As demand for solar energy has grown, employment in the U.S. solar industry has boomed to more than double the number of coal industry workers and nearly equal to employment in the natural gas industry. While solar energy jobs are among the safest in the energy sector, over the past 18 months the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has sought to levy large fines against some high profile solar industry employers for alleged safety violations. Others in the industry may expect increased scrutiny. But there are opportunities to enhance solar job safety and reduce compliance risks. Employers wishing to take advantage of these opportunities should seek legal advice about how to best navigate multiple applicable OSHA standards and guidance from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Continue Reading
The Department of Energy (DOE) recently acted in two separate orders to clear the path for small volume exports of LNG and allay concerns about the durability of its export authorizations. In July, 2018, DOE adopted a rule to streamline its standards and process for approving small-scale LNG exports. In a separate policy statement issued in June, DOE put to rest industry concerns that it may rescind LNG export authorizations, stating firmly that it “does not foresee a scenario” under which it would rescind an authorization to export LNG. For current and future investors in LNG export projects and their customers, these two developments appear to underscore DOE’s commitment to removing unnecessary barriers to LNG exports. Continue Reading
California continues to see growth in alternative and clean energy initiatives. Below is a sample of recent notable developments. Continue Reading
The European Union has adopted a new obligation on suppliers of articles that contain substances listed in the REACH Candidate List of SVHCs in concentrations above 0,1% to submit a notification to the European Chemicals Agency (“ECHA”). The new requirement is intended to facilitate the recycling of products and was introduced by a new Directive amending the EU Waste Framework Directive. Continue Reading
On June 21, 2018, the European Commission (“Commission”) started a new investigation to determine whether so-called destination clauses in Qatar Petroleum’s liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) supply contracts with European buyers infringe the European Union (“EU”) antitrust rules. Continue Reading
On 4 April 2018, Covington’s client Building Energy, a multinational company operating in the renewable energy industry, signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the South African state owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd (Eskom) to build, own and operate a 147 MW wind plant in Roggeveld (on the border of the Western and Northern Cape provinces of South Africa). Building Energy had been awarded preferred bidder status under Round 4 of the South African Department of Energy Renewable Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme for the wind project in April 2015. The Roggeveld wind farm will generate around 613 GWh per year and the energy generated will provide energy to 49,200 households every year, while avoiding the emission of about 502,900 tons of CO2 emissions. Construction work is scheduled to begin in 2018 and the commercial operation date is foreseen to be in April 2021. Matteo Brambilla (Building Energy’s Managing Director for Africa and the Middle East) commented “We are delighted to have signed the agreement in the presence of Minister of Energy of South Africa, for the construction of the Roggeveld plant, which represents our first wind farm in South Africa. We are also excited to develop two of the 2.3GW of renewable energy projects allocated by South African Government in the first major investment deal under President Cyril Ramaphosa”. Continue Reading
Various studies indicate that an overall lack of charging infrastructure serves as an impediment to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). However, the road to transportation electrification is officially under construction following several major state investments. Continue Reading
On June 19th, a group of diverse businesses from a variety of industries announced the formation of the Transportation Electrification Accord (“Accord”). This announcement signaled an increasingly firm consensus around the importance of open, resilient, and cooperative approaches to transportation electrification — and major companies and organizations, some of whom have not previously been active in this realm (such as the Edison Electric Institute, Southern Company, AEP, GM, and Honda) have come together around this effort. Continue Reading
On March 8-9, 2018, a bespoke group of approximately 200 leading entrepreneurs, investors and advisors focused on deploying and commercializing cutting edge technologies gathered in Monte Carlo from across the globe for the 11th annual CleanEquity® Monaco Conference. Complementing other plenary sessions and emerging company presentations, the conference initiated a new feature — Covington CleanEquity Conversations — intended to capture and memorialise the unique thought leadership opportunity presented by the gathering in Monaco. On the first day, conference participants separated into three breakout groups for Chatham House Rule discussions curated by partners from the international law firm Covington & Burling LLP of three critical issues confronting cleantech deployment and commercialisation:
- AI and IoT – Benefits, Risks, and the Role of Regulation
- Sustainability – What goals should businesses prioritise and what are the right metrics?
- Will market driven innovation alone save us from climate change?
On the second day, the Covington team reported in the conference’s final plenary session key takeaways from the three breakout group discussions. Covington and CleanEquity organizer and specialist investment bank, Innovator Capital, are pleased to share brief summaries of the thought leadership developed by the proceedings of conference participants on each of the three topics. Continue Reading
Covington hosted the 14th Annual Environmental Transactional Roundtable on May 18, 2018. More than 70 attorneys attended, including from multiple countries outside the U.S., representing 31 law firms and organizations. The event was a great success, and featured panel discussions that sparked lively discussion among participants. The three panels covered product stewardship issues, environmental issues in bankruptcy, and risk management in transactions. Continue Reading