On July 12, 2010, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report critical of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan guarantee program for renewable energy sources.
The GAO report notes that DOE has issued only one loan guarantee (for a $535 million solar panel manufacturing project) since the program’s inception in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and made nine conditional commitments. In 2009, DOE received more than 170 applications seeking more than $175 billion in loan guarantees. DOE currently has funding authority estimated at $77 billion, and is seeking additional funding. (more…)
The import into the United States of petroleum products derived from oil sands requires a pipeline to transport the product from Alberta to the end user in the U.S. An oil sands pipeline must, by definition, cross the U.S. – Canadian border, and under U.S. law, must obtain a “Presidential Permit” from the Department of State (see Executive Order 13,337, 69 Fed. Reg. 25,299 (April 30, 2004) and related orders). The Department must determine whether the project is in the national interest and prepare an environmental impact statement (“EIS”) (required by the National Environmental Policy Act or “NEPA”). The State Department has issued Presidential Permits for the Keystone pipeline (in 2008) and the Alberta Clipper pipeline (in 2009) despite strong opposition (including federal and state lawsuits) from U.S. environmental groups. The Department is now in the midst of the permitting process for the Keystone XL pipeline, which is being opposed not only by environmental groups, but also by at least fifty Democratic members of the House of Representatives (Letter from Democratic Representatives to the Secretary of State (June 30, 2010)). (more…)
“PACE” (Property Assessed Clean Energy) programs are touted as a way to fund the upfront costs of energy retrofit and onsite renewable energy projects (particularly for residential). In essence, local governments finance upfront costs, and property owners repay over time through assessments added to their property tax bills, resulting in a super priority lien to secure repayment. A key issue has been whether mortgage lenders will accept the priming PACE lien.
In May, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sent advice letters to their seller-servicers (at the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Agency) that PACE programs with first liens were contrary to their uniform security instruments. On July 6, 2010, FHFA issued a statement calling for a “pause” (more…)
Increasingly attention has been focused on the production, import into the United States (U.S.), and use of petroleum products derived from oil sands. Some confusion and much hyperbole surround the role of oil sands and other unconventional oil sources (such as shale and coal-based liquids) in the U.S. energy future.
Whether conventional oil production has peaked or not (which obviously is price dependant), the ultimate amount of petroleum in the world is fixed. In the short- and medium- term, petroleum will continue to be used in the transportation sector and as feedstock for chemical manufacturing because there is no magic wand (more…)
Filed under: Sustainability
Welcome to Pepper Hamilton LLP’s Sustainability, CleanTech and Climate Change Team blog. With weekly posts from our Team’s lawyers who have varied legal backgrounds and guest bloggers, we will explore emerging international, national, and local legal issues involving renewable energy, green technology, green building, climate change, financial incentives and more. This blog is not just for other lawyers, but also for businesses and individuals. (more…)