President Biden signs climate legislation bill into law

President Biden has signed a $430 billion economic and energy bill – an omnibus spending bill that seeks to address climate change, inflation and Medicare costs while allocating billions to cut carbon emissions and incenting clean energy production and development.

In a big victory for the Biden Administration, The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 quickly gathered momentum in Congress in late July after Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) – two holdouts that opposed Biden’s original climate bill – agreed to lend their support.

The legislation – which aims to cut emissions 40% by 2030 – contains $369 billion in climate and energy provisions, devoting nearly $280 billion to clean energy tax incentives.

Generally speaking, renewables in the US are facing pressure from rising supply chain costs, global supply chain disruptions and spiking commodity costs. The IRA will stimulate green technologies and ramp up domestic supply chains, creating favorable conditions for US offshore wind.

The act extends and expands several new clean energy tax credits, such as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit. Such long-term extensions are crucial for developers and suppliers to plan future projects without the fear of tax incentives expiring.

Perhaps the most impactful measure for offshore wind is an extension of an existing ITC, which was set to expire in 2025. The bill allows for the 30% ITC available to projects placed in service after 2024. Notably, the ITC and PTC would phase out when emission reductions meet target levels of 25% of 2022 levels or after 2032, whichever is later.

“The Inflation Reduction Act provides certainty for clean energy as this legislation breaks the ‘on-again off-again’ policy cycle,” notes Doug Pfeister, Managing Director of The Renewables Consulting Group, an ERM Group company. “This game-changing legislation will set-up US offshore wind for years to come and go a long way in helping President Biden achieve his stated target of 30 GW of US offshore wind by 2030.”

A long-term extension should also help to alleviate wind developer concerns about the rising cost of raw materials. Projects meeting certain domestic content requirements are eligible for a bonus credit. The act supplements the offshore wind supply chain with a broad array of supportive tax measures, such as extra deductions for US-made content like offshore wind shipbuilding but also for production costs of critical minerals, nacelles, tower foundations, inverters, batteries, and other components in the offshore wind supply chain.

The Act also opens up wide swaths of seabed available for future leasing opportunities. For starters, the IRA will resume offshore wind leasing off the southeast seaboard, reversing a 2020 executive order issued under President Trump. The IRA also directs the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to issue Calls for Information before September 2025 for offshore wind areas within the exclusive economic zone adjacent to US Territories such as Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.

For the first time, the act includes significant new incentives for clean hydrogen production, such as a Clean Hydrogen PTC/ITC. The bill provides a separate credit stream for integrated hydrogen projects and is available during the first 10 years of facility operation provided projects begin construction before 2033.

Vancouver, British Columbia – 30th June 2022 – The Renewables Consulting Group (RCG), an ERM Group company, has been appointed as Lender’s Independent Engineer (IE) for the 20 MW East Strathmore Solar Project, located in Alberta, Canada.

The firm is currently providing technical due diligence (TDD) services and is set to continue to act as Lender’s IE to support the financing process through construction to operations.
The East Strathmore Solar Project, owned and operated by Elemental Energy, sits on approximately 140 acres of privately owned land and interconnects directly to Fortis Alberta’s distribution system, providing clean energy to local businesses, residences and farming operations. Elemental Energy, a leading Canadian renewable energy developer, maintains interests in operating and development stage wind, solar, and hydro projects throughout North America.

Jamie Houssian, Principal of Elemental Energy, said:

“Renewable energy will continue to play a meaningful part in the future of Alberta’s electricity supply as the province targets 30 percent renewable energy by 2030. With the assistance provided by the Renewables Consulting Group, the East Strathmore Solar Project is an important step in that direction.”

RCG provides top-tier market intelligence, management consulting and technical advisory services across wind, solar and energy storage technologies, serving the organizations leading the transition to a low-carbon economy.

RCG’s scope of work includes full lender’s technical advisory services including bank grade energy yield assessment, review of the design, contractual and regulatory aspects of the project, site visits and construction monitoring. The project is being led out of RCG’s Vancouver office, part of the firm’s strong local presence in North America.

Commenting on the appointment, Francis Charbonneau, Associate Director at RCG, said:

“We are proud to support Elemental Energy’s growing renewable energy portfolio in Western Canada. We’ve built a fantastic industry-leading technical advisory team in Canada over the last few years. With our deep local knowledge and technical expertise, we’re helping our clients in a pragmatic approach put more renewables on the grid while at the same helping the province meet its clean energy targets.”

Jesse Broehl is a Principal in RCG’s New York Office. He has over a decade of experience as a research analyst, consultant and wind energy subject matter expert journalist covering renewable energy. Mr. Broehl uniquely blends technical and industry knowledge on the US renewable energy market with years of writing and market report authorship experience.

Mr. Broehl is an experienced renewables analyst and has lead authorship on multiple technical and market intelligence reports. His experience includes over a decade focusing analyses on wind energy primarily, and solar and energy storage secondarily. As a skilled writer and industry analyst, Mr. Broehl is familiar with all aspects of the renewables market both domestically in the US and globally, and excels in market insights and strategy. He has served clients from across the industry, including wind turbine OEM companies, private equity companies, oil companies, and others.

