Tag: Power

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Declaration Of Emergency And Authorization For Temporary Extensions Of Time And Duty-Free Importation Of Solar Cells And Modules From SE Asia
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Five Agencies Issue Ambitious Renewable Energy Goals for Federal Lands: 25GW by 2025
3
FERC Enforcement In 2021: A Year Of Change
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The Service’s CO-Balancing Act: Final Carbon Capture Credit Regulations Target Broad Taxpayer Implementation and Administrability
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Eye on the Election: Potential Impact on Tax Incentives for Power and Related Industries
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The Energizer – Volume 70
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The Energizer – Volume 69
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The Energizer – Volume 68
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UPDATED July 6, 2020: The Nation Goes the Way Montana Goes? Nationwide Permit 12 Vacatur and Injunction
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The Energizer – Volume 62

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

Five Agencies Issue Ambitious Renewable Energy Goals for Federal Lands: 25GW by 2025

By: Elizabeth C. Crouse and David Wang

Five federal agencies (the Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Defense (DoD), Energy (DOE), and Interior (DOI), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)) have announced in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that they will “prioritize and expedite” the development of at least 25GW of renewable energy on federal lands administered by DOI and USDA by 2025. The MOU contemplates continued cooperation in respect of renewable energy development on additional federal lands between 2025 and 2030. This initiative, which is pursuant to directives set forth by the Energy Act of 2020, aims to improve interagency cooperation for the expedited processing of wind, solar, and geothermal energy applications. This includes the development of supporting activities, such as electric transmission, access routes, energy storage, and land use planning. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS), in coordination with the National and BLM Renewable Energy Coordination Offices (RECOs), will be the lead agencies overseeing the interagency coordination and expedited reviews for the respective lands they administer.

In addition to increasing coordination of environmental and other agency reviews, the five agencies aim to improve interagency collaboration in the National and BLM RECOs, identify opportunities for coordination with state and Tribal governments, and streamline the project approval process by eliminating redundancies and accelerating decision-making. The MOU notes that, in the course of conducting the reviews, consideration will be given to “the protection for cultural resources and sacred sites as well as the Nation’s land, water, and biodiversity, and fostering creation of jobs to support local communities.” The federal government’s ambitious prioritization of the development of renewable energy generation facilities and key ancillary activities such as transmission presents tremendous opportunities for developers and investors. Moreover, the focus on DOI lands indicates strong support for Tribes and echoes the Biden administration’s support for economic development and energy justice. However, working with the federal government can be complicated, even during an administration that clearly means business when it comes to climate change and the energy transition. Our Public Policy, Government Contracting, Indian Law, and Power teams stand by to help you navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities.

To learn more about K&L Gates’ Public Policy, Government Contracting, American Indian Law, and Power practice areas, please visit our website.

FERC Enforcement In 2021: A Year Of Change

By:  Ruta Skučas, Kimberly Frank, and Maeve Tibbetts

Originally posted on Law360 on January 3, 2022

2021 was a pivotal year for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission‘s Office of Enforcement. Under the direction of Chairman Richard Glick, the office gained a new director, Janel Burdick, added threats to infrastructure as a new priority, and increased its pace of opening and closing investigations and reaching settlements.

Most significantly, Glick asserted at the presentation of the 2021 enforcement report that “the cop is back on the street,” and that he intends to ensure “vigorous oversight and enforcement” of jurisdictional markets.

Increased Investigations Under Chairman Glick

During the commission’s November 2020 open meeting, when the Office of Enforcement presented its 2020 annual report, then-Commissioner Glick criticized the commission’s enforcement efforts, which he perceived as lacking. In 2020, the commission opened only six new investigations, and reached three settlements totaling $553,376.

The Service’s CO-Balancing Act: Final Carbon Capture Credit Regulations Target Broad Taxpayer Implementation and Administrability

By: Elizabeth C. CrouseAaron C. Meyer, and Mary Burke Baker

Amid the headline-grabbing events of 6 January 2021, the U.S. Department of Treasury released final regulations under Code Section 45Q. Code Section 45Q provides for a U.S. federal income tax credit at varying rates to taxpayers that participate in various aspects of the process of sequestering carbon oxide and disposing of it in secure geologic storage, use it as a tertiary injectant in a qualified enhanced oil or natural gas recovery project, or utilize it in certain processes. 

Eye on the Election: Potential Impact on Tax Incentives for Power and Related Industries

Authors: Elizabeth C. Crouse, Mary Burke Baker, Jared D. Mobley, Joel D. Almquist, and Lauren M. Flynn

There is little doubt that the outcome of the 3 November federal election will be consequential for much of America, and that the consequences are likely to be very different depending on who sits in the Oval Office and the Senate after the inauguration. Of all the industries that employ Americans, the power and related industries such as oil and gas, carbon capture, and electric vehicles may experience the starkest consequences.

CLICK HERE to read the full alert.

