The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC’s) Division of Enforcement announced that it has established a new task force—the Environmental Fraud Task Force—to combat environmental fraud and misconduct in derivatives and relevant spot markets, including the carbon markets.
FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments
One week after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Whistleblower Office issued an alert seeking tips on potential fraud and manipulation in the carbon markets, the CFTC chairman announced that the second voluntary carbon markets convening will be held on July 19.
The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) on March 15, 2023 that makes available up to $750 million to support the development of electrolyzer technology, domestic supply chains, and high-throughput manufacturing of electrolyzers and fuel cells. The funding is intended to improve the efficiency, durability, and cost of producing clean hydrogen using electrolyzers; to advance new manufacturing technologies for both electrolyzer and fuel cell technologies; and to create innovative approaches to increase reuse and recycling of clean hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
In recent remarks, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero proposed that the CFTC promote market resilience to climate-related risk by adopting an approach for environmental/climate-related products, such as carbon offsets, similar to the CFTC’s regulatory response to virtual currencies.
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.
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 US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) on January 27, 2023, on behalf of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office that makes available $47 million to support the research, development, and demonstration of affordable hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The FOA further advances the Biden administration’s goals to achieve carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035 and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. It also supports the goals of the H2@Scale Initiative, which aims to advance affordable hydrogen production, transport, storage, and utilization, and aligns with DOE’s Hydrogen Shot, which targets affordable clean hydrogen production at $1/kg within the decade.
While no one has a crystal ball for what 2023 will hold for the energy industry, the seemingly widespread support for green technology and clean energy is expected to carry through this year. In our industry outlook, “The Trends—and Traps—That Will Shape 2023,” we highlight some of the major green energy tax credit trends.
On January 1, 2023, newly constructed standalone energy storage facilities became eligible for an investment tax credit (ITC) under Section 48 of the Internal Code of 1986, as amended (Code), pursuant to provisions of the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Storage facilities placed in service before 2023 generally were only eligible for an ITC when constructed as part of a combined renewable generation (typically solar) plus storage facility and the storage system was charged by the paired renewable generation system at least for the 5-year initial operating period. Storage developers and owners will now be able to take advantage of new and significant tax credit opportunities, whether or not the storage system is paired with a renewable generation energy facility.
Later this month, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to support the research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of affordable hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. EERE’s notice stated that the FOA will focus on key hydrogen delivery and storage technologies and durable fuel cell technologies, particularly for heavy-duty trucks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and eliminate pollution from the tailpipe.