As discussed previously in this blog, physical attacks against substations have been on the rise. However, the U.S. power grid is also vulnerable to cyberattacks from U.S. adversaries, which includes hostile foreign governments, as well as individual bad actors such as insiders and criminals. Although there have been more physical attacks than cyberattacks
Last month, we reported how a key component of project finance—syndicated term loans—was the subject of a crucial case being heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In Kirschner v. JP Morgan Chase, the plaintiff contended that the term loans at issue were in fact securities that should be regulated…
Syndicated term loans can be a significant piece of the capital stack when financing renewable energy projects; however, a crucial pending case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit could complicate the use of these types of loans going forward. The case—Kirschner v. JP Morgan Chase—will seek to answer the central question at play: are syndicated term loans subject to federal and state securities laws? The eventual ruling in this case could potentially impact any borrower or lender issuing or holding a term loan in a syndicated facility.
ESG and Renewable Energy
As corporations experience increased pressure from shareholders, consumers, employees, and the federal government to adopt Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) goals, many are procuring renewable energy as one way of meeting environmental targets. In 2022, more than 96% of S&P 500 companies published an ESG or other formal sustainability report. In addition to voluntary goals and initiatives, the Securities and Exchange Commission is in the process of finalizing enhanced and standardized climate and ESG disclosure requirements for publicly traded corporations. As a result, corporate renewable energy power procurement is expected to account for nearly 40% of the projected utility-scale wind and solar project growth through 2023 and 2024 in the United States.
As nations continue developing renewable energy infrastructure to meet sustainability targets, some are creating unique approaches to ensure they meet their stated goals. In what is expected to be a first for any nation (developed or otherwise), the Energy Ministry of Israel is enacting new country-wide regulations requiring all new non-residential buildings to have rooftop solar panels.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) is developing an expansion of its registration requirements to include certain owners and operators of inverter-based resources by creating a new registered entity function, called the “GO-IBR.”
As healthcare systems continue their bid to “first, do no harm,” more attention is being placed on the organizations’ broader impact on their communities, including the environment and air quality. It is estimated that the global health care industry is responsible for two gigatons of carbon dioxide each year, or 4.4% of worldwide net emissions. And according to a September 2019 report by Health Care Without Harm, over half of the industry’s emissions (representing an estimated 2.2% of the worldwide net emissions) can be attributed to the health care industry’s use of energy. The energy-intensive nature of the industry correlates with the often 24/7 use of health care facilities and the high-tech, life-saving equipment.
An increased borrowing limit for the U.S. was not the only change brought about by the recently enacted Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process was also on the minds of our legislators. Indeed, Congress chose to use the debt ceiling fight as a vehicle for implementing several changes to NEPA aimed at improving project authorization and management and establishing timelines for completing the review process. While not all the changes in the so-called Builder Act are dramatic, a handful of them could provide additional certainty for those in the oil and gas and renewables industries seeking federal approval for their projects.
The renewable energy industry is growing rapidly but it faces several challenges, including ever-increasing competition amongst developers for rights to the same land. This creates a race between developers to encumber project land.
Negotiating and executing a lease is normally more time-consuming than recording it, but recording the lease agreement (or other applicable real estate instrument) is not a step that should be overlooked or delayed. A lease is effectively meaningless to anyone not a party to it until it has been recorded in the public records of the county in which the leased property is located. Once the lease, or evidence of the lease, has been recorded, everyone not a party to it is put on notice and any agreement encumbering the leased land after that date is typically subordinate to the lease.
On May 12, 2023, in Notice 2023-38 (the “Notice”), the IRS published rules intended for inclusion in forthcoming regulations regarding domestic content bonus credit amounts.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 amended §§ 45 and 48 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) to provide a domestic content bonus credit amount for certain qualified facilities or energy projects placed in service after December 31, 2022, and added new Code §§ 45Y and 48E, which include a domestic content bonus credit amount for certain investments in qualified facilities or energy storage technologies placed in service after December 31, 2023.
To claim a domestic content bonus credit amount, a taxpayer must establish that the “Domestic Content Requirement” is satisfied with respect to an “Applicable Project” by certifying to the Secretary of the Treasury that any steel, iron, or manufactured product which is a component of the Applicable Project (upon completion of construction) was produced in the United States. The Notice provides guidance on what is required to meet the Domestic Content Requirement and the procedures for reporting and claiming domestic content bonus credit amounts.