Husch Blackwell partners with the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Alliance (TREIA) once again to present a five-part webinar series focused on the Texas renewable energy industry. The final installment in the New Directions webinar series will discuss the upcoming 2019 regular session of the Texas Legislature and what’s in store for renewable energy.

 

Register for the Texas Legislative Preview webinar to be held on Monday, December 17, 2018 at 12:00pm – 1:00pm CST.

Presenters include:
Jeffrey Clark, President, The Wind Coalition
Mark Vane, Principal, Husch Blackwell Strategies
Chris Reeder, Partner, Husch Blackwell (moderator)

If you missed the previous installments of the New Directions webinar series, the recording for each installment can be found here or you can download the podcast.

May: ERCOT Renewable Energy Market Outlook (Download podcast)

June: Financing Renewable Energy Development (Download podcast)

August: Storage, New Technologies, and Demand Response: Regulatory Outlook and Integration (Download podcast)

October: ERCOT Market Performance: Summer 2018 (Download podcast)

In the latest of the eight-part Renewable Energy Projects Webinar Series, Husch Blackwell’s Chris Reeder and Linda Walsh will discuss the federal and state regulatory approvals often required for typical wind and solar energy projects. They will address the circumstances under which such regulatory approvals are required and the timing needed to apply for and receive the approvals. In addition, they will highlight the issues that commonly arise throughout the approval process.

Register here for the webinar on December 14, 2018, 12:00pm – 1:00pm CST.

If you missed previous installments of the Renewable Energy Projects Webinar Series, a description and link to the recording for each previous installment is listed below.

#1 Transaction Overview – In this first installment of the series, Husch Blackwell attorneys walk through the main stages of a development project at a high level. After a wild end to 2017 and a new tax code, the renewable energy industry adjusted for 2018 and beyond. Margins narrowed and companies searched for efficient, effective ways to cut costs. Listen now.

#2 EPC, O&M and Asset Management Agreements – In the second installment of the series, Husch Blackwell attorneys focus on best practices with respect to Engineering Procurement and Construction (“EPC”) Contracts, Operations and Maintenance (“O&M”) Agreements and Asset Management Agreements. The conversation provides an overview of key agreement provisions and how they can protect against recurrent issues as well as special considerations for negotiating and administering these agreements. Listen now.

#3 Transaction Structuring – HB attorneys discuss how renewable energy project developers can best position themselves during a project’s acquisition and development phases for a successful financing process. Presenters summarize the current PTC and ITC landscape and key qualification components, as well as examine the commercial and legal considerations a developer must keep in mind to ensure that the development and construction of its project stays on schedule and eligible for 100% of the value of available tax credits. Listen now.

#4 Site Assembly – In the fourth installment, HB attorneys discuss best practices for early- and mid-stage site control efforts that will save time and money in later stages, as well as how to avoid common pitfalls. Presenters provide a practical checklist and other tools that can be used during site development to help ensure that due diligence efforts at financing or sale of the project go smoothly. Listen now.

#5 Project Permitting – Husch Blackwell Environmental attorneys discuss the federal, state and local environmental and development permits required for typical wind and solar energy projects. They address the circumstances that trigger the need for a permit, the studies and assessments that are generally performed to evaluate the applicability of permitting requirements, and the timing to apply for and obtain permits. Listen now.

#6 Project Acquisition and Disposition – HB attorneys discuss current issues that arise in the acquisition and disposition of renewable energy projects and how to increase efficiencies throughout the life of the transaction. They address common issues that typically require significant negotiation between the parties, as well as novel issues that require thoughtful consideration, planning and negotiation. Listen now.

#7 Federal and State Regulatory Approvals – Register for the webinar on December 14, 2018, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Central.
More Info and Registration link

#8 – Purchase Power Agreements (Coming in January 2019)

Husch Blackwell’s Daniel Fanning and Coty Hopinks-Baul provide interesting insights in the latest post from the CWA Series on whether or not a permit is required for discharges to groundwater under the Clean Water Act.
Read more here.

