The Electric Vehicle Future: Major Climate Opportunity Faces Three Critical Challenges

Amid renewed national ambitions to tackle climate change, electric vehicles (EVs) have emerged as a promising way to reduce emissions in the transportation sector, which accounts for nearly a third of greenhouse gas emissions. This approach has garnered support even from private industry, as evidenced by the flurry of car manufacturers who recently committed to all-EV fleets in the coming decades.… More

New York Legislature Passes Cross-Utility Crediting for CDG Projects

On June 10, 2021, the New York legislature passed a bill allowing customers to subscribe to certain community distributed generation (CDG) projects sited outside of their utility service territory, a practice known as “cross-utility crediting.” This bill, which aims to increase access to CDG projects particularly for those in New York City’s disadvantaged communities, awaits Governor Cuomo’s signature.

Under current rules, CDG subscribers can only enroll in projects that are located in their utility service territory.… More

TCI Update: Final Model Rule Addresses EJ, but Political Will May Be Lacking

On June 10, 2021, the Transportation Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) states released a final model rule creating a regional cap-and-trade-program to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. We wrote about the draft model rule and its implementation challenges when it was released at the beginning of March. Now, after a two-month stakeholder engagement process, the jurisdictions working to implement the program ask stakeholders to weigh in on the guidance documents,… More

New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting Sets Precedent in Section 94-c Permit Proceedings: When Major Renewable Energy Projects Need Not Comply with Local Laws

In its first such determination, on June 4, 2021, the newly formed New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (“ORES”) determined that several provisions of the Town of Barre’s (Orleans County) local law are “unreasonably burdensome” in light of the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) goals and the environmental benefits of the proposed 185 megawatt Heritage Wind Project, and therefore declined to apply them. This determination sets a precedent under the State’s Executive Law Section 94-c permitting regime for major renewable energy facilities,… More

The Government’s Swift Response to Pipeline Cyberattack: Executive Order and TSA Security Directive

On May 10, 2021, the hacking group DarkSide succeeded in shutting down the Colonial Pipeline with a ransomware attack that highlighted the vulnerability of the U.S. energy sector to cyberattacks.  The attack led to a panic among many consumers in the Southeast, resulting in a fuel shortage throughout several states.  According to media reports, Colonial Pipeline paid $4.4 million in ransom to DarkSide to get its system back online.… More

President Biden’s “Climate-Related Financial Risk” Executive Order Pushes Forward on the Administration’s ESG Commitments

On May 20, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order to address predicted financial instability in the federal government as a result of climate change. This Executive Order showcases a dramatic change in how the Biden Administration’s stance towards climate-finance and environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-based investments will differ from the previous administration.

The Executive Order, titled “Climate-Related Financial Risk” seeks to “bolster the resilience of our rural and urban communities,… More

Hot Question for Energy Storage Answered by Massachusetts Fire Appeals Board

As battery energy storage systems become a more common element of renewable projects, developers are increasingly adding the need to obtain fire code permits to their list of necessary project permits and approvals. Yet because battery storage is a relatively unknown technology for many local fire departments — who have the jurisdiction to issue fire code permits — interpretation and implementation of certain key fire code provisions codes often varies widely from municipality to municipality. … More

Cannabis and Renewable Energy in New York: Delving into the Weeds of a Budding Industry

New York’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana for adult use has set off a flurry of entrepreneurial activity as businesses seek to establish a foothold in the State’s new and lucrative market. Renewable energy, energy storage and other technologies can help growers not only minimize their electricity bills – a substantial operation expense for the typical indoor farm – but also give them a leg up in the State’s licensing process.… More

Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack Highlights Vulnerability of Nation’s Energy Sector

This post is a follow up from our recent discussion of the cyberattack that took the 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline offline last week and the growing threat ransomware poses to our nation’s energy system.  On May 10, 2021, a group called DarkSide took responsibility for the ransomware and the FBI has since confirmed the group’s involvement.  DarkSide indicated that the attack was financially, not politically, motivated. DarkSide,… More

Cyberattack Shuts Down Cross-Country Gas Pipeline System

It was not a matter of if, but when. On Friday, Colonial Pipeline Company, the largest U.S. fuel pipeline, closed its entire 5,500-mile pipeline system that carries liquid fuels, including gasoline, from the Gulf Coast of Texas to New York and surrounding communities. Colonial was forced to take these measures as result of a ransomware cyberattack. As of this Monday, Colonial’s main systems remain offline, but the company working to develop a restart plan for its pipeline system.… More