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Category Archives: Renewable Energy

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New York State Continues its Push to Reform State Utility Markets

Posted in Renewable Energy

On May 19, 2016, the New York State Public Service Commission (the “PSC”) released Filing No. 749 entitled “Order Adopting a Ratemaking and Utility Revenue Model Policy Framework,” [Link] which was made in furtherance of the State’s focus on utility operations increasing their renewable sources of energy in the State.  The main element of the restructuring… Continue Reading

New York Public Service Commission Issues New Consumer Protection Guidelines for Energy Service Companies

Posted in Renewable Energy

On February 23, 2016, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) issued an order setting new consumer protection guidelines for energy service companies, or “ESCOs.” An ESCO is a business supplying electricity and/or gas to a variety of industrial, residential and/or commercial consumers.  These entities regularly market themselves to consumers as a cost-sa ving alternative… Continue Reading

Multistate ZEV Plan Looks to Increase the Use of Zero-Emission Vehicles Through Infrastructure Development, Standardization, and Taxpayer Incentives

Posted in Renewable Energy

This entry was authored by Hodgson Russ summer associate Jonathan Jasinski. Jonathan is a student at Vanderbilt University Law School. On May 29, 2014, the ZEV Program Implementation Task Force issued a 32-page action plan detailing the efforts that eight states will undertake to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in use. ZEVs are… Continue Reading

Department of Commerce Announces Preliminary Decision to Impose Tariff on Solar Panels Imported From China

Posted in Renewable Energy

This entry was co-authored by Hodgson Russ summer associate Alyssa Helfer. Alyssa is a student at University of Pennsylvania Law School. Some U.S. solar equipment manufacturers have lauded the Department of Commerce’s recent decision to impose high tariffs on solar panels imported from China as the end of China’s unfair market advantage; however, from the… Continue Reading

Solyndra Lives: Controversial Department of Energy Loan Program Will Continue

Posted in Renewable Energy

Unless you have avoided the news over the past two years, you have likely heard of Solyndra—the now bankrupt California-based solar panel maker—that received $535 million in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Program Office (LPO). Since Solyndra’ s bankruptcy in 2011, some politicians have used it as a rallying cry against… Continue Reading

Obama Climate Plan Rests on EPA’s Ability to Force Technology Improvements

Posted in Renewable Energy

Can the Clean Air Act be used to force technological improvements, even if that technology is at best under construction but not actually in existence in any place? With the Obama Administration’s climate control plans, the EPA asserts the answer is yes. On September 20, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its first… Continue Reading

Lithium-Ion Battery Prices Likely to Plummet, but Cost of Electric Cars May Be Slow to Follow

Posted in Renewable Energy

Aaron Saykin is a law clerk in Hodgson Russ’s Business Litigation Practice Group. If the leading industry experts are correct, prices for hybrid and electric vehicles should start to drop, but not nearly as much as you might expect. According to the Wall Street Journal, the head of a major lithium-ion battery-maker revealed that his… Continue Reading

Solar Balance of System (BoS) Cost Continues to Be the Focus of Cost-Reduction Strategy

Posted in Renewable Energy

Solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity has significant potential to contribute to U.S. energy needs. But the progress of this low-carbon energy source requires significant cost reductions if it is to fulfill its promise and play a significant role. As the cost of PV modules becomes an increasingly smaller piece of the total solar project cost, balance… Continue Reading

Solar Power Facilities & Sales Tax Exemptions in New York State

Posted in Renewable Energy, Tax Incentives

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance recently published an advisory opinion that explains how a sales tax exemption applies to equipment and related services used in a solar power facility.  New York’s sales tax provides an exemption for “machinery or equipment used or consumed directly and predominantly in the production of …electricity…… Continue Reading

Will President Obama’s Climate Change Policy Impact the 2014 Midterm Elections?