The Energizer – Volume 70

By: Buck B. EndemannDaniel S. CohenMolly K. BarkerOlivia B. MoraAbraham F. JohnsNatalie J. ReidMatthew P. Clark

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

There is a lot of buzz around cleantech, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the renewable energy and clean transport industries. 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 DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy and clean transportation industries forward.

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • British Government Announces New Investments in Small Nuclear Reactor Projects
  • States Pledge to Reduce Emissions from Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles
  • Portland General Electric Company Launches Pilot Virtual Power Plant Program
  • Federal Appeals Court Upholds FERC Order to Open Wholesale Market to Storage
  • Power Ledger Releases RENeW Nexus Report Discussing its Residential Energy Trading Pilot in Western Australia

The Energizer – Volume 69

By: Buck B. EndemannDaniel S. CohenMolly K. BarkerOlivia B. MoraAbraham F. JohnsNatalie J. ReidMatthew P. Clark

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

There is a lot of buzz around cleantech, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the renewable energy and clean transport industries. 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 DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy and clean transportation industries forward.

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Two Major Florida Utilities Begin to Transition Away from Coal
  • Pilot Program for Central American REC Market Completes First Stage
  • New California Regulations Transition Short-Haul Trucks to Zero-Emission Standards
  • Two More Major Western Utilities Commit to Close Coal-Fired Power Plants

The Energizer – Volume 68

By: Buck B. EndemannDaniel S. CohenMolly K. BarkerOlivia B. MoraAbraham F. JohnsNatalie J. ReidMatthew P. Clark

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

There is a lot of buzz around cleantech, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the renewable energy and clean transport industries. 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 DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy and clean transportation industries forward.

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Sunrun and SCE Partner for Residential Storage Virtual Power Plants
  • New Advancements in Co-Located Storage Could Spur Development of Wave Energy Projects
  • Fluence Rolls Out Innovative Battery Storage Component
  • Researchers Develop Photocatalyst to Separate Hydrogen from Water Using Ultraviolet Light

UPDATED July 6, 2020: The Nation Goes the Way Montana Goes? Nationwide Permit 12 Vacatur and Injunction

By: Ankur K. Tohan, Buck B. Endemann, and Tad J. Macfarlan

On April 15, 2020, the Montana federal district court issued an Order in Northern Plains Resource Council v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 4:19-cv-00044-BMM (D. Mont.) (NPRC v. Corps) that may have far reaching implications for energy development projects across the United States.

In a case involving the Keystone XL Pipeline Project, the Montana court vacated the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Nationwide Permit (NWP) 12. The Court concluded that because the Corps failed to consult under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 when it reissued NWP 12 in 2017, the permit is not valid and the Corps may not authorize work under the terms and conditions of NWP 12.

Background, Key findings, and Order

The Corp’s 2017 Reissuance of NWP 12. When the Corps reissued NWP 12 (along with all other NWPs) in 2017, it determined that ESA consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (the “Services”) was not required because the reissuance of NWPs has “no effect” on ESA-listed species or critical habitat.

Court’s Key Findings. The court held that the Corps’ “no effect determination and resulting decision to forego programmatic consultation proves arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Corps’ obligations under the ESA.” The court concluded that the Corps cannot circumvent ESA Section 7(a)(2) consultation requirements by relying on project-level review (e.g., by non-federal entities) under NWP General Condition 18’s preconstruction notification (PCN) requirement. The court reasoned that (1) General Condition 18’s PCN requirement fails to ensure that the Corps fulfills its obligations under ESA Section 7(a)(2) because it delegates the Corps’ initial effect determination to non-federal permittees.

Court’s Order. Based on the court’s findings, the Order (1) vacated NWP 12; (2) remanded NWP 12 to the Corps to initiate consultation now; and (3) enjoined the Corps from authorizing work under NWP 12 until consultation is completed.

Potential Implications if a Motion for Reconsideration or Stay is not Granted

Immediate Impact on Projects with NWP 12 Authorization. The Order creates immediate uncertainty for project proponents needing NWP 12 authorization. If the Order is not stayed or appealed, the Corps could reopen programmatic consultation with the Services, which could take several months or longer to complete and, once completed, may be subject to further litigation. In addition, the Order could be leveraged by other plaintiffs targeting the Corps’ other NWPs that rely on General Condition 18. Given the uncertainty, developers will need to consider their current permitting options, which may include other NWPs, individual 404 permits (which trigger NEPA, NHPA, and ESA), or project redesign to avoid impacts to regulated waters.

Current Status

On April 27, 2020, the Corps filed motions for expedited briefing and consideration for a partial stay of the Order pending an appeal. The Corps’ motion asks the Court to stay “those portions of its April 15, 2020, Order that vacate NWP 12 and broadly enjoin the Corps from authorizing any dredge or fill activities under the permit”; or at “the very least, the Court should stay its vacatur and injunction as they relate to anything other than the Keystone XL pipeline.”

