EPA’s action finalizes aggressive emission reduction targets for certain subcategories of fossil fuel-fired power plants, based on implementation of carbon capture and sequestration.

By Stacey L. VanBelleghem, Karl A. Karg, and Phil Sandick

This post is the first in a series on four key power plant rules that the Environmental Protection Agency recently released. It discusses the rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from certain electric generating units.

On April 25, 2024, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The program will include a multi-jurisdictional cap-and-invest program and aims to address environmental justice and equity concerns.

By Jean-Philippe Brisson, Joshua T. Bledsoe, Benjamin Einhouse, and Brian McCall

On December 21, 2020, the Governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, as well as the Mayor of the District of Columbia, announced that their respective jurisdictions would establish the Transportation & Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) and released a memorandum of understanding (MOU) describing the agreed-upon principles for adoption and implementation of the TCI-P. While not part of the MOU, the states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina released a statement signaling their desire to work with the states party to the MOU and the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) in general. On March 1, 2021, the TCI released draft Model Rules for public review. Once finalized, the Model Rules are intended to be adapted for use by each TCI-P signatory jurisdiction via state-specific rulemaking processes.

Non-governmental organizations release new studies and reports on new developments in carbon capture, usage, and storage technology.

By Jean-Philippe Brisson, Christopher G. Cross, Paul J. Hunt, Eli M. Katz, Joshua T. Bledsoe, Benjamin W. Einhouse, and Taylor R. West

At the 25th annual Conference of Parties (COP 25) United Nations Climate Summit, held in December 2019 in Madrid, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups submitted reports and studies on the latest developments in environmental technology. Several organizations, including the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum, the Global CCS Institute, and the National Petroleum Council of the United States, submitted reports on the use and future development of carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) technologies.

Innovation for Cool Earth Forum

The Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF), an organization that organizes an annual conference hosted by Japan’s Prime Minister that brings international leaders together to tackle climate change, published a roadmap for Industrial Heat Decarbonization in December 2019 (the Roadmap).[i] The Roadmap outlines how the use of industrial heat must be changed to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, specifically discussing the issue of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The Roadmap further notes that industrial heat is particularly important due to the fact that roughly 10% of all GHG emissions come from industrial heat production. The Roadmap discusses the use of heat in a variety of industries, including cement, iron, and steel, as well as chemical production. Generally, the Roadmap discusses solutions that include the use of low-carbon energy sources such as hydrogen combustion and biomass burning, and electrical sources such as resistance heating, microwaves, induction, and electric arc furnaces. Moreover, the Roadmap discusses the role of CCUS in reducing the carbon produced in the creation of industrial heat.

The announcements signal how both the Net Zero Review and the IETF will impact the UK’s transition to net zero.

By Paul Davies and Michael Green

On 2 November 2019, the UK government announced further details on two initiatives focused on helping the UK reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The first of these measures, HM Treasury’s Net Zero Review (Review), will consider how the UK should fund efforts to meet its net zero target. The second measure, the proposed Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF), aims to help energy-intensive industries reduce their carbon emissions. New details surrounding the proposed measures signal how both the Review and the IETF will impact the UK’s transition to net zero.

The Green Industry Guidance Catalogue attempts to provide consistent nationwide guidelines for green industries and projects.

By Paul A. Davies and R. Andrew Westgate

Background

On 6 March 2019, seven Chinese regulatory agencies issued the Green Industry Guidance Catalogue (the Catalogue) listing “green industries” that are eligible for funding with green bonds. The seven agencies include the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, The People’s Bank of China, and the National Energy Board.

China’s environmental revolution not only entails implementing a robust, modern policy framework, but also a significant rearrangement of the economy itself — rendering the revolution a priority for both ecological and economic development reasons. As a result, in recent years, all provinces and directly-administered municipalities within China and departments within the Chinese government have introduced policies and measures to promote green industries. However, these policies and measures have been hampered by a lack of uniformity and the application of differing standards in different regions.

Latham lawyers discuss the business implications of the new legislation.

By Tommy P. Beaudreau, Marc T. Campopiano, Michael J. Gergen, Joshua T. Bledsoe, and Jennifer K. Roy

Senate Bill 100, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 10, 2018, aims to raise California’s already ambitious renewable energy standards by 2030, with an ultimate mandate of 100% clean energy by 2045. On the same day, Brown issued Executive Order B-55-18, which sets a target of

The proposed initiative will allow the provision of clean energy on a global scale by 2050.

By Paul A. Davies and R. Andrew Westgate

The Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) initiative, originally developed by Liu Zhenya, the chairman of the Chinese State Grid Corporation, is dedicated to promoting global energy interconnections in a sustainable manner.

The GEI is proposed to take the form of a backbone grid, first throughout Asia and then expanding globally. The first phase would consist of six ultra-high voltage grids that span the Asian continent, which GEI estimates will require a US$38 trillion investment.[1]

The GEI is part of the broader Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI is a Chinese state-backed program that intends to boost trade and economic growth across Asia through the development of infrastructure projects. China Development Bank, China’s primary policy-based lending institution, has already granted US$160 billion in loans to countries involved in the BRI process.

Decision may significantly impact active and inactive unlined and clay-lined coal ash impoundments, likely requiring closure or retrofit.

By Claudia M. O’Brien and Stijn van Osch

The D.C. Circuit this week struck down parts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule for not being sufficiently protective of the environment. The decision in Utility Solid Waste Activities Group (USWAG) et al. v. EPA, No. 15-1219 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 21, 2018) will have a major impact on both active and inactive coal ash impoundments used by coal-fired power plants. Although the timing is uncertain, the Court’s opinion will likely require closure or retrofitting of all unlined and clay impoundments, unless EPA is able to address the Court’s concerns on remand.

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.

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”.