Climate change is no longer solely the concern of scientists. Governments, businesses, and individuals are making a concerted effort to change their patterns to protect the environment. Especially as economies around the world rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, many private and public entities are following the example set by the United Nations to take climate-positive actions by creating green jobs, encouraging green investments, and making environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and corporate sustainability central parts of their operations.
Navigating evolving incentives and global requirements require a watchful eye to keep up with all the developments. The ESG, corporate sustainability, and climate change teams at Morgan Lewis do just that on a global scale.
While the future of private investment in Mexico’s power industry remains uncertain, renewable energy investors should be aware of current proceedings regarding changes to the law.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed a Trump administration decision involving use of nuclear materials. On June 30, the EPA announced that it was “withdrawing, revoking and rescinding” its conditional approval of The Fertilizer Institute’s (TFI) request to approve the use of phosphogypsum (PG) in road construction. PG is a radioactive byproduct of fertilizer production and is regulated by the EPA. This action follows the EPA’s earlier announcement that it is reviewing a Trump administration decision on cleanup standards for radionuclide-contaminated effluent at a Tennessee Superfund site, which we reported on. Together, the two decisions confirm that the EPA continues to scrutinize prior agency decisions and to more strictly regulate radioactive materials.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced a site-specific review that has broader implications for Superfund site cleanups with radionuclide contamination. The EPA is reviewing a Trump-era decision on the applicability of water quality regulations for radionuclide-contaminated effluent from a Tennessee Superfund site. This review could result in reversing the prior determination that the Clean Water Act’s (CWA’s) technology-based effluent limits do not apply. If the EPA reverses this decision, it could signal that the EPA is looking to impose more stringent standards for the cleanup and discharge of radionuclide-contaminated water at other sites.
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.
On June 11, 2021, the US Department of the Interior’s (DOI’s) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued a proposed sale notice to sell commercial wind energy leases on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the New York Bight. The New York Bight is an area of shallow waters located between Long Island and the New Jersey coast that is adjacent to the greater metropolitan tristate area, which is home to more than 20 million people. BOEM proposes to offer for sale eight lease areas and to complete the lease sale by holding a public auction.
The environmental, social, and governance (ESG) landscape is being shaped by the establishment of various ESG standards and frameworks, many of which have been adopted on a voluntary basis by funds, investment managers, and the companies in which they invest. Although, as of June 2021, there are currently no ESG-specific regulations or rules in the United States, there are many existing securities laws that apply to ESG investing and related claims, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is focused on ESG investing from policy, regulatory, examination, and enforcement perspectives. There are a number of steps that funds and their investment managers can, and should, take to assess and address the potential issues presented by ESG investing.
Hydrogen has been widely touted as a solution to achieve ambitious emissions reduction goals. But in order to unleash hydrogen’s potential as a viable energy source to meet current targets, it needs to be produced in larger quantities than it is today without generating large amounts of undesirable emissions during the production process, and at a cost that is not prohibitive.
In this article, we provide a high-level overview of the regulatory regime and key trends in green finance in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. This Part 1 addresses the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom, Russia, and Kazakhstan; we will continue with other key jurisdictions in Part 2 in a future issue.
Morgan Lewis partner James Tynion was quoted in a Zenger article regarding the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ recent approval of contracts for the development of Atlantic Shores and Ocean 2 wind farm projects.
Partner Bill Kissinger was quoted in a Utility Dive article regarding the California Public Utilities Commission’s rulemaking that would allow regulators to scrutinize the distributed energy resource (DER) sector more closely. The DER sector is expected to experience growth in California as more electric vehicles, buildings, and distributed solar are integrated into the grid, all of which could pose distribution and planning challenges.
Partner Levi McAllister and associate Patrick Pennella co-authored an article published in Pratt’s Energy Law Report regarding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) recent actions to remove barriers to the use of distributed energy resources.
Partners Celia Soehner and Jeffrey Boujoukos co-authored a column for Reuters regarding the dilemma of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting among public companies.
Partners Ella Foley Gannon and Neeraj Arora co-authored a Reuters article regarding the Biden-Harris administration’s ambitious approach to climate policy in its first 100 days.
Partner Carl Valenstein authored a column for Pharmaceutical Executive about environmental, social, and governance (ESG) trends in the biopharma sector.
Partners Kirstin Gibbs, Jennifer Josefson, Felipe Alice, Olivier Chambord, Hao Su, and Tsugu Watanabe authored a Petroleum Review article about the global energy transition to net zero emissions.
Partners William Yonge and Rob Mailer authored an article for Investment Week that outlines considerations for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) funds.
Please join us for the next installment of the Morgan Lewis Automotive Hour Webinar series, focused on Power and Opportunity: EVs, Hydrogen and Other Vehicle Power.
Please join us for the fourth webinar in our Reaching Net Zero Together series. With the increased focus on climate change and green energy solutions, markets for energy storage projects are growing as utilities and investors look for solutions. Join us for this webinar to discuss energy storage solutions.
Join us for a report from the “front lines” of a recent—but surely not the last—such severe weather event.
Please join us for the fifth track of our 2021 Advanced Topics in Hedge Fund Practices Conference: Manager and Investor Perspectives.
Please join us for the second webinar in our Reaching Net Zero Together webinar series.
As the impact of ESG grows, understanding ESG and how it may affect the investment and financial services market may be critical to efficiently incorporating and adapting to a changing environment. Join us for this webinar roundtable that will rely on audience participation to address questions about ESG in the US financial services market.
Please join us for the next session in our Global Sponsor Forum webinar series, where we will discuss the regulatory overlay of new energy investments, ESG considerations, and disclosure requirements for investors to consider.
The Biden administration has promised to significantly revise and reinvigorate the nation’s environmental justice policy.