**UPDATE**:    On April 28, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris denied the Corps’ motion for a temporary administrative stay of the court’s vacatur, injunction, and remand orders.  Judge Morris ordered Plaintiffs and the Corps to complete briefing on an expedited basis by May 8, however, on the Corps’ broader request for a stay pending appeal, which should give permit-seekers and holders additional insight into the immediate future of NWP 12.

**UPDATE May 7, 2020**: On May 7, 2020, Plaintiffs filed their opposition to the Corps’ Motion for Partial Stay Pending Appeal. Significantly, Plaintiffs agree with the Corps to ask the Court to revise the remedy that the was ordered on April 15, 2020.  Specifically, Plaintiffs propose that the Court modify these remedies as follows.

(1) narrowing the vacatur of NWP 12 to a partial vacatur that applies to the construction of new oil and gas pipelines, thereby keeping NWP 12 in place during remand insofar as it authorizes non-pipeline construction activities as well as routine maintenance, inspection, and repair activities on existing NWP 12 projects; and

(2) narrowing the injunction to enjoin the Corps from authorizing any dredge or fill activities for Keystone XL under NWP 12. This relief would afford appropriate protection for endangered and threatened species and their critical habitats while minimizing any potential disruption claimed by Defendants.

**UPDATE May 12, 2020**: On May 11, 2020, the Montana District Court issued its ruling on the Corps’ motion to stay the court’s original Order issued on April 15, 2020. 

The Court denied the motion to stay Order pending an appeal to the 9th Circuit.  However, the Court adopted Plaintiffs’ proposal that the Court revise the scope of remedy in the original Order to apply only to new and gas construction projects. The Court narrowed the scope vacatur and injunction as follows:

  1. NWP 12 is vacated as it relates to the construction of new oil and gas pipelines pending completion of the consultation process and compliance with all environmental statutes and regulations. NWP 12 remains in place during remand insofar as it authorizes non-pipeline construction activities and routine maintenance, inspection, and repair activities on existing NWP 12 projects.
  2. The Corps is enjoined from authoring any dredge or fill activities for the construction of new oil and gas pipelines under NWP 12 pending completion of the consultation process and compliance with all environmental statutes and regulations. The Corps remains able to authorize dredge or fill activities for nonpipeline construction activities and routine maintenance, inspection, and repair activities on existing NWP 12 projects.

**UPDATE June 17, 2020**: On June 15, 2020, the US Solicitor General, on behalf of the US Army Corps of Engineers, filed an application for a stay with the US Supreme Court.

The application seeks a stay of the April 15, 2020, order issued by the United States District Court for the District of Montana (as amended May 11), pending an appeal of that order to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and, if necessary, pending a future appeal to the US Supreme Court.

The Solicitor states that the district court “had no warrant to set aside NWP 12 with respect to Keystone XL, let alone for the construction of all new oil and gas pipelines anywhere in the country.”

The Solicitor points to the fact that when plaintiffs brought the original lawsuit to challenge the Corps’ alleged use of NWP 12, they limited their claims and relief to the use of NWP 12 to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. According to the filing, plaintiffs expressly disclaimed any request for vacatur of NWP 12, or an injunction, extending beyond Keystone XL itself; and made no “meaningful effort to establish Article III standing to challenge the potential application of NWP 12 to crossings by any other specific proposed pipelines.” Despite these facts, the Solicitor argues, the district court first vacated NWP 12 on a nationwide basis, and then in an amended order narrowed the scope of vacatur to all new oil and gas projects.

The Solicitor argues that a stay is appropriate because the district court order went well beyond what the plaintiffs original sought, is inconsistent with Article III and traditional principles of notice and equity, and was wrongly decided on ESA grounds. The Solicitor argues that the “Corps reasonably determined that merely re-issuing NWP 12 would have no effect on listed species or critical habitat — and therefore did not trigger any consultation requirement under the ESA — because the regulatory scheme and conditions in NWP 12 ensure that any necessary consultation occurs on an activity-specific basis.”

The US Supreme Court is evaluating the application.

**UPDATE July 6, 2020**: On July 6, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Montana District Court Order (as amended on May 11) is stayed, except with regard to the Keystone XL pipeline. Until the Ninth Circuit issues a ruling on the appeal — and any subsequent appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court — of the District Court Order by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the order remains in effect for Keystone XL but does not apply to other entities or parties.

The Energizer – Volume 62

By: Buck B. EndemannDaniel S. CohenMolly K. BarkerOlivia B. MoraAbraham F. JohnsNatalie J. Reid, Matthew P. Clark

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

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 newsletter, please click here.

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Researchers Create Nanowire Device That Can Generate Electricity “Out of Thin Air”
  • Shell’s Offshore Wind Farm Wades into Deep Waters for the World’s Largest Green Hydrogen Project
  • EWF Completes Joint Test of Renewables Blockchain Market in Japan
  • University of British Columbia Engineers Combine Microgrids and Low-Power Systems to Reduce Blackouts
  • Think Tank Envisions Artificial Intelligence Solutions to Combat Climate Change

To view more information on these topics in Volume 62 of The Energizer, click here.

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