DOE Announces $4 Billion Loan Guarantee Program for Renewable and Energy Efficiency Projects

This month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new solicitation for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, to provide loan guarantees of up to $4 billion.  The solicitation identifies five technology areas of focus: advanced grid integration and storage; drop-in biofuels; waste-to-energy projects;  existing facility enhancements; and efficiency improvement projects. The loan guarantee program is intended to help project developers secure commercial financing by mitigating some of the risks associated with emerging technology projects. The above categories, which cover projects ranging from methane-capture and bio-refineries to retrofitting wind turbines and improving energy efficiency in homes, are meant to… More

IRS Isues Notice Clarifying Sequester’s Effect on Cash Grant, ITC and PTC

As explained in a previous post, the sequester beginning on March 1, 2013 required Section 1603 Payments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 face cuts of 7.2 or 8.7 percent dependent upon the effective date of the Award Letter. While guidance the Internal Revenue Service recently released clarifies how to calculate tax treatment of Section 1603 Payments affected by the recent sequester, it fails to provide any certainty beyond September 30, 2014 for planning purposes.

Specifically, the IRS states in its June Notice 2014-39 that sequestration cuts do not affect the amount of Section 1603 Award… More

Massachusetts DPU Proposes Time Varying Rates for Basic Service

Many in the clean energy community in Massachusetts are focused on the state legislature: the end of the legislative session is approaching and significant clean energy legislation (relating to clean energy procurement and net metering) is still in process. But the Department of Public Utilities (the DPU) has been busy, and two Orders issued earlier this month could dramatically change the way end consumers in Massachusetts use and pay for electricity – without any legislative changes.

In D.P.U. 14-04-B, the DPU proposed that “Basic Service” – the default electricity service provided by electric distribution… More

Massachusetts DPU Issues a Strong Order on Grid Modernization

You don’t have to read far in the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities’ recent Order on Grid Modernization, D.P.U. 12-76-B , to get a sense of what a significant step the DPU believes it is taking:

With this Order, the Department launches a new energy future for Massachusetts. The modern electric system that we envision will be cleaner, more efficient and reliable, and will empower customers to manage and reduce their energy costs. The modern electric system will build on the Patrick Administration’s progress towards our clean energy goals by maximizing the integration of solar, wind, and other… More

SREC II Carves Out More Room for Community Solar

The Massachusetts DOER has released its revised regulations amending the State’s RPS to implement the next phase of support for solar in the Commonwealth. Redlined pages are available here.

From here the regulations will be reviewed at most for 30 days by the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy which may provide comments to DOER. After review of any such comments by DOER, DOER may make additional changes in response to those comments and, thereafter, the regulations will become final.

As for the content, the Commonwealth has significantly broadened its definition of a “Community Shared… More

Governor Patrick Announces Climate Change Preparedness Initiatives: Not Everyone’s On Board

Originally posted on January 16, 2014 in Law and the Environment

herald-re-climate-change-285x300On Tuesday, Governor Patrick announced a series of climate change preparedness initiatives, including about $50 million in funds for a variety of programs.  Before summarizing the plan, I’ll note that Massachusetts appears to have jettisoned “adaptation” as the descriptor for programs designed to mitigate the effects of  climate change.  We are no longer “adapting”.  Now, like the Boy Scouts, we will be “prepared.”  Shrewd call.

The biggest piece of the pie with be $40 million for a municipal… More

Massachusetts Issues Draft SREC II Regulations: Headed Toward 1.6GW of Solar By 2020?

Originally posted on January 14, 2014 in Law & the Environment


Last year, Governor Patrick announced a goal of 1.6GW of solar electricity in Massachusetts by 2020; a goal that requires more than 1.2GW of new solar in the next six years.  The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has now issued draft regulations for its SREC II program.  The regulations are too complicated to summarize in a blog post, but you can read the details in our client alert.

One tidbit for the purely environmental lawyers among our readers — the draft regulations… More

Is Renewable Energy At Parity With Fossil Fuels? Not Quite, But Certainly Closer

Originally posted on January 8, 2014 in Law and the Environment.


According to ClimateWire on Tuesday, a Minnesota state administrative law Judge’s recommendation to the state Public Utility Commission may be the first time that a solar project has been declared cost-competitive against natural gas in an open bidding situation. That might be a little bit hyperbolic, given that Xcel Energy, which would be purchasing the power, has an obligation to significantly increase its solar portfolio and the decision recognized the economic value of the solar renewable energy credits that the recommended winner, Geronimo Energy,… More

Wind Turbines Still Don’t Hurt Property Values

1184115_60881666A report  published last week by researchers at the University of Connecticut and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory looked at more than 122,000 home sales that occurred between 1998 and 2012 in proximity to current or proposed wind turbines in Massachusetts.  Like the study discussed in this space last summer 

(which shared a co-author), it found no statistical evidence that wind turbines impact the value of nearby properties.  The report, supported by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, is obviously of particular interest here in Massachusetts.  Its authors intend for… More

Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities Opens Investigation on Electric Vehicles and Electric Vehicle Charging

On December 23rd, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (the Department) issued an Order opening an investigation into electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging .  That Order, issued the same day as the Department’s straw-proposal on grid modernization , looks to be a response to recommendations made by the Grid Modernization Stakeholder Working Group  that the Department conduct a separate investigation into policies to facilitate and accommodate adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs).  At this stage, the investigation is largely open-ended and seeks to explore the proper role for the Department with respect to this important technology. … More