The Massachusetts restrictive covenant legal landscape is set to shift dramatically with a new law limiting the use and enforcement of non-competition agreements by employers – effective October 1. In a post on our Mintz Levin teammates’ Employment Law Matters blog, they review the new law’s requirements, discuss the legal and practical implications of the law, and outline action items for employers. Click here to read the blog post.

As the sustainability movement grows, so too do the ambiguities under which boards of directors govern. In this article published by the National Association of Corporate Directors, Thomas R. Burton and Benjamin D. Stone, members of our Energy & Sustainability practice group, provide suggestions for how boards can navigate this exciting but still developing sector and help corporations generate both profits and positive impact.

“It is encouraging to live in a time where society is increasingly insisting that corporations generate and measure social impact alongside profit. Not only is this a positive development from a moral perspective, but it’s also good business. In the report, “From the Stockholder to the Stakeholder: How Sustainability Can Drive Financial Outperformance,” for example, Oxford University and Arabesque Asset Management establish that corporations that “incorporate sustainability considerations into decision-making processes . . . show better operational performance and are less risky.”

Mainstream financial and business leaders appear to, in large part, agree. In 2017, Larry Fink, chair of Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, sent a letter to CEOs stating that, “to prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.” Investors are following suit, with eighty-four percent (84%) applying or considering Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria.”

Read the full article: “Stakeholders’ Desire for Sustainability Presents Opportunities and Challenges for Boards”

A law recently enacted by the Massachusetts legislature and signed by Governor Charlie Baker will increase the use of renewable fuels to produce electricity, allow the development of more offshore wind farms, enable more technologies to qualify for energy efficiency incentives and increase the use of technologies that store electricity. It is the third clean energy law enacted in Massachusetts since 2016.

Passed by a vote of 150-1 in the House of Representatives and 36-0 in the Senate on July 31st, the last day of formal sessions this year, “An Act to Advance Clean Energy” (H. 4857) was the product of a conference committee tasked with reconciling significant differences between one large Senate bill and four relatively modest House bills. The resulting compromise aligns more closely with the House legislation than the omnibus bill passed by the Senate, but its significance should not be underestimated.

Continue Reading Expansion of Clean Energy Policies Continues

A hot new area for the development of energy efficiency storage technology is refrigeration. Last month, this blog covered the recent success of Mintz Levin client Axiom Exergy. Axiom’s focus on lowering the costs of refrigeration through their Refrigeration Battery has caught the attention of major investors such as Shell Investors, and has led to deals with major chains, including Wal-Mart and Whole Foods. The battery, which is described in more detail in the June 12th post, generates and stores excess refrigeration by freezing tanks of salt water during off-peak hours and releasing the refrigeration during peak hours to avoid high peak energy costs. The Refrigeration Battery is especially useful for supermarkets, which dedicate nearly 60% of their energy consumption towards refrigeration, and can help reduce peak energy consumption by up to 40%.

Of course, energy efficiency storage technology holds promise for more than just supermarkets. Ice Energy’s Ice Bear battery creates and stores ice during off-peak hours. It can then use that stored Continue Reading Battery Companies Drive Innovation in Energy Efficiency Storage Technology

At the Northeast Clean Energy Council’s (NECEC) latest Emerging Trends Series forum on July 11, 2018, leaders from the clean energy industry and the public sector convened to discuss the future of energy efficiency in the Northeast. As a sponsor of NECEC, Mintz Levin was proud to host this forum, which featured speakers from leading companies and organizations working to drive energy efficiency in the Northeast through new policy mechanisms and with innovative technologies and service models.

Continue Reading The Four Things You Need To Know About The Future of Energy Efficiency

It has been over two years since Governor Baker enacted the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program, and nearly one year since the state’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER) released its final set of proposed regulations for the program. In our latest SMART update, we take a look at where the program currently stands and what energy providers can expect next (read our previous updates here and here).

Continue Reading Update on Massachusetts SMART Program: Where Are We Now?

A recent change to Section 3(c)(1) of the Investment Company Act may make it easier for small venture capital funds and certain special purpose vehicles to raise capital.  While Section 3(c)(1) previously enabled such funds with up to 100 beneficial owners to be exempt from registering as investment companies with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the revised law increases this threshold to 250 beneficial owners.

Teammates from Mintz Levin’s Corporate & Securities Practice recently explained the change to Section 3(c)(1) and the potential benefits for qualifying venture capital funds in an alert. To read the full alert, click here.

In May, Mintz Levin client Axiom Exergy closed an impressive $7.6 million Series A round to scale its cold-storage device for grocery stores, bringing its total fundraising to $12.5 million. Led by Shell Ventures and GXP Investments, this financing will allow the innovative thermal storage startup to expand from two pilot installations to fleet-wide rollouts and reinforce its cloud-based data analytics for optimizing electricity consumption.
Continue Reading June Leader in the News: Axiom Exergy Closes $7.6 Million Series A with a New Thermal Storage Model for Grocery Stores

In a report titled Moving Electrons, investment firm Village Capital highlighted the transportation sector as the next big focal point for cleantech investors seeking opportunities to support firms and sectors that are likely to significantly reduce carbon emissions. The report, which was co-sponsored by the Autodesk Foundation, is a collaborative piece based on feedback from an advisory board Village Capital assembled, including Generate Capital President Jigar Shah, Hewlett Foundation Environment Program Officer Marilyn Waite, CleanChoice Energy co-founder Richard Graves and BP Venture Advisor Miriam Eaves. The authors chose to focus on the transportation industry because of its status as the single largest source of carbon dioxide emissions. Continue Reading Village Capital Report Highlights Transportation as New Focus For Cleantech Investors

Congress

House Hearing on Challenges Facing Our Electrical Grid

On May 10, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing to discuss the state of the country’s electric transmission infrastructure. This hearing was a continuation of the Subcommittee on Energy’s Powering America series, a series of hearings dedicated to examining aspects of the nation’s power sector. The gathered panel of experts provided members of the subcommittee with insight into the challenges that exist within the electric transmission sector. Continue Reading June 2018 Washington Update