Massachusetts Wind, Solar, Energy Storage and Fuel Cell Property Tax Reform Enacted as Part of Climate Bill

Following up on our prior post on this topic here, now Governor Baker has signed the comprehensive climate law passed by the legislature.

Now, as a session law, Chapter 8 of the Acts of 2021 implements, without modification, the property tax reforms sought in the Act as it was earlier passed by the legislature.

To recap:

The law makes several significant changes to Massachusetts law regulating cities’… More

Federal Offshore Wind Plan Boosts State Efforts in Massachusetts

As President Biden announces his blueprint for expanding the use of offshore wind (OSW) power, Massachusetts hopes to become an industry hub. Those plans will certainly be facilitated by the new federal OSW policies.

On March 29, the Biden administration published a major plan to mobilize offshore wind development, particularly along the East Coast. The plan aims to construct 30,000 megawatts of OSW generation by 2030,… More

SEC on ESG Risk Disclosure – Moving From “If” to “How”

This is the fifth in our First 100 Days series examining important trends in white collar law and investigations in the early days of the Biden administration. Our previous entry discussed investigations under the new Congress.  Up next, a deep dive on liability under the False Claims Act.

As the Biden Administration began to take shape, many observers (including here at Foley Hoag) predicted that the SEC would move toward requiring standardized disclosures by issuers regarding their ESG risks and opportunities. … More

Is a New Electricity Grid in Our Future? President Biden Thinks So.

The White House this morning released a fact sheet on “The American Jobs Plan,” also known as President Biden’s infrastructure plan.  There’s a lot in here (as there should be for a couple of trillion dollars!), so today I’ll focus on energy infrastructure.  Here are the highlights: 

  • $100B to “build a more resilient electric transmission system.”  This includes “the creation of a targeted investment tax credit that incentivizes the buildout of at least 200 gigawatts of high-voltage capacity power lines.”
  • Creation of a “Grid Deployment Authority” within DOE to facilitate transmission line siting.…
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The Massachusetts Climate Bill is Very Much “Not Dead”

In January, when Governor Baker vetoed the Legislature’s effort to go big on climate, my colleague Zach Gerson made clear that the bill was not even “mostly dead.”  I am pleased to say that Zach’s diagnosis was correct.  The climate bill is very much alive.

Last week, the Legislature passed a new version of the bill, which adopted most of the Governor’s technical suggestions and almost none of his substantive changes. … More

DPU Issues Memorandum on Additional Procedural Steps in its Distributed Generation Interconnection Docket

On March 10, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued a memorandum regarding additional procedural steps in its distributed generation (DG) interconnection docket – D.P.U. 19-55.   As we previously discussed, this docket seeks to investigate issues associated with interconnection of DG projects.  As next steps for this docket, the DPU memorandum notes:

  • Cost allocation considerations for DG interconnection costs will proceed under DPU docket 20-75;…
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Is BlackRock Starting to Walk the Walk?

Climate risk is investment risk.

So says BlackRock.  And when you manage $8.7 trillion, people tend to listen to what you say.  I’ve been noting for some time that BlackRock’s statements seemed to presage increasing shareholder activism with respect to climate.  And yet there have been skeptics.  As noted in ClimateWire last week, BlackRock’s actions have not always seemed to match its rhetoric.… More

DOER Releases Proposed Procurement Process for Clean Peak Energy Certificates

On January 22, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”) released a proposed procurement process for clean peak energy certificates. See our former posts on the clean peak standard final regulations and implementation for more information on the program. DOER is accepting comments on the proposed procurement process until February 19, 2021, and a DOER summarized Questions and Answers document is available here.… More

Supreme Court to Decide Eminent Domain Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a case that will have far-reaching consequences for interstate pipeline projects.

The case, PennEast Pipeline Co. v. New Jersey, involves a FERC-approved natural gas pipeline that would pass through New Jersey and Pennsylvania. PennEast invoked the federal government’s eminent domain power under the Natural Gas Act to claim easements over New Jersey-owned lands.… More

Biden Faces Challenges at Home as U.S. Rejoins Paris Agreement

As promised, President Biden has recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate agreement. He’s also undertaken sweeping executive action to undo the previous administration’s environmental rollbacks. But after four years of lagging behind the rest of the world, the U.S. will face significant challenges in achieving meaningful emissions reductions without new legislation. And that means a tough road ahead working with an evenly divided Senate and moderates in Biden’s own party from states that remain dependent on fossil fuels.… More