 

Contact Us

For more information about how these decisions may affect your organization, please contact Coty Hopinks-Baul or Daniel Fanning of Husch Blackwell’s Environmental team.

In the United States, the largest category for water consumption is electric power generation. Similarly, the largest demand for electricity is water extraction and distribution (Department of Energy). This strong interdependence drives great opportunity in the Energy-Water Nexus (EWN) to impact both energy and water consumption.

As a proud supporter of the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC), we are pleased to advertise their upcoming Energy Water Nexus Technical Conference, being held this Friday, November 16. It is a unique conference specifically designed with an eye towards industrial water and energy users, and will focus on key crosscutting technologies that drive both energy and water efficiency and affordability in manufacturing processes and utility operations.

The conference will feature keynote addresses by Weston Berg from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and Sara Beaini from the Energy Power Research Institute. Panel topics will include:

  • The Policy Context of the Energy Water Nexus in Manufacturing;
  • Energy and water savings created by membrane and AC drive technology in the manufacturing process and the barriers to wide-adoption;
  • Fostering an Energy Water Nexus focus within a company: Case Studies.

For more information or to register, please click here.

As we previously reported, major changes are going into effect tomorrow concerning California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, known as Proposition 65. This law requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in products in their homes or workplaces, that are released into the environment, or that are present at certain public locations. On August 30, new regulations go into effect that impact the obligations of businesses in order to comply with this law. For more details, see our prior post on this topic, and do not hesitate to reach out to us to help guide you through the Prop 65 changes and how they impact your business.

 

On August 21, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a prepublication copy of its proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. If adopted, the rule would (1) establish emission guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions from existing electric utility generating units (EGUs); (2) revise the regulations governing how states implement the emission guidelines; and (3) revise the New Source Review (NSR) program to allow modification to existing EGUs without triggering permitting requirements.

The Clean Power Plan regulations adopted by the Obama administration would have limited GHG emissions by directing states to reduce emissions by applying a combination of three “building blocks” as the best system of emission reduction (BSER), which consisted of:

1)    Improving heat rate at affected coal-fired steam generating units;

2)    Substituting increased generation from lower-emitting natural gas combined cycle units for decreased generation from higher-emitting affected steam generating units; and

3)    Substituting increased generation from new zero-emitting renewable energy generating capacity for decreased generation from affected fossil fuel-fired generating units.

Continue Reading EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy Rule Would Limit Emissions Through Heat Rate Improvements at Existing Power Plants

Federal environmental requirements and regulations have been relaxed (or are proposed to be relaxed) since President Trump was elected, but those environmental regulatory changes have not yet realized benefits for renewable energy and transmission project permitting.

As mainstream media sources like the New York Times have reported, the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken environmental laws has been somewhat substantial; to date, 67 environmental actions have been targeted by the administration, including 33 that already have been overturned, 24 with rollbacks in progress, and 10 regulations in limbo. However, most of those regulatory changes are unrelated to transmission or renewable energy project permitting. And even those regulatory changes that are loosely related to permitting haven’t yet impacted the speed with which permits are issued by federal agencies (or state agencies with delegated authority to implement federal programs), or the number of permits issued (versus denied). However, the key here is that the impacts haven’t been realized yet; permit processing efficiency and issuance are likely to improve as time goes on, particularly since some of the changes are directly intended to speed up permitting. Continue Reading Trump Administration Actions to Relax Environmental Regulations Should Eventually Benefit Renewable Energy and Transmission Project Permitting

As a reminder, the State of Texas’s new stormwater construction general permit is now in effect.  The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) has renewed its General Permit to Discharge under the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit, Permit No. TXR150000, which authorizes discharges from construction sites into surface water in the state.  Operators of large construction activities that were covered under the prior permit and continue to operate must now submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to renew authorization within 90 days of the March 5 effective date.  For more information on these changes, see our prior blog post on this topic.