Biden Declares Climate Change an “Existential Treat”

On July 20 2022, President Joe Biden called climate change an “existential threat” and unveiled new policies to fight its effects in response to Senator Joe Manchin’s objection to the Biden Administration’s proposed Federal wind legislation, which would create thousands of union jobs and offer more than $12 billion in annual capital incentives for wind projects located on both coastlines of the United States.

Senator Manchin represents West Virginia, which is a state dependent on the coal and natural gas industries. The Senator has personally made his wealth from the coal industry.  Senator Manchin has stated his objection to Biden’s proposed federal legislation is based on a deep concern about recent U.S. inflation. Manchin has suggested he might be open to considering a legislation package that includes climate and tax measures in September 2022, after further reports on U.S. Inflation.

“Climate change is an existential threat,” Biden said at a former coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts that’s being re-purposed to support wind power generation. “Since Congress is not acting as it should — and these guys here are but we’re not getting many Republican votes — this is an emergency, an emergency, and I will look at it that way,” the President said. However, President Biden held back on declaring a formal climate emergency.

Biden’s climate change policies encourage offshore wind development in new areas along the US Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. Biden is directing federal regulators to propose the first wind energy areas for development in the Gulf — a step toward auctioning leases to build the renewable projects.  Bloomberg Law reports, “Although Biden is directing Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to advance wind energy development in the southern Atlantic and along Florida’s Gulf Coast, he held off on reversing an order by former President Donald Trump that ruled out new offshore energy leases in those waters”, which could trigger unwelcomed opposition by Congress.

The Biden Administration climate change policy goals includes developing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, with auctions of territory near California expected later in 2022, and, ultimately, lease sales on almost every US coast.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is moving forward with new offshore lease sales and plans to expedite review for operation plans. New ports and factories will need to be developed and constructed closer to the coast lines to service the wind industry.

For more information about New Jersey’s offshore wind programs, please contact Alan P. Fox, Esq.


Solar Update Regarding Extension Requests of Transition Incentive Program Deadlines

On June 8, 2022, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities issued an Order conditionally granting a petition which requested an extension to the project’s solar Transition Incentive (“TI”) Program registration deadline. As part of this Order, the Board has defined a set of criteria to identify similarly situated projects which may be eligible for a comparable extension.

If you have a TI project that is approaching a registration deadline, please contact Alan P. Fox, Esq., Chair of the firm’s Alternative Energy Group, to explore whether your project is eligible for a comparable extension.


Biden Administration Invokes Defense Production Act to Boost Domestic Manufacturing in Clean Energy Sectors

On June 6, 2022, the White House released a statement authorizing the use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to build up domestic production of solar panels, electric transformers, heat pumps, insulation and hydrogen-related equipment.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) could support those sectors through commitments to buy clean energy products from U.S. manufacturers; direct investments in facilities; and aid for clean energy installations in homes, military sites and businesses. Pending legislation (the Energy Security and Independence Act) would provide $100 billion in DPA funding for the clean energy sector.

The White House reports the expansion to domestic solar manufacturing capacity will grow the current capacity of 7.5 gigawatts by an additional 15 gigawatts, enabling 3.3 million homes to switch to clean solar energy. President Biden also urges Congress to pass tax cuts and additional investments that advance U.S. clean energy manufacturing and deployment.

Specifically, the White House is authorizing the DOE to rapidly expand U.S. manufacturing of the following five clean energy technologies:

    1. Solar panel parts including photovoltaic modules and module components;
    2. Building insulation;
    3. Heat pumps;
    4. Equipment for making and using clean energy-generated fuels, including electrolyzers, fuel cells, and related platinum group metals; and
    5. Power grid infrastructures such as transformers.