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Mintz Energy & Clean Technology Connections - September 2013

By: Sahir Surmeli

In the September edition of Energy & Clean Technology Connections, we’ve gathered recent information from a wide variety of sources in an effort to keep you abreast of what’s new in the world of clean energy. We draw your attention to the latest industry developments, news from local governments to Capitol Hill, grant opportunities, and upcoming events. 

On September 25 in Cambridge, MA, Ultra Light Startups will be hosting the Future Energy Forum. The event is aimed at fostering energy technology startup companies in their early stages by allowing them to pitch their ideas to a panel of professional investors. The startups will receive invaluable feedback and refinement of their pitches and enjoy ample networking opportunities. Eric Bielke, senior investor at Siemens Venture Capital, Rob Day, partner at Black Coral Capital, Henrik Holland, venture principal at Shell Technology Ventures, and Matthew Nordan, vice president at Venrock, will assist the startups. Registration and pitch submission for the event can be found online.

Mintz also hopes to see you at Greentech Media’s Next Wave Investing event in Menlo Park, CA on September 12. The event will host investors and entrepreneurs to collaborate and discuss opportunities in the green technology market.

FastCompany’s recent profile of FloDesign Wind Turbine, a Mintz client, offered great insight into the company’s cutting-edge solutions that are reinventing the wind industry. By offering smaller, more efficient turbines, FloDesign is a leading innovator in this sector. Congratulations also to our friends at Oasys Water on being selected as one of the “36 innovative companies” recognized by the World Economic Forum as technology pioneers. The World Economic Forum chose Oasys for this honor based on its commitment to developing water treatment technology that positively impacts businesses and society as a whole. 

In Washington this month the Department of Energy approved a third liquefied natural gas export terminal, the Lake Charles Exports LLC facility in Louisiana, and the decision was met with mixed reactions from members of Congress and industry officials. While many applauded the approval of the terminal, they also criticized the backlog of applications the department has yet to review. The Natural Gas Act requires the agency to review all facilities that export natural gas to non-free trade agreement countries. The agency received over 200,000 public comments during their review of the energy, environmental, and economic impacts of the facility.

Also, on August 6, the Environmental Protection Agency released the 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard volume requirements, as well as an extended compliance deadline. Obligated parties must blend 16.55 billion gallons of renewable biofuel before June 30, 2014. EPA suggested it might lower volumes for 2014 to take into account the so-called “blend wall.”

Though Congress was on recess throughout August, representatives remained active by discussing and preparing legislation regarding climate change and energy. On August 6, a Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change released a report that called on the Department of Energy to review thoroughly climate change impacts associated with proposed liquefied natural gas exports terminals. Furthermore, the report emphasized the need for energy savings performance contracts, state building code and utility rate structure reforms, and stronger energy efficiency standards.  Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), fearing that natural gas exports would not reduce reliance on foreign oil, sent a letter to President Obama on August 12 urging the President to keep natural gas in the U.S. market. Markey also requested that the Department of Energy reevaluate the implications of exporting natural gas related to reducing imported natural gas.

In a letter sent to her colleagues, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) expressed her apprehensions regarding H.R. 2218, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act. In the letter Boxer stated that the bill, which recently passed the House, would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from moving forward with developing national coal ash standards.

Nearly a dozen bills were introduced just before the recess. Energy-related bills include H.R. 2916, the Domestic Energy Production Protection Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Bill Schuster (R-PA), which would require the Environmental Protection Agency to submit final rules regarding energy production analysis to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced two bills that would benefit the heat power industry. The first, H.R. 2971, the Innovative Energy Systems Act of 2013, would encourage deployment of combined heat and power. The second, H.R. 2972, the Heat is Power Act, would create tax incentives for waste heat to electricity technology.

We hope that you enjoy this month’s edition of the newsletter. For the most up-to-date information on federal legislation and programs, read the most recent ML Strategies Energy & Environment Update.

Mintz Energy & Clean Technology Matters blog brings you the latest information and events impacting the energy and clean technology industries. The blog includes in-depth analysis from the Associates and Members that work within our Energy Technology Practice.


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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.