The momentum behind offshore wind has continued to grow since our February 2021 post on the topic. Last week, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced plans to open seven more offshore wind leases by 2025 off both coasts of the U.S. These potential leases will cover projects in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Maine, and off the Mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas, California, and Oregon. The agency’s announcement follows a March 2021 commitment by the Biden Administration to deploy 30 gigawatts (30,000 megawatts) of offshore wind by 2030. The agency’s announcement also came on the same day the Department of Energy set aside $13.5 million to support continued research on the impact of offshore wind on birds, bats, and marine mammals. Continue Reading From Sea to Shining Sea, U.S. Continues Renewable Energy Push with Biden Administration’s Latest Commitment to Offshore Wind

As the cold weather season approaches, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) are taking action to prevent a repeat of the devastating electric power outages that rocked Texas and the Midwest at the beginning of this year. Continue Reading FERC and NERC Take Action on Winter Readiness

At the beginning stages of a solar project, developers must be aware of oil and gas operations on or near the project area. However, operations that occur near but not directly on a site plan are often overlooked. If overlooked, these oil and gas operations can cause significant delays and costs when developing and financing a new project. However, some initial research and due diligence at the beginning of a greenfield development project can usually protect the project from the types of issues and costs associated with oil and gas operations located near but not directly on the site plan, which will allow the project to stay on schedule and budget. Continue Reading The Implications of Drilling Units Created by Pooling on Solar Development

During the 87th regular legislative session, the Texas Legislature passed several bills to address energy-related issues resulting from Winter Storm Uri. Together, the legislation required an overhaul of the ERCOT board of directors, expanded the Public Utility Commission of Texas (“PUCT”) from three to five members, imposed weatherization requirements on generation and transmission assets in ERCOT and on certain components of natural gas infrastructure, and directed a redesign of the ERCOT market to ensure grid reliability. As of September 1st , all of these laws were effective. Continue Reading Legislative Check-In on Energy-Related Mandates from the 87th Regular Session

Farm leases are a common occurrence on land being developed for solar and wind energy projects, due to the size and rural nature of land sought for development. While title searches will discover written leases that are made of record with the county clerk, farm leases are often verbal “handshake” agreements, meaning they go undetected during a standard title search. It is always recommended to conduct a site visit and inquire as to the existence of any grazing or crop operations when entering into a real estate contract for land intended for development. If a farm tenant is leasing a portion of the project property, such lease may need to be terminated, particularly in the context of a solar energy project that will require more surface use of the land. Continue Reading Terminating Oral Farm Leases

Renewable energy accounted for 11% of all energy generated in Illinois last year. That may sound low at first glance, but that percentage ranks Illinois second in the Midwest for installed renewable energy power and fifth in the nation for installed wind power with almost 4,000 MW of wind and 60 MW of solar. Nonetheless, the State of Illinois needs to increase the pace of renewable development and generation if it wants to maintain its reputation as a renewable energy leader in the U.S.  The State took steps last week to do just that.  On Wednesday, September 15, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed SB 2408, known as the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (“Act”), establishing one of the most comprehensive state-level renewable energy initiatives to date. The Act’s highlights include $580 million a year for wind and solar development to increase Illinois’ renewable energy standard to 40% by 2030 and 50% by 2045.

Continue Reading New Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act Adds Fuel to Renewable Energy Development in Illinois

Companies with ESG policies – including financing parties investing in renewable energy projects – should assess the impact of Texas Senate Bill 19 on their government contracting opportunities, and should expect and prepare for heightened state regulation of corporate firearm policies in the future.

Effective September 1, 2021, Texas Senate Bill 19 prohibits government entities from contracting with companies that have policies that restrict business with the firearms industry. The bill specifically targets banks and other financial institutions that have at least ten employees and are seeking government contracts of at least $100,000. Under the bill, such institutions are required to provide written verification that they do not have practices, policies, guidance, or directives that “discriminate” against a firearm entity or firearm trade association. Continue Reading The Government Contracting and Energy Implications of Texas Senate Bill 19: Navigating State Regulation of Corporate Firearm Policies

What if you could substitute a renewable battery powered motor for the internal combustion engine just twelve years after its invention? At minimum, we would not be faced with the challenge of limiting greenhouse gas emissions. For all of the benefits the internal combustion engine has brought humanity, its environmental consequences are not among them. Continue Reading The Argument for Mining Bitcoin from Clean Energy and Waste Energy Streams

The Texas legislature recently passed Senate Bill 760 (“SB 760”). SB 760, which takes effect on September 1, 2021, relates to the decommissioning of solar power facilities.  Under the new law, solar companies must now comply with similar decommissioning requirements as those previously imposed on wind companies during the 2019 legislative session.  SB 760 requires solar power facility agreements to now provide that the grantee is responsible for removing its solar power facilities from the landowner’s property. Continue Reading Texas Legislature Expands Decommissioning Requirements to Solar Power Facility Agreements with Enactment of SB 760

The colocation of energy storage facilities with solar and wind projects has emerged as a popular trend within the renewable energy field. Many Independent System Operators have reported an increase in hybrid resources projects in their interconnection queues in recent years. For example, CAISO (California Independent System Operator) reported that hybrid projects constitute two-thirds of all solar projects in its interconnection queue.

Continue Reading Real Estate Concerns for Hybrid Renewable Energy Projects