Energy Technology Connections - June 2014

by Mintz Levin - Energy & Clean Technology Matters
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New name. Same great content. In our June issue, we have changed the Energy & Clean Technology newsletter’s name to reflect the evolution of the industry and the expanding focus of the clients we serve.

In This Edition

» Leaders in the News 
» Washington Update 
» Event Highlights 
» Innovator Profile 
» Energy Navigator 
» Upcoming Events

Leaders in the News

The XL3 Hybrid Drive from XL Hybrids, a developer of hybrid electric powertrains for commercial vans and trucks, was recently selected by Inc.’s Best In Class judging panel as one of the seven best-designed, American-made products. Inc.’s Best In Class selected XL Hybribds from a field of more than 150 nominations that demonstrate exceptional functionality, a top quality design ethic, superior workmanship, and an innovative approach to solving problems. According to Inc.’s company profile of XL Hybrids, the XL3 Hybrid Drive helps companies meet sustainability goals and lower operating costs by delivering an impressive 20% reduction in fuel consumption, a 19-24% increase in vehicle power, and a 20% reduction in carbon emissions. For additional information on XL Hybrid’s selection by Best In Class as well as the other six products, please visit Inc.’s website.

On May 9, 2014, President Obama announced new executive actions that aim to create jobs and cut carbon pollution through the expanded use of solar power. As part of these initiatives, the president has made a commitment to deploying more than 850 megawatts of solar power and investing in various energy efficiency measures. In the long term, the goal is to build a skilled solar workforce, reduce energy bills for the public, and increase the affordability and accessibility of solar power. Many cutting-edge solar companies have already capitalized upon the White House’s efforts and are making huge strides under President Obama’s initiatives. As one example, Soligent, a leading solar distributor, has committed 400 megawatts of solar energy alongside its dealers, and Stellar Energy has committed 50 megawatts for farmers and agricultural companies as part of the executive action. Furthermore, Soligent has begun its new White Label Solar Program, providing training, financing, equipment, and other critical services to roofers, electricians, contractors, and those in similar trades so that they can better provide renewable products to their customer bases. Soligent’s efforts have been recognized by the White House, and more can be read about their work here.

Washington Update

On June 2, The Environmental Protection Agency proposed CO2 standards for existing power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. The proposed rule would require the nation’s fleet of existing power plants to reduce CO2 emissions 30% by 2030 from a 2005 baseline. The flexible Clean Power Plan would grant states up to three years to submit plans to meet the goal. The Clean Power Plan, one of the central tenants of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, will be implemented through a federal-state collaboration under which states identify a path forward using either current or new electricity production and pollution control programs to meet the goals of the proposed program.

The agency intends for the rule to take into account states’ diverse policy considerations, from various emission reduction opportunities using energy efficiency, renewable energy, and advanced energy technologies to already existing state programs and measures, including state renewable portfolio standards and multistate trading programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The agency also recognizes that the nation’s electricity systems—including utility regulatory structures, generation mixes, and electricity demands—differ widely across the country, and offers flexibility to states to organize plans that best suit their unique situations.

By 2020, each state will have a rate goal establishing the future carbon intensity of that state. States are required to meet a “Best System of Emission Reduction” based on four standards of current activity to reduce CO2 emissions. The building blocks of the plan are:

  • Making fossil fuel power plants more efficient
  • Using low-emitting power sources more frequently
  • Expanding zero- and low-carbon power sources
  • Using electricity more efficiently

In Washington, following an ongoing dispute over amendments, the Senate fell short May 15 of the 60 votes needed to limit debate on the Senate Finance Committee-approved tax extenders package (H.R. 3474). In a 53-40 vote, all but one Republican voted against the motion, including Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who wrote the original production tax credit and supports the overall $85 billion tax extender package. Other energy components of the package include credits for cellulosic biofuels, biodiesel and renewable diesels, home energy efficiency upgrades, new energy efficient homes and commercial buildings, alternative fuel refueling property, electric motorcycles, and fuel cell motor vehicles.

The Senate’s failure to move forward with the tax extenders package marked the second time in a week that Republicans halted bills with significant bipartisan support because of a disagreement over amendments, the first being the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency package (S. 2280), rejected on Monday, May 12. It remains unclear whether the chamber will reach a deal over amendments on either measure, though Democrats and Republicans have both left that possibility open, and many Republicans have an interest in the tax package in particular. Of course, even if the Senate does eventually clear the legislation, it is uncertain whether the House would take up either package.

For additional information, please read the ML Strategies legislative update, EPA Proposes GHG Standards for Existing Power Plants.

The weekly Energy & Environment Update from ML Strategies provides an overview of what’s happening on and off Capitol Hill and around the world that may impact energy and environmental policies and industry players. Read the Update here.

Event Highlights

We are looking forward to the 24th Annual Energy Storage: Moving the Market Conference powered by the Energy Storage Association on June 4 – 6 in Washington, DC. Focusing on energy storage policy, markets, utilities, products, projects, investors, services, and technology, the event convenes more than 700 industry professionals, manufactures, project developers, distributors, end-users, and customers from various sectors of energy storage as they uncover solutions to move the energy storage market forward. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from regulators and legislators about current and emerging markets for energy storage. For additional information on the 24th Annual Energy Storage: Moving the Market Conference powered by the Energy Storage Association, please visit the event website.

Additionally, on Wednesday, June 18, Mintz Levin is hosting a pitch-training event in our London Office for companies and individuals operating in the energy and clean technology arena. The event is being run by eco Connect, a UK-based organization that aims to better connect players in the energy and clean technology industry. The purpose of the event is to assist those who will need to pitch for investment by providing them with the skills required for success. Admission to the event is £50.00, but there is a 20% discount for our readers. Quote “ecco2233? where prompted on the event registration page.

Innovator Profile

The Los Angeles region already has one of the largest green economies in the nation. There is unprecedented economic opportunity as the country shifts its energy dependence away from fossil fuels towards sustainable renewable energy sources. As a result, the City of Los Angeles has launched the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) to accelerate the development of cleantech startups by providing flexible office space, management coaching and mentoring, and opportunities to access a growing network of experts and capital investments. LACI identifies local talent, nurtures it, and helps it get to the market, resulting in more jobs and a bigger green economy in Los Angeles. As a nonprofit organization funded by the CRA/LA and LADWP for the City of Los Angeles, LACI also partners with the city’s leading educational and research institutions, such as UCLA, USC, Caltech, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

For additional information on the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, please visit the organization’s website at http://laincubator.org/.

Energy Navigator

Please visit and bookmark our Energy Navigator to easily view all of the latest headlines from the most trusted publications reporting on developments in the energy and clean technology industries. It is housed on our blog, Energy & Clean Technology Matters.

Upcoming Events

PV America

June 23 – 25, 2014
Boston, MA

More Info »

 

Grid Edge Live 2014

June 24 – 25, 2014
San Diego, CA

More Info »

 

NextWave Greentech Investing 2014

August 2014
Menlo Park, CA

More Info »

Water Innovation Summit

September 23 – 24, 2014
Berkeley, CA

More Info »

 

Cleantech Tour of China 2014

November 2 – 7, 2014
China

More Info »

 

US Solar Market Insight 2014

December 9 – 10, 2014
San Diego, CA

More Info »

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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