The Department of Energy (DOE) adopted a new policy which extends the standard term for authorizations to export natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the U.S. lower-48 states to countries without a free trade agreement with the U.S. to December 31, 2050. The standard term had been 20 years. The new standard term will be allowed for current and future export authorizations. Continue Reading
Last week, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the possible adoption of a new EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”). This consultation is yet another of the initiatives that the Commission is taking to roll out its ambitious European Green Deal (for a recent overview webinar see here). Manufacturers in virtually all industrial sectors and their trade associations would be wise to assess the potential impact of the CBAM on the products they market in Europe and to consider participating in the public consultation and comment process. Continue Reading
In a move that further bolsters the state of New York’s status as a trailblazer in America’s energy transformation, on July 21, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the largest combined renewable energy solicitations in U.S. history. New York is seeking up to 4,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind and onshore renewable energy capacity to help meet the resource goals established under its 2016 Clean Energy Standard and its 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The solicitations also contemplate a combined $400 million in public and private funding to upgrade the state’s port infrastructure in order to accommodate the development of the new offshore wind facilities. New York’s solicitations not only present an unprecedented market opportunity for offshore wind and other renewable developers, but also for businesses seeking to provide key construction and operations and maintenance products and services to the offshore wind industry. Continue Reading
The FERC recently issued a final rule (Order No. 872) revising its regulations implementing the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA), which encourages the development of certain renewable and cogeneration facilities. PURPA, and FERC’s rules implementing it, establish benefits to those facilities by obligating electric utilities to purchase electricity from them. As discussed in a prior post to this blog, FERC considered reforming its regulations due in part to changes in the electric power industry over the last several decades.
On July 17, 2020, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published a Final Rule updating regulations to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Final Rule closely tracks the Proposed Rule released in January 2020. The final rule makes a number of notable changes to existing NEPA regulations. Continue Reading
Since July 4, 2020 the manufacture, marketing and use of perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”), its salts and PFOA-related compounds (collectively, “PFOAs”), and products containing them, is significantly restricted in the European Economic Area (“EU/EEA”). The restrictions were introduced by a Commission Delegated Regulation amending Annex I to the EU POPs Regulation, and are intended to implement a decision of the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention that was held from April 29 to May 10, 2019. Continue Reading
Critiques of OSHA’s current flexible approach to COVID-19 in the workplace provide insight into how a Democratic administration might regulate differently at the federal level. Moreover, some states have moved forward with establishing binding rules to address COVID-19 in the workplace, which may provide models for future federal efforts. Continue Reading
The California Air Resources Board unanimously adopted the Advanced Clean Trucks rule, which is designed to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission medium and heavy duty vehicles (“ZEV”). By 2045, 100% of new trucks sold in the state will be ZEVs, consistent with the state’s broader goal of becoming carbon neutral by that year. Continue Reading
As businesses and commercial buildings reopen following shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Interagency Committee on Indoor Air Quality used their June 26 meeting to highlight recommendations on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system operation. Continue Reading
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently signaled that it is exploring ways to improve the cybersecurity of the U.S. electricity grid. On June 18, 2020, FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding whether some of its reliability standards regarding cybersecurity must be enhanced and whether the focus of its standards must change due to the threat of a coordinated cyberattack targeting geographically distributed generation resources. On June 18, 2020, FERC also issued a staff paper that suggests a framework for providing incentives in transmission rates for cybersecurity investments.
These FERC actions may presage regulatory actions that could have material operational and cost implications for all grid participants. Accordingly, FERC is seeking comments on both documents with deadlines of August 24, 2020 for the NOI and August 17, 2020 for the staff paper. Major grid participants would be well advised to evaluate the NOI and staff paper and consider responding to FERC’s request for comments. Continue Reading