The European Parliament and Council are about to adopt an agreed text on a Regulation on Batteries and Waste Batteries (“Sustainable Batteries Regulation” or “SBR”) that will impose a broad range of requirements on the safety, sustainability and circularity of batteries, including batteries that are part of devices (e.g., laptop batteries), industrial batteries (e.g., large stationary storage applications) and means of transport batteries (e.g., car batteries), as well as extended producer responsibility obligations (including waste take back) on producers marketing them.  The SBR is likely to be published in the official journal of the EU within the next couple of months and will repeal and replace the existing EU Directive on Batteries and Waste Batteries.

This post outlines the specific removability and replaceability requirements that the SBR will impose on portable batteries and light means of transport (“LMT”) batteries (e.g., batteries for electric bicycles) marketed in the EU/EEA as of around September/October 2026.  The new requirements will oblige producers of appliances to introduce design changes to their appliances and the batteries they incorporate.  Moreover, clarifying the details of such requirements is likely to create much controversy and debate among the European Commission, Member States and other stakeholders within the next two years.  In effect, the SBR leaves it to the Commission to adopt guidelines interpreting the different removability and replaceability requirements. 

The post also briefly mentions the political compromise that the European Parliament and Council reached on the removability and replaceability of electrical vehicle batteries and “starting, lighting and ignition” (“SLI”) batteries, and its emphasis on ensuring that such batteries be removable and replaceable by “independent professionals” (and not just authorized dealers).

Continue Reading New Removability and Replaceability Requirements for Batteries Marketed in the European Union

On October 5, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced its plan to streamline the typical review process for Mixed Metal Oxides (“MMOs”), including certain cathode active materials, which are key components in electric vehicles’ lithium-ion batteries, as well as clean energy generation and storage technology, including wind turbines and solar cells.  MMOs can also be used in semiconductors. 

As we have written about previously, increasing the domestic supply of EVs and semiconductors, and expanding the country’s clean energy capacity are among the core policy objectives of the Biden Administration.

Continue Reading EPA to Streamline the Review Process for Certain EV and Clean Energy Chemicals

On July 27, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the release of the state’s third competitive offshore wind solicitation (RFP), seeking to procure a minimum of 2,000 megawatts (MW) of new offshore wind generation capacity, as well as significant capital investment in New York’s bourgeoning offshore wind energy supply chain.  New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019 established the goal of developing 9,000 MW of offshore wind capacity, the largest statutory goal to-date of any state in the country, by 2035.  Combined with the 4,300 MW of offshore wind generation capacity procured through its prior two solicitations, the RFP will put the state more than two-thirds of the way towards reaching that target. 

Continue Reading New York Remains Offshore Wind Pacesetter with Third Solicitation

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the “IRA”) features $260 billion in clean-energy tax credits. While the IRA extends many existing clean-energy tax credits, like the energy production tax credit and investment tax credit for wind and solar, it also establishes new credits, including credits for advanced manufacturing and hydrogen production. Additionally, beginning in 2025, taxpayers with zero emissions facilities would have added flexibility to choose between using a new technology neutral production tax credit or investment tax credit.

Continue Reading Expansion and Long-Term Stability of Climate and Energy Tax Credits

One of the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) notable features is the creation of a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF).  This fund could create a mechanism to quickly disburse up to $27 billion to clean energy technologies, without undergoing the sometimes laborious reviews required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  IRA § 60103. 

Continue Reading Inflation Reduction Act Sets the Stage for a National Green Bank

The environmental justice provisions included in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (“IRA”) continue the Biden Administration’s commitment to environmental justice.  The administration has already demonstrated a consistent desire to build environmental justice into its programs through programs such as the Justice40 Initiative.  This initiative directs 40% of the climate change, sustainability, and other

The transportation sector constitutes the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) takes significant steps to transition the U.S. vehicle fleet to zero-emissions technology.  The proposed legislation takes a multi-faceted approach in doing so: it not only provides incentives for increased consumer use of electric vehicles, it also promotes domestic zero-emissions vehicle manufacturing. 

Continue Reading Inflation Reduction Act Shows Strong Support for the Electric Vehicle Sector and Domestic Supply Chains

On July 14, 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) issued a request for a range of additional factual information in connection with the agency’s ongoing circumvention inquiries into solar cells and modules from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam that employ inputs from mainland China.[1]  The deadline to respond is July 21st.

Continue Reading Commerce Requests Factual Information in Solar Circumvention Inquiries on Level of Investment, Non-Financial Barriers, and Research and Development Expenses

The European Parliament and Council are in the last stages of the legislative procedure to adopt a Regulation on Batteries and Waste Batteries (“Sustainable Batteries Regulation”), which the European Commission proposed in December 2020.  Among other many requirements, the proposed Sustainable Batteries Regulation will require manufacturers to ensure that the portable batteries contained in their electronic devices are removable and replaceable.  These requirements will apply to a large variety of electronic devices, including household appliances, IT, telecommunications equipment, and medical devices.  They are part of a broader sustainable products package that includes other legislative proposals, such as the Commission proposal for a Regulation on Ecodesign Requirements for Sustainable Products and an upcoming legislative initiative on the right to repair, and will require manufacturers to redesign the electronic devices that they market in the European Union and European Economic Area (“EU/EEA”).

Continue Reading Upcoming EU Removability and Replaceability Requirements on Portable Batteries

On July 1, 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) issued proposed rules implementing President Biden’s emergency declaration to provide temporary tariff relief on certain imports of solar cells and modules from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.[1] Commerce has provided the public with a 30-day period to comment on the proposed rules.

If enacted in their current form, the proposed rules would provide meaningful relief and increased tariff certainty to U.S. importers of solar cells and modules from these four Southeast Asian countries.  Specifically, under the proposed rules, Commerce will not impose tariffs during the emergency period established by President Biden on imports of solar cells and modules from those countries even if the products are found to be circumventing an existing antidumping (“AD”) or countervailing duty (“CVD”) order.  The proposed rules do not affect tariffs on imports that are already within the scope of existing AD/CVD orders on solar cells and modules from mainland China or Taiwan, including in-scope modules that incorporate cells from mainland China or Taiwan but are assembled in a different country.

While the proposed rules would represent a positive development for foreign manufacturers, U.S. importers, and U.S. consumers, including the U.S. solar project development industry, if promulgated in their current form, changes to the rules are possible.  It is therefore important for parties with a stake in Commerce’s pending circumvention inquiries to file comments by the August 1, 2022 deadline. 

Continue Reading Commerce Invites Comments on Proposed Rules Implementing Presidential Emergency Declaration on Solar Tariffs