On September 11th, Tesla announced the opening of Supercharger stations in downtown Boston and Chicago, representing the first step in the company’s effort to expand its Supercharger network into urban areas. The company currently operates 951 Supercharger stations worldwide, primarily along major highways to provide quick recharging on long trips. By bringing the network of charging stations into city centers, Tesla hopes to service growing demand among urban dwellers without immediate access to home or workplace charging.
On August 23, 2017, the Department of Energy (DOE) released its “Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability,” which was commissioned by U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in April to provide an assessment of the reliability and resilience of the United States’ electrical grid. The comprehensive report includes an overview of electric grid resources, identification of issues bearing on electricity markets, and several recommendations primarily focused on implementing pricing policies designed to support baseload resources.
On August 23, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded $455,000 in grants to seven early-stage researchers and companies developing clean energy technologies as part of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) Catalyst program.
On August 23, Massachusetts joined the eight other states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in announcing a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an additional 30 percent by 2030 relative to 2020 levels. The nation’s first market-based regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the RGGI counts Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Massachusetts as members. Since 2009, the initiative has employed a cap-and-trade program to lower emissions, and the proceeds from the pollution permit auctions are used to support energy efficiency programs in the member states. This most recent plan would lower emissions by more than 65 percent since the initiative’s inception.
On August 11th, 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) released its final set of proposed regulations for the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, which aims to deploy another 1,600 MW of new solar resources in the Commonwealth.
In early April 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) partnered with investor-owned electric distribution companies across the state to jointly issue a request for proposals (RFP) for renewable energy generation. The mission of the RFP is to ultimately help the state meet goals outlined by energy diversity legislation signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker in August 2016. By the time the initial deadline closed on July 27th, the state had received nearly four dozen bids for a contract to add more renewable power to its energy portfolio.
On July 20, 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a report directing the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop solutions to improve the cyber and physical security and overall resilience of the US electrical grid. The report, which was first initiated by Congress following the massive outages caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2014 and is further driven by recent malware infections found on the servers at a nuclear plant, addresses threats to the grid posed by natural disasters and malicious cyberattacks.
This year is proving to be the year of investing in innovative energy technology. Mercom Capital Group reports that in the first half of 2017, over $1 billion in venture capital and private equity funding has been invested in battery storage, smart grid and energy efficiency companies worldwide, exceeding the first-half funding benchmarks in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Mercom Capital Group, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, surveyed the combined venture capital funding (including private equity and corporate venture capital) and mergers & acquisitions across 89 companies in three separate sectors – Battery Storage, Smart Grid, and Energy Efficiency. Total investments in these areas amounted to $1.03 billion across the first half of 2017, a marked 25% jump from $807 million in the first half of 2016.
On July 19-20, 2017, Big Path Capital hosted its 9th annual Impact Capitalism Summit in Nantucket. Mintz Levin is has been proud to serve as a sponsor of the event for the past three years. The Impact Capitalism Summit is the largest convening of investors focused on maximizing impact and maximizing return. This year’s Summit focused on the future of impact investing as the new mainstream. Our own Tom Burton moderated a panel on the power of impact investing as it relates to climate change, highlighting its potential to engage broader, bipartisan engagement of actors across industries.