates attorneys will continue to monitor these developments and keep you abreast, right here in the Blockchain Energizer.

Finally, we are pleased to partner again with EUCI on our “Blockchain Technology Fundamentals: Energy Industry Applications” webinar, to take place on June 5, 2018. Click the link to register!

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Centrica and LO3 Partner to Minimize Renewable Energy Curtailment.
  • PG&E has proposed a Demonstration Project Using Smart Contracts to Generate Low Carbon Fuel Standard Credits.
  • The United Nations and Sun Exchange Team up with ElectriCChain to Use Blockchain and Cryptocurrency to Provide Solar Power in Moldova.

To view more information on theses topics in Volume 28 of the Blockchain Energizer, click here.

K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer – Volume 26

By Buck Endemann, Ben Tejblum, and Daniel Cohen

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology and its potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries from finance and health care to real estate and supply chain management. Reports estimate that over $4.5 billion was invested in blockchain startups in 2017 alone, and many institutions and companies are forming partnerships to explore how blockchain ledgers and smart contracts can be deployed to manage and share data, create transactional efficiencies, and reduce costs.

While virtual currencies and blockchain technology in the financial services industry have been the subject of significant debate and discussion, blockchain applications that could transform the energy industry have received comparatively less attention. Every other week, the K&L Gates’ Blockchain Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of blockchain technology in the energy space. To subscribe to the Blockchain Energizer newsletter, please click here.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • LO3 Energy and Direct Energy Business Are Launching “Exergy,” a B2B Transactive Energy Network.
  • Green Power Exchange Releases Updated White Paper for Blockchain-based P2P Energy Platform.
  • Arizona Governor Signs Legislation Allowing Corporations to Store and Transmit Data via Blockchain.
  • Chinese Petrochemical Company Utilizes Blockchain for Trial Gasoline Shipment.
  • Chile’s National Energy Commission Launches Trial Blockchain Data Initiative.
  • Chelan County Public Utility District Cuts Power to Three Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Miners.

To view more information on theses topics in Volume 26 of the Blockchain Energizer, click here.

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