Mr Broehl joins RCG from the leading US trade group for renewables, where he was a key member in renewable energy market, policy, and technology trend research and analyses. As a research analyst and consultant at an energy consultancy, Mr Broehl managed the firm’s global wind energy market analysis, competitive assessments, product and supply chain analysis, market forecasts and emerging technologies and strategies. In this role he was also the lead author on multiple annual reports and data products. Mr. Broehl has a degree in journalism and multiple lead authorship credits to his name.

Blackfinch Energy announced last month its acquisition of the 25 MW Three Maids Solar Farm near Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom.

The site was acquired from Enviromena, who developed, will construct, and who will also provide long term operations and maintenance services to the project, once operational. The development and construction of the project has been part funded by Close Brothers Leasing UK, a leading renewable energy lender. Construction is under way and the project is expected to start generating electricity as soon as July 2022.

Blackfinch Energy was advised by TLT LLP (Legal) and The Renewables Consulting Group Ltd (Technical).

Commenting on the news, Lee Clarke, Chief Operating Officer at RCG said:

“We were delighted to advise Blackfinch Energy on its acquisition of the Three Maids Solar Farm.  Our experienced solar team was able to support with expert technical advice for the transaction.  We look forward to assisting Blackfinch Energy in future, as it continues to expand its renewable energy portfolio.”

Details of the transaction and participants are available from Blackfinch Energy [↑].

 

Prasanna Krishnan is a Principal at RCG. He has 15 years of experience in the solar PV industry, having served over 1GW of PV projects globally. He brings a diverse perspective, having served with companies throughout the value chain in the renewable energy industry.

Mr. Krishnan is a solar PV specialist. His experience covers module manufacturing, development, EPC, consulting and startups. His depth is in engineering management, project delivery, and O&M of utility-scale solar projects. Additionally, he leverages his entrepreneurship experience to bring development, contracting and commercial expertise to RCG.

As a performance engineer for a thin-film module manufacturer, Mr. Krishnan dove deep into the technical characterization and evaluation of PV systems. He next led the development of the performance and O&M business unit at the US operations of a major European EPC. In this dynamic, startup environment, he spent extensive time in the field working hands on with PV systems. He leveraged this combination of field and managerial experience to build lean processes at a prominent solar farm developer, helping drive an asset-owner mindset to decision making.

In between roles in the corporate sector, he has served as an advisor and technical specialist on solar and sustainability startups in Latin America, led the regional operations of a cleantech accelerator, and co-founded an energy storage company. Consulting assignments have covered technical due-diligence, construction quality management, asset management, and technology commercialization.

Mr. Krishnan has a degree in Electrical Engineering with a master’s in Solar Energy Engineering.

Vancouver, British Columbia – As Canada transitions away from fossil fuels, The Renewables Consulting Group (RCG), an ERM Group company, is reinforcing its solar and storage service capabilities to assist in the country’s energy transition.

During the recently-completed COP26 climate conference, Canada was one of 30 nations to sign a pact that restricts public financing of fossil fuels projects, ends coal as a source to power their operations and supports clean power. The pact follows Canada’s recently implemented plan to phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 and achieve a net-zero emissions electricity sector by 2035.

The agreements are the strongest indication yet of the country’s progression toward a low-carbon economy – a movement that is well underway in its provinces and territories:

  • Nova Scotia announced a new renewable electricity standard that requires 80% of the province’s electricity to come from renewable resources by 2030;
  • Quebec will increase its renewable energy output by 25% by 2030;
  • Ontario has committed to 20 GW of clean power by 2025;
  • Saskatchewan pledged that renewable energy will comprise 50% of its energy mix by 2030;
  • Alberta will phase out coal by 2030 and commit to 30% renewable energy; and
  • British Columbia recently released its CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, which includes increasing carbon pricing, accelerating targets for zero-emission vehicle use in B.C., as well as pushing industry to eliminate methane emissions. The CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 was recently lauded during COP26.

As a result of the expected surge in clean energy assignments, RCG has named Prasanna Krishnan as Principal working in the firm’s Vancouver office. Among his responsibilities, Krishnan will act as a lender’s independent engineer for utility-scale solar and storage projects.

Krishnan brings a wealth of utility-scale solar and technical due diligence and project management experience. He has previously served as a technical advisor for developers, sponsors, and lenders on the acquisition, development, construction and operation of commercial and utility-scale solar PV plants and portfolios across the Americas.

Commenting on the appointment, RCG’s Matthew Irvine, Director – Canada, said:

“Pras is joining the Vancouver office at an exciting time as Alberta’s solar and storage market is blossoming. He has considerable development experience leading and supporting multiple complex technical due diligence assignments. His vast technical advisory experience with developers, sponsors, and lenders on the development, construction and operation of commercial and utility-scale solar PV and storage plants will serve our clients well.” – Matthew Irvine, Director.

Prasanna Krishnan, Principal, will work out of RCG’s Vancouver office.