Power, Oil, Gas, and Minerals

Harvard professor Robert Stavins joins Latham partner Bob Wyman to review key climate change mitigation policies.

California’s climate change mitigation program is widely viewed as one of the most comprehensive of its kind — encompassing a cap-and-trade component and a series of complementary measures with specific performance targets for important sectors such as motor vehicles, transportation fuels, power plants, and emissions related to land use decisions.

In this Viewpoints video, Latham partner Bob Wyman, a leader in the firm’s

By Joel C. Beauvais and Stacey L. VanBelleghem

On August 21, 2018 the Trump administration released its proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule to replace the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). Both rules would regulate CO2 emissions from existing electric generating units (EGUs) pursuant to Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The ACE proposal includes three elements:

  • Replacing the CPP with new emission guidelines for CO2 emissions from existing EGUs
  • Revising implementing regulations to guide the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and states on this and future Section 111(d) rulemakings
  • Revisions to the New Source Review (NSR) program for power plants

Here are six key points stakeholders should know about EPA’s proposed ACE rule.

Latham lawyers discuss the forces driving transformation in the market and the key legal and regulatory issues.

By Tommy Beaudreau, Joel Beauvais, Joel Mack, Ryan Maierson, and Janice Schneider

Water management is becoming increasingly critical amid increasing oil and gas production in the Permian Basin and other regions of the United States. In particular, many companies are now seeking to manage larger quantities of produced water, and/or to secure water supplies for drilling activities — leading

Relief from the mandatory scheme will reduce the administrative burden on non-energy intensive companies.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) — which first came into operation on 1 April 2010 — will be abolished at the end of the 2018-19 compliance year, pursuant to the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (Revocation and Savings) Order 2018 (SI 2018/841) (the Order). The CRC is a mandatory carbon emissions trading scheme that applies to large UK business and public organisations.

The CRC was aimed at increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions from large non-intensive energy users. These emissions are thought to constitute around 10% of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the UK. The scheme applied to organisations that, over the course of a year, used more than 6,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of certain electricity and had at least one half-hourly meter settled on the half-hourly electricity market.

The California Assembly is expected to vote this summer to establish increased renewable energy targets and set a target of 100% clean energy by 2045.

By Marc T. Campopiano, Jennifer K. Roy, Diego Enrique Flores

SB 100, Senator Kevin De Leon’s renewable energy bill, would increase California’s already ambitious renewable energy standards by 2030 with an ultimate goal of 100% clean energy by 2045. On July 3, the California Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy passed the bill out of committee. In 2017, the bill was approved in the Senate but did not progress through the Assembly before the term ended. In 2018, SB 100 is expected to again reach the Assembly floor for consideration.

As currently drafted, SB 100 would increase California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement from 50% to 60% by 2030, and set a goal of 100% clean energy by December 31, 2045 through RPS-eligible and zero-carbon resources. Clean energy could be defined more broadly than the current definition of renewable energy, to include energy resources such as large-scale hydro power that qualify as zero-carbon.

Building owners and developers will need to provide energy performance certificates for buildings.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

The European Union has published a directive aimed at improving building energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. EU Member States are required to transpose the directive (Directive (EU) 2018/844) by March 10, 2020.

The directive, published on June 19, 2018, replaces the previous directive on the energy performance of buildings, which was first introduced in 2002 and then recast in 2010. The directive, forms part of the Clean Energy for all Europeans legislative package and is designed to promote energy efficiency in both old and new buildings as well as encourage building renovation. The revised directive is one of the EU’s eight proposals to achieve the Energy Union targets.

The EU has agreed that one third of energy use should be from renewable sources and encourages the use of renewable electricity or biofuels sourced from waste rather than crops.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

After 18 months of negotiations, the EU has increased its renewable energy target from 27% to 32% for the years 2020 to 2030. The European Parliament and Council will formally approve the agreement in the near future, so it can be set into EU law in the form of the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED II).

The EU has agreed that by 2030, just under one third of energy use in the EU should be from renewable sources. The trade body for European energy utilities has described the deal as a “well-balanced compromise”. Miguel Arias Cañete, the climate and energy commissioner, noted that “the binding nature of the target will also provide additional certainty to the investors”.

The Innovation Fund will promote advanced low-carbon technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote decarbonisation.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

By the end of 2018, the European Commission will set up an Innovation Fund (the Fund) to aid decarbonisation. To achieve this, the European Commission will amend the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) Directive via a delegated act. The EU ETS was created to reduce carbon emissions and incentivise companies to reduce their output, and covers around 45% of the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Entities with access to the Fund from 2021 to 2030 (phase 4 of EU ETS) will include power and energy-intensive industrial sectors.

The Fund will build on support from the NER300 initiative — a large funding programme for innovative low-carbon projects. This support led to €2.1 billion being awarded to 38 innovative renewable energy projects and a carbon capture and geological storage (CCS) project. Money from the Fund will be used to help finance low-carbon technologies such as CCS, and will extend to both small and large-scale projects.

Increased manufacturing offshoring and industrial activity may prevent China from reaching its commitments, despite a booming renewable energy sector.

By Paul A. Davies, Kimberly Leefatt, and R. Andrew Westgate

China’s carbon emissions increased by 4% in the first quarter of 2018 — marking the biggest hike in carbon emissions in the last seven years, according to an article published by China Economic Review. Increased industrial activity is due in large part to the government’s financial support of furnaces and kilns meant to stimulate the economy. However, industrial growth could prevent China from achieving its Paris Agreement targets, despite the country’s reduction in coal use and commitment to promoting renewable forms of energy.

Increasing Carbon Emissions

China is responsible for approximately 30% of global carbon emissions. In fact, China emits twice the amount of CO2 per dollar of gross domestic product compared with the United States, and more than in the European Union.

Recapping the first year of activity by the Trump administration on key issues.

By Joel C. Beauvais and Steven P. Croley

The Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, has been the focus of sustained policy discussion and resulting uncertainty during the first year of the Trump administration. Over the past year, the administration has floated, and then set aside, several proposals for substantial policy change. The administration has also granted RFS exemptions to a substantial number of small refineries, dampening demand