This is the twenty-first in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) sets an ambitious goal of “achieving 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035.”  To accomplish this, the AJP proposes significant investments in grid modernizationtransmission infrastructureoffshore wind, and energy storage, as detailed by our prior posts.  Whether these investments – carrots, if you will – will be sufficient to drive down emissions in all states and achieve the 2035 target, in the absence of an enforceable clean electricity standard (CES), remains uncertain.  Equally uncertain is the pathway for Congress to enact a CES.
Continue Reading Using Carrots and Sticks to Unleash the Potential for Clean Utilities

The European Commission has presented a package of key enabling legislation on sustainable finance (the “Sustainable Finance Package”).  This includes the much-awaited first technical screening criteria under the Taxonomy Regulation — outlined in the Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act (“TCDA”) — and a proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD”), which significantly revises and expands on the existing Non-Financial Reporting Directive’s remit and disclosure rules for corporates. While the former is directly aimed at financial institutions and investors, and the latter at large and listed entities, the package has broader implications for all corporates.

Sustainable Finance Package: Context and Comment

The Commission’s intention with its Sustainable Finance Package is twofold: (1) in the short term, to set a clear regulatory framework to encourage investments that will contribute to a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and (2) in the long term, to ensure the transition to a carbon neutral EU economy by 2050, in accordance with the 2020 European Climate Law.  Following the adoption of the EU Taxonomy Regulation (explained further below), the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, and the Benchmark Regulation, which enhances the transparency of benchmark methodologies, the Commission has in this legislative package laid out the next building blocks for its envisioned sustainable finance ecosystem.


Continue Reading The EU’s Green Capitalism Takes Shape: Taxonomy Screening Criteria and Corporate Sustainability Reporting

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

The White House’s recent announcement of the American Jobs Plan (AJP) highlights the establishment of a “$27 billion Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator to mobilize private investment into distributed energy resources.”  While distributed energy resources (DERs) are only mentioned once in the announcement, they figure to play an important role in the Administration’s overall goals.
Continue Reading Distributed Energy Resources

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 The UK’s 10-point Green Industrial Revolution Plan

In a project that the World Bank hopes will be a catalyst for implementing its climate change strategy in low and middle-income countries, Eskom, South Africa’s 100% state-owned electricity utility, will launch a tender for a 1.4 gigawatt-hours battery energy storage system (“BESS”). The tender will likely be issued in the first or second quarter of 2020, pending final governmental approval. The completed BESS will have a daily capacity of 1.4 gigawatt-hours of energy output (which is sufficient energy to power 1.4 million homes for an hour). The project is the first of its kind on the African continent.
Continue Reading South Africa Prepares for a Battery Energy Storage System Tender

On March 12, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) affirmed the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (“Commerce”) determination that solar panels assembled in China from non-Chinese cells were subject to antidumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD).  See Canadian Solar, Inc. v. United States.  In doing so, the Federal Circuit found that Commerce had discretion to depart from its long-standing practice of using a substantial transformation test to determine country of origin and instead the agency may fashion different tests for different AD/CVD orders.  The discretion recognized in this ruling creates greater uncertainty for importers with respect to the country of origin of imports covered by AD/CVD orders, making customs compliance more difficult.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Rules Broad Discretion for Commerce in Country of Origin of AD/CVD Imports

On March 6, 2019, a bill was introduced in the Washington Senate, SB 5981, to establish a cap and trade program linked to the existing California-Québec program, which is implemented under the auspices of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI).  The bill mirrors many of the design elements from the California program, as amended pursuant to a 2017 law that authorizes its extension beyond 2020, and also borrows from legislation currently under consideration by the neighboring State of Oregon, HB 2020, which would establish a similar “cap and invest” program, also intended to be linked with the WCI jurisdictions.

If both the Washington and Oregon bills were enacted, it would represent a significant step forward in the development of North American carbon markets and would help realize the original WCI vision of a broad, economy-wide trading program embracing a significant share of the North American economy.
Continue Reading Legislation Introduced in Washington Senate Would Establish Linked Cap and Trade Program

With potential liabilities in excess of $30 billion stemming from a series of deadly wildfires that ignited across Northern California in 2017 and 2018, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and its holding company PG&E Corp. (PG&E) filed for Chapter 11 relief in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday.

The filing triggers a complex, multi-forum struggle among creditors, energy providers, and many other diverse stakeholders.  The impact of the restructuring process will be far reaching, jeopardizing compensation to wildfire victims, the state’s implementation of its ambitious climate and renewable energy policies, and the ultimate future of the utility as a partner in those efforts.
Continue Reading Rising from the Ashes: How PG&E’s Bankruptcy Threatens the Energy Sector and California’s Progress on Climate Change

On Monday, September 10, 2018, two days before kicking-off the Global Climate Action Summit he is co-hosting in San Francisco, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 100 (De León), The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, which sets a state policy that eligible renewable energy and zero-carbon resources supply 100 percent (%) of all retail sales of electricity in California by 2045. (Our summary of SB 100 is here.)
Continue Reading Governor Jerry Brown signs SB 100 and Executive Order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045