New York Public Service Commission Sends Utilities’ Transmission Planning Proposals Back to the Drawing Board

As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) solicits comments regarding fundamental changes to its regulation of the country’s electricity transmission systems; as the temperature rises in New York State regarding transmission system upgrades needed to accommodate the enormous required influx of renewable electricity both from offshore wind and from upstate sources to downstate need; and after the Legislature required in the spring of 2020 that the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) order the state’s regulated utilities to reimagine its transmission system,… More

U.S. Senate Infrastructure Bill Proposes Big Dollars for Wide Ranging New Grant Program For Electric Vehicle Charging and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure

On August 10, 2021, the United States Senate passed the much anticipated bipartisan infrastructure bill.  While not yet law, the bill now advances to the House of Representatives for further consideration.  The House of Representative is expected to vote on the bill by the end of September.  This post addresses the bill, in its current form.

The bill allocates $7.5 billion dollars to be spent over five years to create alternative fuel infrastructure. … More

Climate Change Is Widespread, Rapid, and Intensifying — And Terrifying

The IPCC has released its Sixth Assessment Report on the physical science basis of climate change.  I would say that it makes sobering reading, except any sane person’s immediate response to AR6 would be to go out and have any number of stiff drinks.  Here are a number of the lowlights:

It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.… More

Will More Money Managers Start Voting Shares Based on Climate Issues? Fidelity International Gets in the Game

In the wake of Engine No.1’s successful effort to elect more climate-friendly directors at Exxon and the increasingly aggressive action by BlackRock to take climate into account in its investment management decisions, the whole world is watching for further evidence of capitalism’s efforts to save the world from, well, capitalism.

The latest news is from Fidelity International (not to be confused with Fidelity Management and Research),… More

D.C. Circuit 2019 RVO Decision is a Mixed Bag for Biofuels

The biofuels industry has had a challenging season in the courts. Several weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that had limited EPA’s ability to grant waivers to small refiners that allow them to escape compliance obligations under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program. Then, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (the D.C.… More

New York Utility Company Seeks Proposals to Electrify Buildings Instead of Building More Gas Pipelines

On July 12, 2021, in a landmark utility effort to electrify New York City’s building stock, Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for non-pipeline solutions (NPS). NPSs avoid the need for investment in pipelines and traditional distribution system infrastructure by meeting on-system natural gas demand with alternative solutions like energy efficiency and heat pumps. Con Ed’s RFP seeks customer-sited load relief solutions that enable the abandonment of leak-prone pipes through full building electrification while maintaining system reliability.… More

Maine, Massachusetts, and Maryland Expand Utility Regulators’ Mandate to Include Climate Considerations, Marking an Emerging Trend by State Legislatures

Maine, Massachusetts, and Maryland all passed legislation this summer that expands the raison d’etre of state utility regulatory bodies to include addressing the impacts of climate change. These efforts mark an emerging trend of legislative bodies directing utility regulators to help advance climate policies. This enhanced vision of utility regulation gives me hope in the fight against climate change.

Despite the fact that utility regulators play a huge role in our energy sector–the sector primarily responsible for historical U.S.… More

NESCOE Report Advances Governors’ Demands for Climate Leadership at ISO-NE

The managers of the New England States Committee on Electricity (“NESCOE”) recently released a report (“Report”) to New England’s governors to advance its shared vision for a clean, affordable, and reliable 21st-century electric grid. The Report is the latest development that highlights the growing tension between the states’ decarbonization policies on the one hand, and ISO-NE’s wholesale market rules, on the other. The Report calls for critical changes to three elements of New England’s regional energy system: wholesale market design,… More

Local Communities and Environmental Groups Bring Challenge to the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting’s Regulations for Siting and Permitting Major Renewable Energy Facilities

On June 29, 2021, a cohort of New York local governments (including many where large-scale solar projects are currently proposed), community organizations, and avian interest groups filed a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court (the State’s trial-level court) against the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (“ORES”).  ORES is required to respond to the allegations no later than 30 days from receipt.

The ORES was created under the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act,… More

Biden Administration Targets Chinese Solar Power Industry Over Human Rights Abuses

As predicted in our recent article in Power Magazine related to international trade risks facing the clean energy industry, the Biden administration took action against several Chinese companies involved in the solar power industry over alleged human rights abuses.

On June 24, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued a Withhold-Release Order (“WRO”) on silica-based products and their derivatives (such as polysilicon) produced by Hoshine Silicon Industry Co.… More