There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.

Sometimes, “mostly dead” is just a pause before successfully storming the castle.  On January 14, Governor Baker vetoed the climate bill that passed the Massachusetts Legislature on January 4 with overwhelming support (see our posts here, here, and here).  I couldn’t resist the Princess Bride reference, but despite the veto, it is probably a stretch to refer to the bill as even “mostly dead.”… More

Incoming SEC Chairman Likely To Push For More ESG Disclosure

In a recent post, we examined the growing clash within the SEC over whether to mandate and standardize disclosure by public companies of business impacts and risks associated with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) concerns.  Some at the SEC pushed for more standardized, comparable, and reliable disclosure of issuers’ exposure ESG risks.  Others, including former Chairman Jay Clayton, pushed back, arguing that current disclosure rules, which  already require companies to disclose material risks,… More

Massachusetts Legislature Passes Property Tax Reform for Solar, Wind, Energy Storage and Fuel Cells

As has been discussed in several posts here, on January 4, 2021, a conference committee of the Massachusetts House and Senate has issued a wide ranging “omnibus” energy bill “An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy (S2995).” The bill still awaits Governor Baker’s signature. Among the many features of the legislation, it would make several significant changes to Massachusetts law regulating cities and towns taxation of wind,… More

Major Climate Bill Recommits Massachusetts to Climate Goals

On January 4th, as the legislative session came to a close, both houses of the Massachusetts legislature passed “An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy.”  My colleague, Seth Jaffe, posted on the act yesterday, when the details of the bill first came out, focusing on the climate and economic impacts.  There is no doubt that this act will significantly shape Massachusetts’s path towards a net-zero future.… More

Massachusetts Releases Its 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap — It’s Going to Be Quite a Trip

Yesterday, Massachusetts released its “2050 Decarbonization Roadmap.”  I’m tempted to call it a tour de force.  At the very least, it’s jam-packed with important issues.  One of the most valuable aspects of the Roadmap is its discussion of the potential tradeoffs among the different paths towards a decarbonized economy.  Acknowledging that the Roadmap contains much more good stuff than can be summarized in a single post,… More

The Transportation Climate Initiative Gets Off the Ground: Kinda, Sorta, A Little

Today, three of the states participating in the Transportation Climate Initiative – Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island – and the District of Columbia released a Memorandum of Understanding describing a “cap and invest” program intended to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels and raise money “to accelerate the transition to an equitable, safe, and affordable low-carbon transportation sector.” Here are the big takeaways:

  • The four participating states are eight short of full participation among the TCI states. …
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Ransomware: The Latest Threat to the Nation’s Energy Supply

The Growing Threat of Ransomware

According to media reports, ransomware attacks against the manufacturing industry have more than tripled compared with last year. This dramatic rise in cyberattacks poses serious concerns about the vulnerability of critical energy infrastructure serving the nation’s electric grid and the government has responded with measures designed to thwart any such efforts.

In the manufacturing sector, a ransomware attack typically involves blocking access to a victim’s computer files.… More

Massachusetts State Auditor Issues Report Concerning The Impact of Solar Taxation Policies on Municipalities

On December 10, 2020, the Massachusetts Office of the State Auditor Division of Local Mandates (“DLM”) issued The Impact of State-Owned Land PILOT and Solar Taxation Policies on Municipalities report.  DLM Report

In part, this report focuses on the taxation of solar power installations and the use of solar PILOT agreements between solar developers and municipalities.  The report made key findings and recommendations related to Solar Facility PILOT Agreements

DLM Findings

  1. The Appellate Tax Boards’ (“ATB”) interpretation of the solar property exemption has created confusion among municipal governments.…
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Deadline Approaching for Comments on Proposal to Reform Distribution System Planning and Allocation of Interconnection Costs

When the Massachusetts DPU opened docket DPU 20-75, I described it as a proposal to fundamentally change system planning and cost allocation in Massachusetts.  The interconnection process in Massachusetts has been a perpetual wellspring of challenges for installing distributed energy resources – challenges that have grown in scope and complexity in recent years.  Opportunities to rework the basic structure of that process do not come around every day. … More

Mandating Standard ESG Risk Disclosures – Is The Tide Turning At The SEC?

Over the past decade, there has been an unprecedented shift in investor focus toward the analysis use of Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) risks and impacts in investment decision-making.  While the Securities & Exchange Commission has acknowledged this shift, it has to date resisted calls for the adoption of standards governing issuers’ disclosure of ESG risks.

Outgoing SEC Commissioner Jay Clayton has repeatedly offered his view that the SEC already requires companies to disclose material risks,… More