Posted in Renewable Energy

President Obama has recently set forth an aggressive vision for addressing climate change, containing policies for both mitigating the harms and adapting to unavoidable impacts. In addition to the familiar themes of increasing renewable energy production and improving energy efficiency, the president also discusses preparation for the impacts of climate change through greater preparedness and… Continue Reading

An End to Range Anxiety

Posted in Renewable Energy

In the late 90’s, my wife and I—then two engineers working in the automotive industry—flew to Los Angeles for a wedding. While waiting in line to rent a car, we noticed a poster showing that we could rent GM’s electric car, the Saturn EV1, for only dollars more per day than other cars. We decided… Continue Reading

State Renewable Portfolio Standards Under Attack by State Legislatures

Posted in Renewable Energy

Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) are under attack. This may sound surprising to some, especially considering the upsurge in public consciousness regarding the development of clean and green technologies. But in statehouses across the United States, debates are ongoing regarding the need for RPSs, largely due to the increasingly lower prices for certain traditional energy sources,… Continue Reading

Cleantech Funding Sees Continued Support in Obama’s Proposed 2014 Budget

Posted in Renewable Energy

President Obama released his proposed “Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2014.” The budget proposal contains a significant increase in spending on clean energy, including additional support for solar, wind, geothermal, and water energy; an investment in transitioning consumers and businesses to increased energy efficient practices; and the reduction of support for conventional… Continue Reading

Wind Farm Insurance: Avoid the Risk of Loss

Posted in Renewable Energy

Wind energy is a force to be reckoned with. U.S. wind power capacity represents more than 20 percent of the world’s installed wind power with a utility scale of 60,000MW. In 2012, of the 39 states with utility-scale wind installations, Texas, California, Iowa, Illinois, and Oregon led the pack with the most wind capacity installed…. Continue Reading

Energy Legislation Contained in New York’s Budget Proposal

Posted in Renewable Energy, Tax Incentives

Governor Cuomo released his 2013-2014 New York State Executive Budget proposal for the coming fiscal year. The budget proposal contains two items of interest for those in the clean energy industry. First, the proposed legislation creates an “electric vehicle recharging equipment” tax credit. Second, the budget proposal clarifies that natural gas in any form may… Continue Reading

Proposed Amendments to New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act Do Little More Than Provide Lip Service to Sustainability

Posted in Green Building, Renewable Energy

Over the last two years, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has proposed and adopted changes to the State Environmental Quality Review Act’s (SEQRA) environmental assessment forms and implementing regulations. After more than a year of public review and comment, DEC adopted revised environmental assessment forms on January 25, 2012. Before last… Continue Reading

New York Governor Pushes for Increased Cleantech Investment

Posted in Investing, Renewable Energy

During his State of the State address on January 9, 2013, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed a number of important topics regarding the development of cleantech projects in the state. First, Governor Cuomo announced his intention to develop a $1 billion green bank in order to leverage public dollars with private-sector matching funds for… Continue Reading

Lisa Jackson to Step Down as EPA Administrator; Is a Cleantech Innovator Next in Line?

Posted in Renewable Energy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that Lisa Jackson will step down following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in January 2013. During her tenure, Ms. Jackson has drawn a great deal of attention from congressional Republicans, public interest groups, and news media outlets for EPA’s stance on various topics, including… Continue Reading

Insurance Concerns for the Cleantech Sector

Posted in Green Building, Investing, Renewable Energy

The growth of clean technology is explosive. The U.S. government injects billions of dollars into the market to support demand. For example, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes more than $100 billion for the cleantech industry and several states require cleantech policies. In the private sector, global venture capital in the cleantech… Continue Reading

Will The Production Tax Credit Get Thrown Off the Fiscal Cliff?

Posted in Renewable Energy, Tax Incentives

As a result of a bipartisan agreement last year to raise the debt ceiling and avoid national default, the country now faces billions in federal spending cuts and tax increases. The automatic cuts are referred to as “sequestration” and were designed to be draconian and unacceptable to either political party in order to make sequestration… Continue Reading

Lower Costs and State Incentives Making Solar Increasingly Affordable in Commercial and Residential Markets

Posted in Renewable Energy, Tax Incentives

For years, many commercial and residential property owners have viewed solar power as a poor financial decision due to the high costs of acquiring and installing solar panel units. However, as this recent article by Jim Witkin of The Guardian points out, the continuing decrease in cost for solar panels—estimated by the Solar Energy Industries… Continue Reading

The Obama Administration Steps Up Support for Solar Projects

Posted in Renewable Energy, Tax Incentives

On October 12, 2012, the Obama administration, through Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, finalized a program by signing a record of decision that will clear the way for utility-scale solar energy development on public lands in six western states. The details of this program are contained in a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for… Continue Reading