Power & Pipes

FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments
Not Just Boilerplate
Care and diligence must be used when crafting disclosure schedules in merger and acquisition documents. Unclear or incomplete disclosure schedules can have drastic implications for future litigation. Poorly crafted disclosure schedules can lead not only to indemnity litigation, but often lead to fraud and breach of warranty claims.
On March 2, the White House issued the National Cybersecurity Strategy (the Strategy), a broad vision to reinvigorate the federal government’s approach to cybersecurity and address a wide spectrum of long-term challenges. The Strategy reflects the latest significant cybersecurity-focused activity from the Biden administration and contains an ambitious set of goals and initiatives.
Not Just Boilerplate
In energy contracts, there is a need for specificity in arbitration provisions, particularly in the delegation of arbitrability questions to the arbitrator. Because of the high stakes involved in contracts for energy production, transportation, refining, fractionation, mergers and acquisitions, and so on, parties are frequently willing to devote substantial resources to determine how a potential dispute should be resolved.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently issued two funding opportunities for the development of carbon capture large-scale pilot projects and integrated carbon capture and storage projects at coal or natural gas generation facilities and at industrial facilities that are not purposed for electric generation.
Not Just Boilerplate
An earnout provision in mergers and acquisitions contracts entitles the seller of the target company to additional compensation in the future if the target performs well after closing. Such a provision is often used when a gap exists between the buyer’s lower valuation and the seller’s higher valuation. Essentially, it is a way for the buyer to say, “if you think your company is really worth as much as you say it is, prove it.”
ESG. Net zero. Carbon sequestration. In 2023, all of these terms will continue to be widely referenced in mainstream media publications, corporate governance and shareholder materials, and regulatory filings and issuances. Although the terms are technically unrelated, at their core they reflect a growing social consciousness, both in the United States and abroad, concerning carbon dioxide (CO2) presence in the atmosphere and the impact of individual and corporate actions on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The solar power industry seems to be caught in the crosshairs of competing legislative agendas. The US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) created incentives to increase solar capacity via tax credits. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) creates a rebuttable presumption that any goods that were mined, produced, or manufactured, wholly or in part, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) were made with forced labor, and bars their importation into the United States. More than 90% of the world's ingots and wafers (made from polysilicon) are produced in China, and 80% of solar panels going into both residential and commercial projects in the United States come from abroad. The push for more solar capacity is potentially hindered by supply chain–based trade restrictions, resulting in competing agendas.
Not Just Boilerplate
Contracting parties sometimes attempt to rely on merger clauses to avoid future claims arising from reliance on extra-contractual representations such as fraudulent inducement. But in Texas, the inclusion of a standard merger clause does not preclude such a claim. See Italian Cowboy Partners, Ltd. v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 341 S.W.3d 323, 327 (Tex. 2011).
There are no unimportant North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) reliability standards, but from time to time, NERC and the Regional Entities (Regions) place greater emphasis on certain reliability standards in response to events affecting the grid. With headline-grabbing physical attacks on power substations across the country in recent months, one of NERC’s greatest current priorities is evaluating the effectiveness of its physical security standards, most notably CIP-014.
Not Just Boilerplate
Choice of law and forum provisions are standard clauses often found buried in the back of a contract, easily overlooked and frequently ignored. Although these provisions do not typically come up unless there is a dispute between the parties, they should not be an afterthought for drafters because they can play a significant role in the outcome of a dispute.