The Fifth Circuit recently allowed the federal government to resume use of the “social cost of carbon” (SCC), after a district court enjoined reliance on the metric earlier this year.  The SCC aids cost-benefit analysis of regulatory actions and can provide insights into the impacts of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.  The continued

Two federal agencies recently released a joint Request for Information (“RFI”) in the latest in a series of concrete steps to meet the Biden Administration’s goal to achieve 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity (CFE)[1] in federal operations by 2030.  The RFI, issued by DLA-Energy and GSA, offers industry a chance to shape future federal CFE procurements by providing information on carbon-free electricity supplied in competitive retail markets.  Although not itself a procurement opportunity, the information submitted under the RFI will inform the parameters and conditions of CFE competitions that the federal government expects to begin as soon as this year, with contract deliveries starting in 2023.

Continue Reading RFI Begins to Chart Course for Federal Clean Energy Procurements

Addressing climate change has been a priority for President Biden since his first day in office.  On December 8, 2021, President Biden continued that focus by issuing Executive Order (EO) 14057, Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability, which includes a number of requirements directed at introducing sustainability to federal acquisitions.

Continue Reading Contractors Have an Opportunity to Help Shape ESG Requirements

As the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (“COP”) in Glasgow has drawn to a close, with seemingly mixed messages and a somewhat ambiguous conclusion, it is worth reflecting on the overall trajectory of the climate issue, societal expectations, and the accomplishments that — with time — Glasgow is likely to represent.  COP26 highlighted the fragility of the planet, as well as the fragility of the global consensus-based United Nations approach to protecting it.  It highlighted the sweep of global climate-induced challenges and the scale of transformation needed to address them.  With rising temperatures has come a rising global focus on climate and a far greater set of emerging societal expectations for meaningful responses by government and the private sector.  Despite the risk that the global agreement forged in Glasgow is seen by climate activists as all talk and no action — what they referred to as “blah, blah, blah” — I believe that a number of features will endure as important accomplishments.

Continue Reading Report from Glasgow COP26: Assessing the United Nations Climate Conference

On 19 October, alongside a number of other important strategy documents (over 2,000 pages in total), the UK Government published its ‘Net-Zero Strategy’ (NZS) which will help achieve the UK’s interim five yearly carbon targets leading up to net-zero by 2050.

Continue Reading The UK’s Net Zero Strategy

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