Energy and environment debates are heated in Washington this week, as the Senate continues negotiations over the Keystone XL pipeline and Congressional tax reform debates get underway. Lawmakers have already introduced more than 20 amendments to the controversial pipeline legislation, and others have already floated several avenues for reaching common ground on a tax reform agreement in the coming months. Outside of Congress, many other developments have grabbed headlines in energy circles, including the approval of the giant SunZia Southwest Transmission Project, the announcement of US-India climate cooperation, and the replacement of outgoing OMB Director John Podesta.
Get the inside scoop on these and other pressing issues in this week’s Energy and the Environment update from ML Strategies, available in its entirety here.
A record setting year for Mintz Levin’s Energy Technology Practice Group, 2014 ended with the closing of 50 transactions, totaling over half a billion dollars in energy tech deals.
Representative 2014 transactions include:
- Represented Aspen Aerogels in its $82.5 million Initial Public Offering, which closed in June 2014.
- Represented EnerNOC in its acquisition of Pulse Energy, which closed in December 2014.
- Served as counsel to Canaccord Genuity in $32.5 and $37.4 million follow-on public offerings for Rubicon Technology.
- Served as deal counsel to Soligent Holdings, the largest US provider of residential solar panels, in three acquisitions totaling over $100 million.
- Represented multiple project owners and developers in connection with the debt and tax credit financing of over a dozen renewable energy projects by leading lenders and investors.
Since 2006, the practice group has completed more than 350 transactions totaling over $7 billion in the energy tech sector. To read the full press release, click here.
Energy and environment debates are alive and well in Washington this week, as the Senate begins negotiations over the Keystone XL pipeline and policy-makers react to Tuesday night’s State of the Union address from President Obama. Click here to see ML Strategies’ full update on all things energy and environment in Washington this week, including such topics as:
- Amendments to S.1, which would authorize the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline;
- New energy legislation introduced;
- The NOAA and NASA’s announcement that 2014 was the warmest year on record; and
- The release of the Energy Information Agency (E.I.A.)’s Short Term Energy Outlook.
Energy Tech Matters and ML Strategies will continue to be your go-to for analysis on these and all other energy and environmental topics throughout the course of the new year. Stay tuned!
On January 7th, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it was making available up to $125 million in funding for transformational energy projects through the ‘OPEN 2015’ program. The program, which will be run by the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), will support energy research and development projects from top U.S. innovators, including game-changing new transportation and stationary technologies. ARPA-E has previously issued OPEN solicitations in 2009 and 2012.
This is a great opportunity for companies developing new technologies for energy innovation. Transformational technologies means: Think big!
ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE
The 114th Congress and the final two years of the Obama Administration include a full energy and environment agenda.
With some new energy and environment leadership on the relevant Congressional committees, chairs and ranking members are beginning to lay out their priorities for the next two years.
While the Keystone XL pipeline is the first energy issue out of the gate this Congress, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said January 8 that the committee would hold a hearing on the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act (S. 33) later this month, and that she hopes to find common ground for comprehensive energy legislation this spring. She also hopes to address offshore oil and gas development, an issue she worked on with former Committee Chair Mary Landrieu (D-LA), but on which she disagrees with new Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Senator Murkowski envisions the broad energy package centering on four main areas: strengthening supply, modernizing infrastructure, supporting efficiency, and ensuring federal accountability.
ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE
Congress returns for the 114th session January 6, and efforts are underway to prepare for an eventful two years on Capitol Hill as well as the final two years of the Obama Administration.
Energy and environment issues, in particular, are likely to play a key role in 2015, much like they did in 2014, from the Keystone XL debate to international climate negotiations to a host of Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed late last year to make the Keystone XL pipeline the first order of business for the upper chamber, and his colleagues are already moving quickly on the issue. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing January 7 to consider legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline and will take a vote on the measure the following day, setting the stage for a floor vote as early as next week. The committee approved identical language from Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in June. Senate Democrats are expected to introduce several amendments to the bill, but only a few will ultimately vote for the measure – how many that few actually is remains the key question, with many predicting that there are at least 61 votes for the bill, including seven Democrats. If the upper chamber does approve the legislation and the president vetoes it, both sides are confident that they could win the fight, as getting to the necessary 67 votes to override a presidential veto will be the truly difficult battle. The House, which has passed several pro-Keystone measures in the past couple of years, will take up similar language in the near future. President Obama last month expressed skepticism over the project’s economic benefits, but the White House has yet to outright threaten to veto Keystone legislation. The president did say December 29 that he expects to veto legislation this year that would block or impede his climate and environmental policies. In the meantime, the Nebraska Supreme Court will soon rule on the route approval process, and a federal decision is likely to follow soon thereafter.
This February, the US Department of Energy will host the fifth annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C. As part of the proceedings, energy startups will have the opportunity to participate in the Future Energy Pitching Session.
Held on February 9th, the Pitching Session will feature 6 to 8 early-stage energy technology startups presenting to a panel of top venture capital investors, who will provide feedback and advice to the startups in real time.
The program is seeking applicants who are running a high-potential, high-impact energy startup, or who possess a commercializable research project or idea related to energy technology. Venture or angel funding, revenues, or existing clients are acceptable but not required. The deadline for applying is fast approaching, so don’t delay! All prospective applicants must complete their application by Tuesday January 6th, 2015. If you are building a great energy technology company, I encourage you to go for it!
ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE
The 113th Congress adjourned sine die last week, and efforts are underway to prepare for an eventful 114th Congress and final two years of the Obama Administration.
Before the Senate departed, they finalized the one-year tax extenders package (H.R. 5771), which the House had approved over a week earlier, and completed a series of nominations. Among other things, the tax extenders package extends the wind energy production tax credit through the end of the month. The short extension sets the stage for a broader debate on tax reform next year, and parties on both sides of the aisle are gearing up for a fight over the PTC, among many other provisions. President Obama signed the $41.6 billion short-term extenders bill into law December 19. He announced the same day that he will release a detailed plan in the near future to overhaul the tax code. Congressional Republicans have urged the Obama Administration to add more details to a 2012 framework for business tax changes.
ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE
Energy and environmental issues abounded on the congressional as well as international fronts last week, and they will continue to play a prominent role in the last couple of weeks of 2014.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change celebrated its 20th anniversary this December, with international climate negotiations in Lima, Peru December 1-12. The Lima talks mark the 20th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC and the 10th Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. After two weeks of talks, and more than 36 hours after the talks were scheduled to end, climate negotiators reached a modest agreement this past weekend for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that will be finalized next year in Paris. Under the Lima Call for Climate Action, 196 countries pledged to craft nation-specific plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by early next year, but participants delayed decisions on other significant and divisive measures, including the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. Negotiators agreed also to a separate draft negotiating text that will form the basis for the Paris discussions next year.
ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE
The House and Senate are in session for just a few more days prior to adjourning the 113th Congress. Remaining issues to address during the lame duck include the hybrid omnibus-continuing resolution, which could close out most work on fiscal 2015 spending and fund the government after December 11, a tax extenders package, completing the Defense authorization, a terrorism risk insurance extension, which expires December 31, and a handful of other last minute measures.