In December 2020, the UK PM set out an ambitious 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution, one of the key points of which was the production of 5 GW of low carbon hydrogen in the UK by 2030.  The Plan envisaged hydrogen playing a key role in decarbonising energy-intensive industries and heavy transport and replacing natural gas in domestic heating.

On 17 August the UK Government published its Hydrogen Strategy (together with a number of associated Consultations), which lays the foundations for the UK’s future hydrogen economy and sets out how the UK Government will support innovation and stimulate investment in low carbon hydrogen to meet its 5GW target.


Continue Reading Hydrogen in The UK

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.


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

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

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 New York Doubles Down On Offshore Wind and Sets Renewables RFP Record

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) has announced plans to hold a two-day technical conference on July 8-9, 2020 regarding the ongoing impacts that the emergency conditions caused by COVID-19 are having on the United States’ energy industry.  FERC’s stated objective is to ensure the continued functioning of energy markets, electricity transmission, transportation of natural gas and oil and energy infrastructure reliability.
Continue Reading FERC Plans Conference on COVID-19 Impacts

At the end of last month, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) issued a class deviation to implement Section 2821 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (“FY20 NDAA”), which seeks to reduce dependence on Russian energy by prohibiting the acquisition of energy sourced from inside Russia for DoD’s main operating bases in Europe.  The Section 2821 restriction is an expansion of earlier limits enacted by Congress on the use of Russian energy in DoD’s European operations.  Section 2821 is broader in scope than the earlier limits, and while it does contemplate that DoD may waive the prohibition in certain circumstances, the waiver process is demanding.  Contractors with a focus on supplying energy to DoD or supporting its missions in Europe should be familiar with the Section 2821 restriction and the new class deviation.
Continue Reading Targeting DoD’s Reliance on Russian Energy