The Public Utility Commission of Texas (Commission) plays a vital role in regulating the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) wholesale market, and retail energy markets throughout all of Texas. This article identifies key projects and initiatives at the Commission that are ongoing in 2022 and have a major impact on the electric power grid and energy markets in Texas. The Commission continues to move rapidly as it implements the 2021 post-Uri legislative mandates, and we expect it to continue changing regulations affecting a wide swath of the market and the ERCOT system to bolster reliability.  Everyone engaged in the ERCOT market should continue to pay close attention to these reforms.  Husch Blackwell is following these key matters at the Commission and represents or advises clients on many of them. We are happy to answer any questions related to any item outlined below.  

Continue Reading Update on 2022 Activity at the Texas Public Utility Commission

The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released its most recent proposal for controlling greenhouse gas emissions produced by the oil and gas industry earlier this month. The supplemental proposal builds upon the comments received by EPA in response to its proposed emission-control rules issued under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) on November 15, 2021. In particular, the supplemental proposal revises and expands the stringent emissions control program introduced one year ago for new and existing sources. The supplemental proposal, however, raises questions regarding the implementation of existing greenhouse gas reporting and fee requirements under the Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”). 

Continue Reading Updated Methane Regulations for Oil and Gas Facilities: Key Takeaways from the EPA’s Supplemental Proposal and Request for Comments

Regulated energy sector entities routinely submit confidential and proprietary business information to Texas state agencies, including the Railroad Commission (Texas’s incongruously named oil and gas regulator), the General Land Office, the Public Utility Commission, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas  (“ERCOT”), often assuming it is “for regulators’ eyes only.” But Texas agencies have limited power to prevent the disclosure of information sought pursuant to the Public Information Act (“PIA”).

Continue Reading Preventing Texas Regulators from Disclosing Energy Companies’ Proprietary Information

Confirming landowners’ signatory authority is crucial when preparing renewable energy leases or conducting due diligence in a renewable energy financing transaction. It is not enough to rely on a landowner’s word that he or she owns a proposed project area and has the right to encumber it with a renewable energy lease. While some leases include language certifying that the landowner executing the agreement has signatory authority, failing to properly confirm that authority can result in title issues, potentially requiring lease amendments or resulting in the denial of title insurance.

Continue Reading Sign Here: Signatory Authority in Texas Renewable Energy Land Leases

On November 3, 2022, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued three notices (“November 3 Notices”) requesting public input on the climate and clean energy incentives contained in the Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”). The November 3 Notices request comments by December 2, 2022, on the amendments, extensions, and enhancements of the IRA’s energy tax benefits. The November 3 Notices follow an initial set of six notices that were issued by the IRS on October 5, 2022 to seek public input on other aspects of the energy tax incentives contained in the IRA.

Continue Reading IRS Seeks Public IRA Comments by December 2

Major changes are ahead for the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC). In 2020, New Mexico voters approved a Constitutional Amendment changing the PRC from five elected commissioners to three appointed commissioners. Historically, PRC commissioners were elected to serve four-year staggered terms; however, beginning January 1, 2023, PRC commissioners will be appointed to serve staggered six-year terms. The commissioners will be appointed through a nomination process involving a PRC Nominating Committee, the governor, and the state senate.

Continue Reading From Elected to Appointed: New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to Undergo Major Changes Effective January 2023

On September 21, 2022, the Senate passed the Kigali Amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol (which had been signed by former President Obama in 2016) by a vote of 69 to 27, reaffirming U.S. commitment to the reduction of hydrofluorocarbons (“HFCs”) through multiple processes (some of which are already causing shifts in import and export markets, as well as in the consumer market).   

Continue Reading Kigali Amendment Reaffirms U.S. Environmental Commitment

On September 22, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $6-7 billion Funding Opportunity to begin the development of a nationwide program for the planning, construction, and operation of commercial-scale Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs, known colloquially as “H2Hubs.” H2Hubs are defined as “a network of clean hydrogen producers, potential clean hydrogen consumers, and connective infrastructure located in close proximity.” The DOE’s effort results from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) passed in 2021. The BIL appropriates $8 billion over a five-year period (2022-2026) and amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to establish a program to develop four to ten regional H2Hubs.

Continue Reading The Pathway to U.S. Hydrogen Development is Established

In Texas, title insurance forms are promulgated by the Texas Department of Insurance (the “TDI”), with policy types, premium amounts, and the issuance of endorsements being regulated by standardized procedural and rate rules. Thus, title deliverables required for debt and equity financing transactions tend to be generally uniform in Texas renewable energy transactions.

Continue Reading Common Title and Survey Deliverables in Texas Energy Transactions

On August 25, 2022, Husch Blackwell’s Energy team kicked off the first of a series of webinars focusing on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Attendees were able to submit their most-pressing questions related to changes in investment and production tax credits. We have summarized the Q/A on this timely topic.

Continue Reading Energy Tax Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 Audience Questions