The UK’s 10-point Green Industrial Revolution Plan

With the UK due to host the COP 26 climate summit in a year’s time, the UK Government is keen to set out its credentials as a global ‘green‘ leader and demonstrate not only that it can make good on its election promise to level up (with much of the promised Green Industrial Revolution investment being focused in old industrial heartlands in the North of England), but that it intends to seize the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to build back better and create a genuine green revolution. Continue Reading

Covington Experts Discuss Decarbonization Strategies in the EU and US at a Leading Global Sustainable Technology Conference

In October 2020, Covington public policy experts Sebastian Vos and Gary Guzy were invited to the 2020 CleanEquity Monaco sustainable technology conference to discuss the policy outlook in the EU and US, and likely impacts on efforts to decarbonize carbon-intensive sectors of the economy. The event was presented globally on EarthX TV.  Covington’s London-based emerging companies, corporate partner Simon Amies introduced the panel discussion and Washington-based environmental and public policy associate Lindsay Brewer moderated.  A link to the full discussion (including some content not presented at the conference) is available here and Monaco news media coverage of the presentation is available here. Continue Reading

FERC Proposes QF Status for Some Fuel Cell Facilities

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) that would allow certain Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) systems to be certified as Qualifying Facilities under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) and thus receive regulatory benefits meant, in part, to encourage the innovation and development of cogeneration facilities.  The proposal applies to SOFC systems that use heat and steam to convert natural gas to hydrogen, which then reacts with oxygen in the fuel cell to produce electricity, and then uses some of the heat and steam produced to continue converting methane into hydrogen to produce additional electricity. Continue Reading

The Role of Carbon Capture and Storage in California’s Net-Zero Future

Earlier today, the Energy Futures Initiative and Stanford University released a new joint report that provides policymakers in California with an action plan for realizing the significant decarbonization opportunities presented by use of carbon, capture and storage (CCS) technology within the state. The results of the study add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that CCS is a viable and important near-term option for California in meeting its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets in 2030 and beyond. Continue Reading

EPA Warns UV Light Companies About Coronavirus Claims

EPA recently released a compliance advisory addressing UV lights that make claims to mitigate the novel coronavirus (or other viruses or bacteria), which the agency regulates as pesticidal devices under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  While the advisory largely reiterates past guidance relating to pesticidal devices, which this blog previously discussed, it does underscore that EPA is particularly focused on UV lights, and contains three important cautions for companies making claims that their UV light products kill the coronavirus or other microbes. Continue Reading

FERC Takes Close Look at Carbon Pricing

Recently, the three sitting Commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) convened thirty industry experts at a virtual Technical Conference on state adoption of carbon pricing and its implementation in organized, wholesale electricity markets managed by regional transmission organizations (RTOs) or independent system operators (ISOs).  Public interest was high, with more than 2,000 computers across the country logged on to the discussion, which stretched over nine hours.  Although no carbon pricing measures have been filed by RTO/ISOs for consideration by FERC, the sense of the Technical Conference was that proposals from states or from RTO/ISOs acting on their own initiative are right around the corner, irrespective of the election outcomes in November. Continue Reading

FERC Opens Electricity Markets to Distributed Resource Aggregators

The FERC approved a final rule that will enable distributed energy resource (DER) aggregators to compete in organized wholesale electricity markets.  DERs are located on the distribution system or behind the customer meter and include electric storage resources, intermittent generation, distributed generation, demand response, energy efficiency, thermal storage, and electric vehicles and their charging equipment.  Aggregators will now be able to aggregate multiple small DERs as a single resource to compete in the markets, smoothing the way for many more of such resources to enter the wholesale market. Continue Reading

UK: new “world-leading” deforestation and ecosystem supply chain law

The UK Government recently announced that it is developing legislation that would make it illegal for large businesses operating in the UK to use certain commodities that have not been produced in line with local laws, and require in-scope companies to conduct due diligence to ensure that their supply chains are free from illegal deforestation and ecosystem change. A failure to comply could result in significant fines (the precise levels of fines are yet to be determined). Continue Reading

EPA Issues Emergency Approval for First-Ever Residual Antiviral Product

For the first time ever, EPA has approved a pesticide making residual antiviral claims under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  The approval may be a significant boon in the fight against COVID-19, but it also raises several key questions about EPA’s broader approach to combatting the novel coronavirus. Continue Reading

Electric Storage May Be Treated as Transmission

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved tariff terms for a Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) to treat electric storage resources as transmission facilities under certain circumstances.  Previously, FERC approved only one case-specific proposal to treat storage as transmission.  Treatment as a transmission facility provides additional deployment opportunities for storage resources and allows cost recovery through cost-of service transmission rates instead of relying entirely on energy market revenues.  Commissioner James Danly, however, dissented from the tariff order, preferring to maintain the bright line between generation and transmission previously established by FERC. Continue Reading

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