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On September 17, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued Order No. 2222 to allow for the greater participation of distributed energy resource aggregations in organized wholesale markets. The long-awaited rule is aimed at increasing competition in electric markets, enhancing grid flexibility and reliability, and leveling the playing field when it comes to organized capacity, energy, and ancillary services run by regional grid operators.
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Massachusetts Department of Energy Finalizes Solar Incentive Program

August 31, 2020 | Blog | By Kati P. Strzelczyk

This past July, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) announced a final set of regulations for the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target program (SMART). Such regulations are intended to promote cost-effective solar development throughout Massachusetts.
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Trends in COVID-Era Renewables Tax Credit Proposals

August 21, 2020 | Blog | By Judy Kwok

This article summarizes the most recent pandemic-era proposals for wind, solar, and carbon capture federal tax incentives and attempts to discern potential trends for the future.
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In February 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020-12, which provides long-awaited guidance on when a “qualified facility” or carbon capture equipment, in each case within the meaning of section 45Q, is considered to have “begun construction.” This question is of paramount significance because section 45Q allows a carbon capture credit for carbon oxide that is captured using carbon capture equipment that is originally placed in service at a qualified facility, and a qualified facility means an industrial or direct air capture facility, the construction of which began before January 1, 2024.
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New carbon emission tracking technology will quantify emissions of greenhouse gas, holding the energy industry accountable for its CO2 output. Backed by Google, this cutting-edge initiative will be known as Climate TRACE (Tracking Real-Time Atmospheric Carbon Emissions).
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A petition filed in April by the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) has requested that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reassess its authority over retail solar sales, stating that the federal government, through FERC, not individual state legislatures and public utility commissions, has exclusive jurisdiction over wholesale energy sales and should end the practice of net metering.
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Investor Advisory Committee Pushes SEC to Lead on ESG Disclosures

June 1, 2020 | Blog | By Sahir Surmeli, Thomas R. Burton, III

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee’s Investor-as-Owner Subcommittee recently voted 14-4 to approve a recommendation that urges the Commission (SEC) to begin an effort to update the reporting requirements of public companies to include material, decision-useful environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.
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In a May 21 letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, three Republican senators—Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Susan M. Collins (R-ME), and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC)—have requested that Treasury modify existing Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) guidance on “start of construction” to provide production tax credit (“PTC”) and investment tax credit (“ITC”) relief to wind and solar projects affected by COVID-19 related disruptions.
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SBA Issues Additional Guidance Regarding “Necessity” Certification Required under the CARES Act

May 13, 2020 | Blog | By Hope Foster, Karen Lovitch, Joseph Price, Sahir Surmeli

Today the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued additional guidance with respect to the “necessity” certification required under the CARES Act in connection with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The relevant guidance appears in FAQ 46, and it is very good news for borrowers who received PPP loans under $2 million (together with PPP loans to affiliates, if any). The SBA, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Treasury, has determined that a safe harbor will apply with respect to SBA’s review of the certification of necessity in connection with respect to such loans. Specifically, “[a]ny borrower that, together with its affiliates, received PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith.”
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A letter issued by the Office of Legislative Affairs at the Department of the Treasury Thursday suggests that some relief is on the way for a renewables industry that has been battered by the COVID-19 crisis and has expressed concern about fast-approaching tax credit deadlines.
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MassCEC BRIDGES Program Now Accepting Applications

May 5, 2020 | Blog | By Sahir Surmeli, Thomas Burton

The Bridging Recovery for Innovators Driving Green Energy Solutions (BRIDGES) Program, created by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), is currently accepting applications from clean energy startups in need of support in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
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With Most State Capitols Closed, Some States Press Forward on Clean Energy Legislation

May 1, 2020 | Blog | By Sahir Surmeli, Thomas R. Burton, III

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of America home, including state legislators, some states have managed to pass landmark clean energy legislation whilst prioritizing matters related to the novel coronavirus.
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Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles

March 30, 2020 | Blog | By Laura Stefani

Demand for electric vehicles (EVs) has been growing as more and more models and are coming to market, some from new automakers. One barrier to widespread adoption of EVs is the amount of charging time that is required, especially when using home or other charging systems where users must charge their vehicles overnight to obtain a full charge. This is a technical issue that the industry is in the process of resolving, chiefly by improving upon today’s much-used “plug-in” charging systems.
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In Part III of our series on the Transportation and Climate Initiative, we took a deep dive into one TCI jurisdiction, Massachusetts, to see how the plan might look once implemented. However, the broad implementation of this regional initiative is anything but certain. Despite the steps that some jurisdictions have taken in progressing towards legislation and executive action to implement the plan, many states are facing legitimate challenges that may prevent this regional program from actually going into effect. 
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