On Tuesday, May 19, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the release of Enabling Wind Power Nationwide. The report is a comprehensive look at wind power potential across all 50 states and considers the impact of next generation wind turbines. It builds on March’s Wind Vision Report, which accounted for the economic, social, and environmental effects of expanding wind energy nationwide. Recently, wind generation has exploded – tripling its production in the last six years – and promises to play a crucial role in the American energy future. Read on for some key takeaways:
In recent weeks, Senators have put forth a variety of energy and environment initiatives, hoping to get their ideas included in a forthcoming broad bill from Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Meanwhile, last week the Obama Administration hosted 90 investors, transportation experts, policymakers, as well as government and nonprofit leaders at a climate infrastructure round-table, while the Energy Department awarded millions in grants to efficiency and renewable fuel innovators. Get the full take in the latest update from ML Strategies.
In the run up to the Memorial Day recess, the House and Senate have had an eventful week, with even more on tap. Although Senator Portman and Shaheen recently passed their energy efficiency bill, several energy and environment hearings continue to keep Congressmen and Senators focused on this policy area. Click here to get the full rundown from ML Strategies.
On Tuesday May 5th, members of state government, clean energy advocates, and business representatives assembled at the Massachusetts State House for the New England Clean Energy Council’s (NECEC’s) fourth annual Clean Energy Day. According to Peter Rothstein, President of the NECEC, the day was “an opportunity to get the word out about the importance of clean energy in Massachusetts,” a valuable chance for stakeholders to engage with their elected officials about ensuring continued growth in the clean energy sector.
The day began with a lunchtime speaking program with clean energy award honorees and remarks from legislative and executive officials. Visitors listened with rapt attention as Senator Ben Downing, Senator Mark Pacheco, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton, and others offered their thoughts on the state of the clean energy sector as Massachusetts finds itself at a crossroads on a number of important issues.
First to address the crowded hall was Senator Downing, who spoke with measured optimism and about the state’s track-record and future prospects in clean energy. Citing the tens of thousands of clean energy jobs created, the vast increases in installed solar capacity, and the state’s first-in-the-nation Energy Efficiency ranking, he acknowledged that “we have a lot to be proud of here in Massachusetts.” But Downing gave a forceful reminder, as he has done before, that “being better than bad isn’t good enough.” He elaborated: “Yes, we’ve been a leader in clean energy. That doesn’t mean things are perfect everywhere in the state. Our responsibility is to continue to go higher than the folks around the country who are still debating the existence of climate change.”
Assuming the podium as the healthy applause for Downing dissipated was Governor Charlie Baker’s point person on energy, Secretary Matthew Beaton. A former legislator, Beaton reflected on his new perspective on Clean Energy Day and echoed Downing’s praise of the great clean energy successes that have been made in Massachusetts, asserting that they were possible thanks “largely to the advocacy efforts of the ‘boots on the ground’ in the Clean Energy industry.” Beaton reaffirmed the Baker administration’s commitment to clean energy, not only for the environmental and energy benefits it brings, but also for its economic importance in the state’s GDP and job growth. “If you think I’m going to be the secretary who drops the ball and lets that all go away, you’ve got another thing coming,” Beaton proclaimed to raucous applause.
Addressing the recently released report to the legislature by the Solar and Net Metering Task Force, Beaton confirmed that Baker’s administration was still committed to reaching the goal of 1600 MW of solar installation by 2020. With the report in hand, he told the crowd, “now it’s time for us [the executive and legislative branches] to get to work to find a long-term solution with reasonable rate-payer costs.” Turning to a carefully worded written statement, Beaton declared emphatically that “any increase in Net Metering caps must be accompanied by substantive changes in the solar incentive program,” effectively drawing a line in the sand for the administration as debate picks up in the legislature.
Throughout his remarks, Beaton made repeated reference to maximizing the effectiveness of every dollar spent on clean energy programs and ensuring that costs were not overly burdensome for Massachusetts ratepayers. Despite re-commitments to the Global Warming Solutions Act’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets and the state’s energy efficiency programs, Beaton left the podium to noticeably moderate applause from the crowd of clean energy advocates and stakeholders. Perhaps more than anything else, this was emblematic of the tensions and uneasiness that surround the forthcoming legislative battles as groups jockey for position.
This article was co-authored by Jo Anne Shatkin, Founder at Vireo Advisors.
In its first step towards regulating nanoscale materials, EPA plans to impose a one-time electronic reporting and recordkeeping requirement under TSCA on manufacturer (“manufacturer” is defined to include importers) and processors of particles ranging from 1-100 nanometers and exhibiting unique characteristics due to their size.
While the potential Iran nuclear deal, the budget, and spending bills dominate Congress’ attention leading up to the Memorial Day recess, committees in both chambers have not forgotten about energy policy, with several hearings on the docket. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration used last week’s Earth Day celebration to reveal part one of the Quadrennial Energy Review along with several energy and environment executive actions. Read more in the latest Energy and Environment Update from ML Strategies.
Despite downward pressure on oil and gas prices in recent years, solar, wind, and other alternative energy forms have maintained their popularity. In a recent article on FuelFix.com, Mintz Levin’s Tom Burton and Paul Dickerson discuss where this energy market trend stems from. Moving forward, they also analyze what these changes mean for America’s energy future. Click here for the full take.
The recent 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Oneok, Inc. et al. v. Learjet, Inc. et al. ruled that state law antitrust claims brought against interstate pipeline companies by a group of manufacturers and other retail buyers of natural gas are not pre-empted by the Natural Gas Act. The two dissenting voices, Justice Scalia and Chief Justice Roberts, set forth in their opinion that the Court “smudges” the “firm line” drawn by the Court’s prior cases between national and local authority over the natural gas trade. Though the battle over pre-emption and the division of power between federal and state regulators under the Natural Gas Act is not new, this case, as discussed in this alert, revives an issue that the dissent asserts was “settled beyond debate” by Public Util. Comm’n of Ohio v. United Fuel Gas Co., 317 U.S. 456 (1943) and its progeny.
If you have an idea for the next great company, but can’t quite figure out how to communicate it, listen up! On Thursday, May 7th at 5pm, Mintz Levin is hosting a panel discussion on how emerging companies can craft compelling stories that hook consumers and investors. Chuck Goldstone, Executive Director at the New Venture Institute, and Mintz Levin’s own Scott Samuels will examine the art and the underlying science of persuasive communications, dispel myths about the pitch presentation, and provide best practices for the most successful start-ups.
Developing an engaging pitch that is clear and memorable is essential to separating your start up from the rest of the competitive landscape. Register by May 1st for this information packed evening at the Venture Café at CIC Cambridge.
The value of a company’s NOL carryforward may be one of its most valuable assets, particularly for energy technology companies that have funded long and expensive development cycles to get to market.
Matthew Gardella, a member in Mintz Levin’s corporate and securities section, was recently featured on DealLawyers.com on preserving a company’s Net Operating Loss Carryforward. The potential to lose the benefits of NOLs due to changes in shareholder base can be a particular concern for publicly-traded companies, whose ownership base is inherently fluid. In 2014, the number of companies adopting NOL Rights Plans hit a three-year high. Read more from Matt’s article at DealLawyers.com