Driven by the entry of renewable generation resources locating far from load centers and the new demands placed on the grid by their differing characteristics, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) launched a comprehensive review of its policies regarding regional transmission planning, interconnection and cost-allocation.  In an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR), the agency requested public comments on its current policies and offered potential areas for reform with a view toward anticipated future generation.  According to FERC Chairman Richard Glick, “(a) piecemeal approach to expanding the transmission system is not going to get the job done. We must take steps today to build the transmission that tomorrow’s new generation resources will require.”
Continue Reading FERC Reviewing Rules for Grid of the Future

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

Historically, offshore wind has made up a very small percentage of America’s total electricity generation portfolio.  The winds of change are blowing, though, as the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan (“AJP”), among other federal actions, signals a new commitment to harnessing this renewable energy source.
Continue Reading Optimism Abounds for Offshore Wind

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 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.

Continue Reading FERC Revises PURPA Rules

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

A bill that would set California on a trajectory toward carbon-free emissions from its electric power sector cleared a major hurdle with its passage through the California State Legislature. SB 100 (De León), The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, 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. 
Continue Reading California Legislature Passes Bill Putting State on Path to 100% Renewable and Zero-Carbon Power

On 4 April 2018, Covington’s client Building Energy, a multinational company operating in the renewable energy industry, signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the South African state owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd (Eskom) to build, own and operate a 147 MW wind plant in Roggeveld (on the border of the Western and Northern Cape provinces of South Africa). Building Energy had been awarded preferred bidder status under Round 4 of the South African Department of Energy Renewable Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme for the wind project in April 2015. The Roggeveld wind farm will generate around 613 GWh per year and the energy generated will provide energy to 49,200 households every year, while avoiding the emission of about 502,900 tons of CO2 emissions. Construction work is scheduled to begin in 2018 and the commercial operation date is foreseen to be in April 2021. Matteo Brambilla (Building Energy’s Managing Director for Africa and the Middle East) commented “We are delighted to have signed the agreement in the presence of Minister of Energy of South Africa, for the construction of the Roggeveld plant, which represents our first wind farm in South Africa. We are also excited to develop two of the 2.3GW of renewable energy projects allocated by South African Government in the first major investment deal under President Cyril Ramaphosa”.
Continue Reading The Roggeveld Wind Farm in South Africa

Energy storage has frequently been cited as the critical missing link in an electric infrastructure designed to maximize the benefits of cheap, renewable energy.  Because energy from the sun and the wind is inherently intermittent, it has not been able to satisfy a round-the-clock need for electricity.  And in many places we’ve built more renewable