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FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments

A LawFlash prepared by our environmental lawyers discusses President Joseph Biden’s new executive order setting a goal of 50% of all new passenger cars and light trucks to be zero emissions vehicles by 2030. It also discusses the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed tailpipe emission standards. The executive order and the proposed rules are intended to reduce GHGs and incentivize electric vehicles (EVs).

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US President Joseph Biden signed an executive order on August 5 that underscores his stated commitment to encourage the development and deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s clean energy agenda. The executive order, Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks, aims to increase the production of zero-emission vehicles by 2030 and directs new pollution and fuel economy standards for light‑, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles for model years 2027 and later. President Biden’s issuance of the executive order, combined with the EV-related implications of various provisions in the draft infrastructure bill currently pending in Congress, may well serve to facilitate increased deployment of EVs in US markets.

On June 16, Connecticut joined seven other states—California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, and Virginia—in adopting an energy storage deployment goal as a strategy to address climate change. In furtherance of Connecticut’s move toward 100% carbon-free power by 2040, Governor Ned Lamont enacted Public Act No. 21-53, which establishes a goal to deploy one gigawatt (GW) of energy storage by 2030. The act also sets interim targets of deploying 300 megawatts (MW) of storage by the end of 2024 and 650 MW by the end of 2027.

Bill Kissinger, Ella Foley Gannon, and Rick Rothman discuss recent US regulatory and legislative developments addressing climate change and renewable energy. They discuss the Biden-Harris administration's focus on setting goals to address climate change and highlight the success in California as a possible model for the United States. Read the Law360 article.

Read this Insight prepared by our energy and environmental lawyers addressing the status of stricter tailpipe emissions regulations and anticipated widespread use of electric vehicles (EVs). Companies looking to leverage the Biden-Harris administration’s focus on clean transportation, as well as utilities whose grids are going to be impacted by EV development, should consider reading the Insight and checking out the Automotive Hour Webinar Series for 2021.
In the wake of the February extreme cold weather that caused record levels of electric generation to be taken offline, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) has scheduled a two-day technical conference to discuss issues surrounding the threat to electric system reliability posed by climate change and extreme weather. The virtual technical conference is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, June 1 and 2, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET.
FERC issued an original license for a period of 25 years, pursuant to Part I of the Federal Power Act, to Oregon State University (OSU) to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed PacWave South Hydrokinetic Project No. 14616 (PacWave Project). The PacWave Project is a first-of-its-kind wave energy testing facility that will be sited approximately seven miles off the coast of the state of Oregon and consists of both offshore and onshore components.
FERC announced on February 22 that it will open a new proceeding to examine the threats of climate change and extreme weather to electric reliability. The investigation will assess how grid operators prepare for and respond to extreme weather events, including, droughts, extreme cold, wildfires, hurricanes, and prolonged heat waves. The proceeding will include a technical conference with an opportunity for parties to submit comments in advance of that conference.
FERC Chairman Richard Glick announced his plans on February 11 to better incorporate environmental justice and equity concerns into FERC’s decisionmaking process.
The US Department of Energy submitted a report to the president last month on “Economic and National Security Impacts under a Hydraulic Fracturing Ban.” This 80-page report analyzed the effects of a hypothetical United States ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing technology used with any new or existing onshore wells starting in 2021 through 2025.