As Sponsors of MIT’s Energy Venture Alumni Event, celebrating the past 10 years, Mintz Levin’s attorneys are taking this opportunity to countdown the top 10 moments in energy which they feel impacted the industry and their practice.

Moment #2 – EnerNOC IPO 2007 Continue Reading MIT: Energy Ventures 10 Year Anniversary Top 10 Moments – Moment #2

As Sponsors of MIT’s Energy Venture Alumni Event, celebrating the past 10 years, Mintz Levin’s attorneys are taking this opportunity to countdown the top 10 moments in energy which they feel impacted the industry and their practice.

Moment #1: Efficient Solar Continue Reading MIT: Energy Ventures 10 Year Anniversary Top 10 Moments – Moment #1

We are thrilled to announce that our very own Sahir Surmeli will be speaking at the second annual U.S. Energy Storage Summit. This unique conference brings together utilities, financiers, regulators, technology innovators, and storage practitioners for two full days of data-intensive presentations, analyst-led panel sessions with industry leaders, and extensive high-level networking. This conference will leave participants with a strong understanding of the business strategies, regulatory circumstances and economic opportunities set to drive continued energy storage market growth.

Mintz Levin is a proud partner of this event. Join us with GTM December 7-8 in San Francisco, CA using our exclusive discount code MINTZ15 for 15% off your conference registration.

On October 27, 2016, Cleantech Open Northeast, the Northeast division of Cleantech Open, a global cleantech accelerator for early-stage clean technology companies, announced the 2016 regional winners of the competition. Four companies focusing on water, efficiency, and energy generation received $20,000 in prizes and will go on to represent the Northeast at the Cleantech Open Global forum in San Francisco, California on February 6-10, 2017. The 2016 regional winners are GreenBlu, Proper Pipe, PV Pure, and Surge Hydro. Selected from a record pool of 107 applicants, Cleantech Open Northeast’s Class of 2016 featured 33 companies developing a diverse array of clean technologies related to energy, agriculture, water, waste management and more. Judges selected the regional finalists from the 24 graduates. To learn more about the Cleantech Open Northeast competition, read on!

Continue Reading Cleantech Open Northeast 2016 Recap

Passage of a tax package is another possible item on Congress’ list for the lame duck session, which is discussed in a recent ML Strategies alert. Three dozen tax provisions are scheduled to expire December 31, about half of which pertain to energy provisions. Congress approved last December a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations and $680 billion tax extenders package and adjourned for the first session of the 114th Congress. To learn more about the tax extenders package, read on!

Continue Reading Cost Estimates for Expiring Energy Tax Provisions

The Northeast Clean Energy Council’s (NECEC) 9th Annual Green Tie Gala was recently held on October 25, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Green Tie Gala is the premier clean energy networking event in the region, bringing together more than 500 stakeholders from the Northeast clean energy community to celebrate the industry’s growth and accomplishments and to recognize outstanding clean energy companies with NECEC’s Green Tie Gala Awards. We enjoyed seeing many of our clients in attendance at the gala in support of this burgeoning and innovative community. To learn more about the Green Tie Gala, read on!

Continue Reading The Northeast Clean Energy Council’s (NECEC) 9th Annual Green Tie Gala Recap

With the election just a week away, ML Strategies, Mintz Levin’s consulting affiliate, has conducted in-depth analysis of possible House and Senate committee leadership changes, including committees that effect energy technology policies. Leadership of a number of House and Senate committees is bound to change due to term-limits, retirements, and perhaps election results, including the Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources House committees, and the Energy and Natural Resources and Environment and Public Works Senate committees. ML Strategies has outlined those potential changes in either a Republican- or a Democratic-controlled House and Senate. To read more about these potential Congressional leadership changes, read on!

