Readying for Resilience through Infrastructure

This is the 18th in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

In August 2020, a wildfire broke out along Route 70 in Glenwood Canyon, a major thoroughfare across the Rocky Mountains in central Colorado. The fire quickly burned through vegetation on either side of the canyon, loosing rocks that shut down Route 70 for two weeks. As the fire spread, it temporarily shuttered the Shoshone Generating Station, a hydroelectric power station that controls water flow in the upper Colorado River, and forced residents of several communities to evacuate to Glenwood Springs, a nearby town of 10,000. By the time the fire was put out in December, it had burned over 30,000 acres and cost over $30 million to contain. Continue Reading

Qualifying Carbon Capture and Storage under 45Q: How Biden’s Infrastructure Plan and Congressional Action May Provide a Realistic Role for CCS in Achieving Net Zero

This post is the 17th in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) sends strong signals in support of carbon capture and sequestration as an important tool to achieve the President’s ambitious decarbonization objectives. Continue Reading

Pioneering a Net Zero Emissions Future through Investments in Power

This blog is the sixteenth in a series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

 The American Jobs Plan (AJP) envisions moving to 100 percent carbon pollution-free power by 2035.  To do this, the Plan contemplates sweeping updates to the power sector to increase use of zero-emissions electricity and modernize the physical infrastructure to make it cleaner, more resilient, and more cost-effective for end users.

The AJP’s reimagining of the American power sector is a critical component of the President’s goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, as significant investments in electric vehicles (EV), EV charging, and electric heat pumps for both commercial and residential dwellings are intended to accelerate the nation’s progress in lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Continue Reading

New EU Restrictions on Single-Use Plastic Products to Enter into Force

As of July 3, single-use plastic products marketed in the EU/EEA must comply with the requirements and restrictions of Directive 2019/904 on the Reduction of the Impact of Certain Plastic Products on the Environment (“Single-Use Plastic Directive” –  “SUPD”).  To help Member States implement the SUPD into their national laws and apply its requirements, on May 31, 2021, the European Commission published its long-awaited Guidelines on the Scope of the SUPD.  The Guidelines take different and controversial approaches on the scope the SUPD and the nature of plastics and continue to leave important issues unanswered. Continue Reading

FERC Policy on GHG Impact of Gas Pipelines on Climate Still in Flux

In two recent certificate orders issued on May 20, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) did not assess the significance of the greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions of natural gas pipeline projects in terms of their contribution to climate change. This seems to be a step back from a March, 2021 order, which indicated that FERC would consider the significance of natural gas emissions in the context of a certificate involving pipeline replacement facilities, but reflects an unusual last-minute compromise reached during an open meeting in order to gain sufficient votes to approve the certificates. Continue Reading

Optimism Abounds for Offshore Wind

This is the fifteenth in our series on “The ABCs of the AJP.”

Historically, offshore wind has made up a very small percentage of America’s total electricity generation portfolio.  The winds of change are blowing, though, as the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan (“AJP”), among other federal actions, signals a new commitment to harnessing this renewable energy source. Continue Reading

Nuclear Power – Can Advanced Technology Make this Baseload Power Source be the Lowest Cost, Low Carbon Solution?

This is the fourteenth in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (“AJP”) seeks to assist the development of advanced nuclear power generation as part of a more general goal of developing advanced energy technologies. The AJP states that doing so will help the United States achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050. Continue Reading

Made in America: Spurring Domestic Job Creation and Production Through Buy America Rules and Beyond

This post is the 13th in a series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

As made clear by its name, the Biden Administration intends for its “infrastructure” plan to be a jobs plan.  As is also apparent from the Administration’s proposal, it views requirements to ensure that goods are actually made in America as critical to creating new American jobs.  According to the White House, “by ensuring that American taxpayers’ dollars benefit working families and their communities, and not multinational corporations or foreign governments, the plan will require that goods and materials are made in America.”  Such rules should also help give the United States a boost in its competition with other countries, particularly China. Continue Reading

Lines, Labor and Leveraging Capital: How the AJP Would Upgrade Transmission Infrastructure

This blog is the twelfth in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

Power lines, strung between high-voltage transmission towers, are etched across the American landscape. Yet the United States’ current transmission infrastructure is outdated and inefficient, plagued by bottlenecks and weak interconnections across regions, which limit the grid’s ability to integrate renewable generation and its overall resilience. Improving and expanding the Nation’s transmission infrastructure is therefore central to the American Jobs Plan’s (AJP) grid modernization, decarbonization and job-creation goals. Continue Reading

The EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive Proposal: What Companies Need to Know

The European Commission has published a proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (2021/0104) (“CSRD”), which forms just one part of a comprehensive package of sustainable finance measures (see our blog here).  The Commission has put forward these measures in response to demand for stronger and wider sustainability reporting standards, over and above what the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive currently provides.  The CSRD seeks to mandate sustainability reporting and assurance through the amendment of existing EU laws, including the Transparency Directive, the Accounting Directive, and the Audit Directive.  More fundamentally, according to the Commission, it will move the EU one step closer to realizing its aim of having sustainability reporting be “on a par” with financial reporting, in terms of attached weight and importance.  This is reflected in the change of terminology used in the CSRD proposal, from a focus on “non-financial” information reporting, to “sustainability”.

We cover below the background and detail, but in summary, these are the key elements of the CSRD proposal that corporates should be aware of:

  • Scope: The CSRD reporting requirements will apply to all large EU companies and all listed companies, including listed small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”). This is estimated to cover around 49,000 companies.
  • Reporting: The so-called “double materiality” principle remains, but in-scope companies will now have to report according to mandatory sustainability standards. Simpler and “proportionate” standards will apply to listed SMEs.
  • Audit: The CSRD will require, for the first time, a general EU-wide audit (assurance) requirement for sustainability information.
  • Digitization: The sustainability information must be published in companies’ management reports — and not separately reported — and the information will need to be digitized or “tagged” so it can be incorporated into a planned European Single Access Point.
  • Timing: If the proposal is adopted and standards can be agreed in line with current ambitious estimates, large in-scope companies must comply from financial years starting on or after 1 January 2023, publishing reports from 2024; whilst SMEs have to comply from 1 January 2026.

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