Investors in renewable energy projects may soon have access to the same tax advantages that investors in fossil fuel-based energy projects have had for decades. On October 25, Sens. Coons (D-DE) and Moran (R-KS) and Reps. Poe (R-TX) and Thompson (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan “Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act” (the Act) to promote private investment in renewable energy projects. Continue Reading Proposed MLP Parity Act Would Promote Private Investment in Renewable Energy

In December of 2016, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law the Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act (Energy Act).  One principal purpose of the Energy Act is to add a new Zero Emissions Credit to Illinois’ existing Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).  The new Zero Emissions Credit received a lot of media coverage because it is designed to provide additional compensation to Illinois’ operating nuclear power plants. Because the costs for the credit will be paid for as a pass-through charge via a tariff by Illinois’ electric utilities, Illinois businesses will undoubtedly see their costs for procuring electricity increase.

In addition to creating the credit, the Energy Act also Continue Reading Illinois Act Encourages Growth of Commercial-Scale Solar

On November 3 the U.S. House of Representatives released  the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (the Act) which contains provisions that will significantly affect production tax credits (PTC) for wind projects.  Based on a review of Section 3501 of the initial draft and conversations with legislative staffers, we expect the potential financial impact to negatively affect planned expansions in wind capacity in the United States. Continue Reading Proposed Cuts to Production Tax Credits Would Negatively Impact Wind Development

On October 25, 2017, Commissioner Keith Anderson of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUCT) released a memo regarding the draft Preliminary Order in which he expresses concerns over the application submitted by Sempra Energy to purchase Oncor Electric Delivery (the state’s largest utility) for $9.45 billion.  The memo, which results from Commissioner Anderson’s continued concern regarding the financing of the deal, requested that the Commission add to their preliminary order in order to require Sempra to clarify several issues during the hearing on the merits.

In the memo, Commissioner Anderson states Continue Reading Texas Regulators Seek Additional Clarification on Sempra/Oncor Deal

On September 1, 2017, after two years of extensive studies conducted by multiple stakeholders, Lubbock Power & Light (“LP&L”) submitted its formal application to the Public Utility Commission of Texas (“PUCT”) requesting to leave the Southwest Power Pool (“SPP”) and join the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”). Because the City of Lubbock is one of the largest municipalities ever to leave another power region and attempt to join ERCOT, the transition has been an important topic in Texas since its introduction in 2015. Continue Reading LP&L Files Formal Application to Join ERCOT

On October 31, 2017, the United States International Trade Commission (the “Commission”) announced its remedy recommendations for the Section 201 Investigation on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic (“CSPV”) Cells and Modules.

The Commission will send its report along with its remedy recommendations to the President by Continue Reading ITC Recommends Remedies in Solar Cells Section 201 Case

On October 24, 2017, the Department of the Interior (“Interior”) filed its final report summarizing its review of Interior actions that potentially burden the development or use of energy produced in the United States. The review and resulting report were required by President Trump’s Executive Order 13783, which instructs the agencies to pay “particular attention” to any actions that delay or impose additional costs on oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources. Continue Reading Substantial Changes Underway at Interior to Reduce Burdens on Oil, Natural Gas, and Coal

This week, United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a directive to end the Obama-era “sue and settle” practice of the agency.  Under the existing practice, environmental and special interest groups sue EPA to try to force the agency to take certain actions, and the agency typically settles those lawsuits by entering into private settlement agreements and public consent decrees.  Those settlements often lead to the promulgation of environmental regulations, what Pruitt calls “the results of collusion with outside groups” that, according to him, takes place behind closed doors and excludes intervenors, interested stakeholders, and affected states from the process.  Pruitt wants to put a stop to the Continue Reading Pruitt Directive Puts a Stop to EPA’s Sue and Settle Practice

As anticipated, on October 10 the EPA signed a proposed rule to repeal the Clean Power Plan rules for existing stationary sources. The proposed rule concludes that the Clean Power Plan exceeds EPA’s authority under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act by regulating emissions by (among other approaches) substituting generation from lower-emitting existing natural gas combined cycle units and zero-emitting renewable energy generating capacity.

Rather, EPA has now determined that Continue Reading Update on the Proposed Repeal of the Clean Power Plan

As we discussed in a previous post, the International Trade Commission (ITC) found that U.S. producers are being seriously injured or are threatened with serious injury by imports of silicon photovoltaic cells and modules.  As the case now advances to the remedy phase, companies, countries and trade organizations on all sides of the matter weighed in with their official recommendations for a suggested remedy.

Petitioner, Suniva, lowered the tariff suggestion from its original filing from $0.40 to a minimum of $0.24 per watt for standard crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells, with similar proposals from California-based manufacturer Auxin Solar and Oregon’s SolarWorld Americas. Continue Reading U.S. Solar Manufacturers and Foreign Parties Offer Trade Remedies to ITC