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Powered by the attorneys of Bracewell & Giuliani, Energy Legal Blog® is your resource for updates and analysis on national and global energy issues.
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  1. D.C. Circuit Hears Argument on 2013 Renewable Fuels Standard

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014 3:06 pm by

    On Monday, April 7, the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument in Monroe Energy v. EPA, No. 13-1265, which challenges the 2013 renewable fuels standards (RFS).  Judges Rogers, Griffith, and Pillard presided over the argument. Monroe Energy, an independent refiner, and trade associations API and AFPM challenged the 2013 RFS. PBF Holding Company LLC intervened on behalf of Petitioners, and multiple parties intervened on behalf of EPA. (more…)


  2. Are you on South African Santa’s naughty or nice list?

    Thursday, December 12, 2013 12:23 pm by

    A flood of bids reportedly delayed the announcement on the South African Government’s announcement on its final list of preferred bidders in the Round 3 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) from the originally scheduled date of 29th October. Whilst, according to the Department of Energy’s statement, 17 bids had been selected in the government’s initial wave of preferred bidders out of a total of 93 bids received, the large number of bids received has resulted in a delay. A final decision was expected to be made by 20th November but is now expected “by no later than 31 December 2013*.” The question that is now on the tips of everyone’s tongues in the renewable market is will the South African Government announce the full list of preferred bidders for this third round of REIPPPP before Christmas?

    Launched in 2011, South Africa’s REIPPPP initially set a target of 3.725 GW of renewable energy by 2016, but this was revised upwards in 2012 to 6.925 GW by 2020. In Round 1, 28 projects were closed in November 2012 and in Round 2, 19 were closed in May 2013. (more…)


  3. Vestas Completes Factory Testing of World’s Most Powerful Wind Turbine

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 2:37 pm by

    Interesting developments for the offshore wind market are on the horizon with Vestas today having completed its extensive testing of what will be the world’s most powerful wind turbine – the Vestas V164 – 8 MW with the nacelle weighing in at a massive 390 tons and being 20 metres long. Whilst the prototype is to be installed and tested to ensure reliability and performance in the early part of 2014, a turbine with this capacity is what the offshore wind market has been waiting for, making future offshore wind projects much more commercially viable compared to the current offshore wind farms. With current wind turbines in a majority of operating offshore wind projects currently each having a maximum capacity between 3 MW and 3.6 MW, an 8 MW wind turbine will dramatically change the economics of an offshore wind project given the cost of installation and cost of operation and maintenance of the turbines offshore as well as the savings for infrastructure.


  4. EPA Denies RFS Petitions; API and AFPM Request Partial Waiver

    Friday, August 16, 2013 11:09 am by

    August has been a busy month for issues related to the Renewable Fuels Standard (“RFS”). 

    On August 6, EPA denied the petitions for reconsideration filed by the American Petroleum Institute (“API”) and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (“AFPM”) regarding the 2013 Biomass-Based Diesel Renewable Fuel Volume.  EPA sent a letter to AFPM and another to API before publishing notice of this decision in the Federal Register on August 14.  As EPA’s technical response memo explains, EPA believes that there is no need to reconsider the applicable volume of biomass-based diesel for 2013 because the issues raised by API and AFPM could have been raised during the comment period and the issues raised do not provide substantial support for revising the standard.  In particular, EPA explained that there is no statutory prohibition to increasing the biomass-based diesel requirement over the 1.0 billion gallon standard even that will result in higher prices.  EPA disregarded two other arguments by explaining that when the Agency set the 2013 standard, it was aware of and considered both the 2012 drought and the RIN fraud issue.  (more…)


  5. Licensing Efficiency and Environmental Streamlining comes to Small Hydro Projects

    Monday, August 12, 2013 8:12 am by and

    Early Friday evening, President Obama signed into law two bills which aim to speed the licensing and environmental approval of low-impact hydropower projects. One bill is focused on projects under 5 megawatts constructed in manmade conduits - tunnels, canals, pipelines, aqueducts, flumes, ditches, or similar water conveyances – operated for the distribution of water for agricultural, municipal, or industrial consumption. These facilities no longer require FERC licensing, and therefore should be able to move forward much more expeditiously. Another provision allows slightly larger facilities – those with a capacity up to 10 kilowatts – to also be exempted from FERC licensing requirements by FERC Rule or Order. The last major provision of this bill requires FERC to examine the potential of issuing in only 2 years (including prefiling) all future licenses for hydropower development at nonpowered dams and closed loop pumped storage projects. The bill authorizes pilot projects and workshops to assist in the development of such a two-year process. The second bill stresses the need for streamlining the environmental review (essentially NEPA) process, ordering the Bureau of Reclamation to categorically exclude from the NEPA process such small conduit projects. (more…)


  6. EPA Issues Final 2013 Renewable Fuels Standard

    Wednesday, August 7, 2013 4:39 pm by

    On August 6, 2013, EPA issued a prepublication copy of the final rule establishing the 2013 annual percentage standards for the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) program for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel.  Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, EPA must promulgate regulations to ensure that an increasing amount of the transportation fuel sold in the U.S. contains renewable fuel. 

    To achieve this goal, EPA is required to annually set the renewable fuel standards for the following year by no later than November 30.  42 U.S.C. § 7545(o)(3)(B).  EPA did not meet this deadline in 2012 and instead published the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) in the Federal Register on February 7, 2013.  See 78 Fed. Reg. 9,282 (Feb. 7, 2013).  Despite missing the November 30, 2012 deadline, EPA claims in this final rule that the agency still has authority to issue a 2013 standard because the Clean Air Act does not specify a consequence for missing the deadline.  The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has previously concurred with this position.  See NPRM v. EPA, 630 F.3d 145, 152-58 (2010). (more…)


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