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

Wind is blowing up in the Commonwealth! A report from Environment Massachusetts shows that offshore wind could help power the state’s electricity needs 19 times over – and major generators are already working to make it happen. Among them is ML Strategies client Deepwater Wind, which has identified New Bedford, Fall River and Somerset as possible sites where it will assemble wind turbine foundations for its Revolution Wind project.

Continue Reading New Report Highlights Offshore Wind as the Future of Energy in the Northeast; ML Strategies Client Deepwater Wind Ready to Lead the Way for Massachusetts

This month we are excited to highlight our client NBD Nanotechnologies! The Boston-based innovator recently secured an $8 million Series B financing to further grow its business while continuing to innovate within its proprietary platform focused on specialty chemical products that change the surface properties of materials like glass and plastic.

Continue Reading May 2018 Leader in the News: NBD Nanotechnologies

Congress

House Hearing on DOE Budget

On April 12, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing on “The Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Energy Budget” with testimony from Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. The wide-ranging discussion covered the Administration’s request for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which would see a 70% reduction from Fiscal Year 2018; the Yucca Mountain project and legacy cleanup responsibilities; pipeline safety; encouraging innovation in the private sector; the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; resiliency in the electric grid; fusion energy research; cybersecurity infrastructure; fuel security; and Small Refinery Waivers.

Continue Reading May 2018 Washington Update

For all the publicity generated by the recent increase in value of Bitcoin, as well as the generally increasing awareness of the existence of blockchain technology, Greentech Media’s recent Blockchain in Energy Forum 2018 held in New York City demonstrated that the technology is incredibly young and all stakeholders—utilities, regulators, entrepreneurs, consumers and investors—are still struggling with the ultimate impact of distributed ledger systems.  The promise of blockchain as a decentralized, verifiable and immutable database with the scalability to displace existing record-keeping systems is as of yet unfulfilled, but not for lack of effort.  The wide variety of issues covered in the day’s panels demonstrate the fundamental debates stockholder are still having. The touchstone questions to which panelists came again and again were “What problem is this solution supposed to solve?” and “Why does blockchain solve it better than any other solution?”  Definitive answers to both questions remain elusive.

Most expect blockchain technology to be the foundation of the future transactive energy grid in which power generated by distributed energy resources on a scale ranging residential rooftop solar to traditional generating stations is bought and sold in a marketplace, matching production with demand efficiently in real-time.  Our traditional hub-and-spoke model of electrical generation and transmission is evolving to one of widely distributed generation.  This new marketplace will require the settlement of an incredible number of transactions every second.  Some estimates have pegged the minimum rate of transactions to be settled for a country such as Germany at 260,000 per second in this future grid.  As a means of comparison, the blockchain behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin can only process 5 transactions per second – that of Ethereum, another well-known cryptocurrency, can handle approximately 15 transactions per second.  For the transactive grid to come to fruition, much progress remains to be made.

Efforts are underway.  The Energy Web Foundation, an off-shoot of The Rocky Mountain Institute, the nonprofit energy research and consulting group, has begun developing its own blockchain engineered specifically for use within the energy space named the Energy Web Platform.  Presently even this best attempt at an energy-specific blockchain can handle only 750 transactions per second.  Further technical issues abound.  Governance and best practices concerning the protocols pursuant to which major changes to the structure of the blockchain are implemented remain a topic of hot debate, as do the measures of verifying transactions on the blockchain.  With basic issues such as these still in flux, it is not surprising that a real world manifestation of a fully-functioning blockchain application has remained elusive in the energy industry.

Continue Reading Blockchain in Energy – Where Do We Stand? Where Do We Go From Here?

The world is changing! Over the last several years, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria have been an emerging focus in the investing world, primarily driven by equity investors where it can be harder for a company raising funds to correlate capital costs with ESG impact. Last month, multinational food-products giant Danone Group and its bank group, led by BNP Paribas, redefined the ESG landscape with a credit facility that is said to directly link borrowing rates to  “verified positive impact on the word.”

Continue Reading Save the World, Reduce Your Cost of Capital: How Danone is Turning ESG Impact into Lower Borrowing Costs