Continue Reading ML Strategies’ Election Forecast on Congressional Leadership Changes

Last week’s “Financing Renewable Energy” tax credit conference, by Novogradac and Company, affirmed some market trends that we have seen in recent project finance deals. Perhaps most striking was the slow expansion of small and mid-market tax equity investors, compared to their counterparts upmarket.  The result is that developers of projects and project portfolios under $50 million may need to look harder to find the right partner to monetize their tax credits.

Looking back even a couple of years, we saw a tax equity market that was dominated by a small handful of large players, most of whom were focused on big investments investing large amounts of capital into utility-scale projects. Today, the number of investors has increased (JPMorgan Chase reports at least 20 wind investors and 28 solar investors in 2015), as has the amount of tax equity investment (up 14% between 2014 and 2015, according to JPMorgan Chase).  Our anecdotal experience, affirmed by investors and developers we have spoken with, is that the bulk of that expansion has been among large banks, insurers and Fortune 500-sized corporate investors, which have grown increasingly comfortable with the risk profile of renewable energy projects and the diligence required to evaluate a prospective investment.

A similar trend has been lagging among smaller investors. Smaller tax equity investments are not necessarily simpler to diligence, negotiate or document than large deals, and renewable energy continues to be seen as a “new” industry to many banks, insurance companies and other potential investors.  Despite this friction slowing the entry of new investors into the marketplace, there are some encouraging signs.  First, we see evidence of increasing cross-over from investors in other tax credit-driven spaces (new market, low income housing, etc.).  Second, when they do enter the market, smaller investors are often more nimble at the investment-stage and can be better at building ongoing relationships that can ease future investor interactions (e.g., when seeking consent to refinance project debt).

These trends suggest some actionable advice for mid-market project sponsors:

  1. Don’t be afraid to look outside the usual pool of energy tax credit investors. Cross-over investors have existing experience with some of the same structures used in Section 45 and Section 48 investments, but there is an educational process to help them become comfortable with the diligence process and risk profile for energy projects. A willingness to work through that learning curve may open the door to new investor relationships.
  2. Look for opportunities to build long-term relationship that can support multiple deals. It is an unfortunate reality that doing an $8 million tax equity deal is not one tenth as complicated and costly as doing an $80 million deal. Working with an investor that can be a longer-term partner creates potential economies of scale as the parties replicate and recycle investment terms, documents and diligence standards across multiple deals.
  3. Consider who will be a strong partner after closing. A typical tax equity investor will have consent rights over material events in a project’s life, such as a debt refinancing. Demands for hefty consent fees, lengthy diligence reviews and other requirements can strain the relationship between a project sponsor and the tax equity investor. If the parties have a relationship that extends beyond the immediate project (see #2 above), then motivations will be better aligned at these important milestones.

All kinds of companies are using batteries to cut expenses and reduce demand for new power plants. Over the past few years, there has been a major upward tick in the number of U.S. companies that have started installing batteries to store electricity for later use.

Last year, Cargill Inc. reported that it had installed two megawatt-hours of batteries to provide extra power at certain times of the day at its plant in Fresno, California. The batteries are expected to help save about $100,000 a year on power expenses. More recently, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. announced that it had installed batteries in six of its Southern California stores and has plans to install batteries at three additional stores this year as well as 14 more next year. The batteries provide about 35 kilowatts of power for roughly two hours, which translate into $6,000 a year on savings on its power bills. To learn more about the upward trend in battery installations and use, read on!

Continue Reading Companies Tap Into Battery Power to Cut Energy Bills

Earlier this year, Massachusetts passed legislation that will require the state’s distribution utilities to purchase carbon-free electricity from hydropower and on and offshore wind farms under long-term contracts for up to 30% of the state’s electricity supply. Despite opposition from incumbent generators and large consumers over concerns that the bill would interfere with market competition, Democratic legislators found common ground with Republican Governor Charlie Baker to enact historic “clean energy” legislation that will transform the fuels used to generate the state’s power while significantly reducing its carbon-footprint. To learn more, read on!

Continue Reading Carbon Reduction Reshapes a Regional Electricity Market