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Energy & Sustainability Washington Updates – September 2018


The House of Representatives was in recess for the month of August while the Senate, breaking with tradition, did not go into recess but remained in session, albeit with a limited amount of activity.

Energy Efficiency of Blockchain

On August 21, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on “Energy Efficiency of Blockchain and Similar Technologies,” with testimony from Paul Skare, Chief Cyber Security and Technical Group Manager at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Thomas Golden, Program Manager, Technology Innovation at the Electric Power Research Institute; Clair Henly, Managing Director of the Energy Web Foundation; Arvind Narayanan, Associate Professor at Princeton University; and Robert Kahn, President and CEO at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives. Committee Chairwoman Murkwowski (R-AK) said that “utilities are looking at blockchain as a way to boost consumer engagement and grid efficiency through secure energy transactions platforms.” Prepared testimony from witnesses can be found here.

Offshore Wind for Territories Act

On August 10, Rep. Bordallo (D-GU) introduced the Offshore Wind for Territories Act (H.R. 6665) which amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to apply to territories of the United States, to establish offshore wind lease sale requirements, and to provide dedicated funding for coral reef conservation. The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Soto (D-FL), Gonzalez-Colon (R-FL), Radewagen (R-AS), and Sablan (D-MP).

Executive Branch

Final Rule for LNG Exports

On July 24, the Department of Energy announced a final rule to provide for faster approval of applications for small-scale exports of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), from US export facilities. The final rule took effect on August 24 and can be found here.

DOE Funding for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies

On August 14, the Department of Energy announced the selection of 28 projects totaling $38 million to support early-stage research and development of innovative hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Selections span three topic areas: 1) Platinum Free Catalysts to Lower Fuel Cell Costs, 2) Hydrogen Production and Delivery Infrastructure Research, and 3) Innovative Fuel Cell Concepts. The full list of selected projects can be found here.

RFI for Offshore Wind Energy R&D Facilities

On August 3, the Department of Energy announced a Request for Information (RFI) seeking public input on existing capabilities and needs of national-level offshore wind research and development test facilities. DOE is seeking information on 1) facilities that can conduct unique offshore wind R&D in the United States, 2) needed upgrades to existing facilities or new facilities for the United States to be at the cutting edge of offshore wind R&D, and 3) specific tests and analyses that could be carried out at existing, upgraded, or new facilities in order to advance the US offshore wind industry. The RFI can be found here.


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Thomas R. Burton, III

Member / Chair, Energy & Sustainability Practice

Tom Burton has helped to shape the clean energy industry by drawing on his passion for innovation. As a Mintz attorney, Tom counsels investors, entrepreneurs, and Fortune 100 companies. He also guides start-up organizations and accelerators to foster the next generation of energy leaders.

Sahir Surmeli

Member / Co-chair, Energy & Sustainability Practice

Sahir Surmeli is a Mintz business counselor who advises companies, boards, entrepreneurs, investment banks, and venture and private equity investors as they build and grow companies. He handles public offerings, 144A and private financings, acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic partnerships.