This past year represents a real turning point in the transition to electric vehicles, demonstrated by new major incentives and regulatory activities at both federal and state government levels and several notable accomplishments in the private sector. First, the U.S. government approved EV Infrastructure Deployment Plans for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico with an estimated $4.155 billion in funding going to states in the next five years to build out EV infrastructure.… More
Category Archives: Sustainability
Electric Buses Are On the Move
On October 26, 2022, the Biden-Harris administration announced the award of nearly $1 Billion from EPA’s Clean School Bus program for 389 school districts nationwide, through a program established in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The money will purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. These awards are the first of the five-year program that will eventually provide $5 billion for the purchase of electric school buses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,… More
Inflation Reduction Act Aims to Propel EV and Clean Fuel Vehicle Adoption
The Inflation Reduction Act looks to accelerate the adoption of clean vehicles by reforming the related tax credits in a number of key ways. Specifically, the bill does the following.
- Eliminates the 200,000 clean vehicles sold quota per manufacturer.
- Previously, Tesla, GM, and Toyota were all over the 200,000 vehicle threshold and thus ineligible for the tax credit.
- Preserves the existing up to $7,500 tax credit for new qualified vehicles including electric,…
White House Push for Increase in Sustainable Aviation Fuel
The White House has taken a strong stance in expanding the production and use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to reduce carbon emissions in the aviation industry. SAFs are liquid hydrocarbon fuels that are blended into the existing fuel supply using materials like waste, fats, cooking oils and corn. The Administration has identified the aviation industry as a climate priority in its push to reduce the country’s carbon footprint.… 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
Biden Faces Challenges at Home as U.S. Rejoins Paris Agreement
As promised, President Biden has recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate agreement. He’s also undertaken sweeping executive action to undo the previous administration’s environmental rollbacks. But after four years of lagging behind the rest of the world, the U.S. will face significant challenges in achieving meaningful emissions reductions without new legislation. And that means a tough road ahead working with an evenly divided Senate and moderates in Biden’s own party from states that remain dependent on fossil fuels.… More
There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.
Sometimes, “mostly dead” is just a pause before successfully storming the castle. On January 14, Governor Baker vetoed the climate bill that passed the Massachusetts Legislature on January 4 with overwhelming support (see our posts here, here, and here). I couldn’t resist the Princess Bride reference, but despite the veto, it is probably a stretch to refer to the bill as even “mostly dead.”… More
Tesla Petitions DPU for Solar + Storage Facility’s Right to Net Metering Credits
For the purposes of qualifying for net metering credits, section 138 of M.G.L. c. 164 defines a “Solar Net Metering Facility” as “a facility for the production of electrical energy that uses sunlight to generate electricity and is interconnected to a Distribution Company.” The statute and accompanying regulations are silent regarding the co-location of energy storage equipment with such a qualifying Solar Net Metering Facility.
National Grid has interpreted this silence to be a total prohibition on solar + storage for net metering facilities.… More
Podcast: Counsel Alicia Barton Discusses the Burgeoning Offshore Wind Industry
Counsel Alicia Barton joins the GTM Squared Interchange podcast to talk about the slow-but-steady progress in offshore wind. Click here to listen. More
Wind Power Is Now the Largest Installed Renewable: 82,000 MW And Counting
According to the American Wind Energy Association blog, installed wind capacity in the United States has reached 82,000 MW. That puts it past the 80,000 MW of installed hydropower capacity and makes wind the largest installed renewable energy resource.
While the overall number represents a significant milestone, some of the details are interesting as well. Wind represents 5.5% of US generation. Moreover,… More
Climate Change Will Increase Peak Energy Demand By More Than We Thought: More Storage, Perhaps?
In an interesting study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors predict that climate change will have a more significant impact on peak energy demand than had previously been understood. They conclude that, in a business as usual case, peak demand will increase 18%, leading to a need to spend $180B (in current dollars) to meet that increased peak demand.… More
Massachusetts Energy Bill Emerges from Senate Committee on Ways and Means
Last Friday, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means released its version of the energy bill that passed the House earlier this month. Whereas the House bill would require distribution companies to procure 1,200 MW of offshore wind power by 2027 and 9,450,000 MWH of hydroelectric power by 2022, the Senate’s version would require 2,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030 and 12,450,000 MWH of “clean energy generation” by 2018.… More
Perhaps Massive Purchases of Canadian Hydropower Would Not Be a Panacea
Governor Baker recently submitted Senate Bill No. 1965 to the Legislature. It calls for utilities to solicit long-term purchases of renewable energy. We are talking about as much as 1/3 of Massachusetts’ annual electricity use over a 15-25 year period. Two rationales are often provided to justify the large purchase of Canadian hydropower. First, cheap hydropower will ameliorate the high cost of electricity. Second, it will help Massachusetts attain its initial Global Warming Solutions Act goal of reducing GHG emissions by 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. … More
IRS Issues Favorable PLR Allowing an Individual Panel Owner in an Offsite, Net-Metered Community-Shared Solar Project to Claim the Section 25D Tax Credit
The Internal Revenue Service has issued a private letter ruling to an individual owner of solar panels installed in an offsite net-metered community-shared solar project confirming the individual’s eligibility for the income tax credit under Section 25D of the Internal Revenue Code. A redacted copy of the PLR 201536017 is available from the IRS’s website here. This PLR provides significant insight into the IRS view on the application of Section 25D to community-shared solar projects.… More
DOE Releases Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Northern Pass Project
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Northern Pass Transmission, LLC’s proposed 187-mile transmission line across the United States-Canada border in New Hampshire.
If approved, the line would have the ability to deliver 1200 MW of hydroelectric power from Quebec into southern New England—a potentially tantalizing amount of power for policymakers seeking to diversify the region’s generation portfolio and lower its GHG emissions.… More
The Third Installment of Our Paris Climate Change Negotiations Tracker
The third installment of our Paris climate change negotiations tracker is available. This may sound like a broken record, but there was not a lot of progress made in the Bonn talks earlier this month and it’s looking more and more as though it’s going to be difficult to reach a major substantive agreement in Paris.
The Second Installment of our Paris Climate Change Negotiations Tracker
As the date for the Paris climate talks moves closer, we have our second installment of our climate negotiations tracker. This episode discusses the concept of “dynamism” – being able to adjust over time just how ambitious the mitigation goals will be; the mechanism for assessing the Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs; the role of non-state actors; and how to differentiate among developed and developing countries.
There’s still a lot to do if Paris is going to be a success.