Developing a Business Case for Renewable Energy at Airports

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The Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) recently released Report 151: Developing a Business Case for Renewable Energy at Airports (the Report). Foley partner David Bannard is a co-author of the Report, assisting lead investigators, Stephen Barrett and Philip DeVita of HMMH. The Report is a companion to ACRP Report 141: Renewable Energy as an Airport Revenue Source, on which Mr. Bannard also served as a co-author with Mr. Barrett.

The Report provides a comprehensive guide to developing a business case for renewable energy projects at airports, and can be applied in other spheres as well. It includes chapters describing a renewable energy business case, the basis of a business case, evaluation criteria and ranking methodology, integrating projects with planning and decision making and engaging internal and external stakeholders. It reviews a model business case, provides examples of business cases, in both airport and non-airport contexts, and concludes with information regarding funding methods for renewable energy projects. The Report also includes several useful appendices, including a sample request for proposals and a sample power purchase agreement.

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US Senate Passes Bipartisan Energy Bill

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The first broad energy bill passed in nearly a decade was passed by the Senate yesterday with an 85-12 vote margin. The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016, S. 2012, responds to major changes to the energy landscape spurred by the growth in renewable energy and domestic natural gas and oil production. The bill includes provisions to bolster the electric grid to accommodate renewable energy, promote energy storage technology, improve cybersecurity, and streamline and accelerate the permitting process for LNG exports. It also addresses building code development to promote energy efficiency and reauthorizes the half-billion-dollar Land and Water Conservation Fund that protects parks and other public lands.

The last ambitious energy bills were passed during the Bush administration and aimed to boost energy independence by cutting reliance on imported oil, raising fuel economy standards and imposing a mandate for ethanol in gasoline. The focus has shifted with the boon in renewable energy and distributed generation as well as the use of hydraulic fracking which has made the U.S. the world’s top oil and gas producer.

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Massachusetts Raises Caps on Solar Net Metering

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Massachusetts has raised the caps on the Commonwealth’s net metering program. The governor’s signature was inked on April 11, 2016 on a bill approved by the legislature last week, after months of negotiation.

Net metering programs allow homeowners and other solar customers to sell excess power they generate back to the electrical grid in exchange for a credit. Each utility has a cap on the amount of large-scale projects that can receive credits in their area. Existing net metering caps have been reached in much of Massachusetts, inhibiting further solar development in the state.

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Scalia’s Death Revives the Clean Power Plan

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Last week the Clean Power Plan was basically dead.  Five Supreme Court justices had stayed it and determined that the challengers were likely to prevail on the merits.  But with Scalia’s passing, everything has changed.  The  Supreme Court now appears to be deadlocked as to the Plan’s legality.  And a tie at the Supreme Court means the lower court decision will stand.  

Over the weekend, I penned a piece for Bloomberg discussing in detail how Justice Scalia’s passing is likely to impact the Clean Power Plan.  You can read my thoughts here (scroll down to the Up For Debate section).

 

Republican Lawmaker Wants to Revoke EPA’s New Authority to Regulate Greenhouse Gases

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On February 1st, I published an editorial arguing that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should use an obscure provision of the Clean Air Act to broadly regulate greenhouse gas emissions. This provision, Section 115, would allow the EPA to issue new rule ordering every state to cut its pollution by 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025, which is what the U.S. has promised to do under the Paris Agreement. One Republican lawmaker took notice. After reading my article, on February 11th Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) introduced legislation that would repeal Section 115 of the Clean Air Act.

You can follow the progress of Rep. Perry’s proposed legislation here. And below is the text of my original editorial, which led Rep. Perry to introduce his bill.

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