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Energy & Sustainability 2017 Year in Review: Policy Developments (Part 3 of 4)

In this four-part series, we revisit 2017’s biggest developments in Energy & Sustainability-related news, milestones, policy changes, and financial transactions. This is the third installment of the series. Click to read Part 1 and Part 2.

A handful of Energy and Sustainability related developments emerged from Washington, D.C. in 2017:

January:

Texas Governor Rick Perry was confirmed as Energy Secretary, and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was confirmed as EPA Administrator.

March:

President Trump signed an executive order dismantling portions of President Obama’s landmark climate change regulations. The order directs the agency to review and likely repeal the 2015 Clean Power Plan (111d), which requires existing power plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the earlier Section 111(b) rule limiting GHG emissions from future power plants. It also lifts the year-old coal leasing moratorium, unravels EPA and Department of Interior regulations on methane emissions and fracking, and overturns guidance for incorporating climate change into federal projects and the social cost of carbon.

June:

President Trump announced that the United States would cease implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, making the U.S. the only country in the world planning to opt out of the accord. In response, a number of U.S. states and cities announced their intention to go forward with implementation of the Paris Agreement goals, with California Governor Jerry Brown going so far as to sign an agreement between his state and China on reducing emissions.

August:

The Department of Energy released a comprehensive report on the reliability and resilience of the nation’s electric grid and an overview of the evolution of energy markets. The study contains a series of recommendations from the department meant to inform and guide policymakers, regulators, and the public.

November:

The Department of Energy approved the Presidential permit for the proposed Northern Pass Transmission Line project, a 192-mile above and below ground alternating and direct current transmission system that will deliver up to 1090 megawatts of low-emission hydropower from Quebec, Canada to Deerfield, New Hampshire. The project is estimated to provide more than $600 million in annual energy cost savings for New England customers.

Looking Ahead:

President Trump’s administration is expected to make a decision on solar tariffs around January 26th. The administration can decide to impose tariffs on imported solar technology, and the International Trade Commission is recommending a 30% tariff on large solar cells and a 35% tariff on imported modules.

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About this Author

Member / Chair, Energy & Sustainability Practice
Member

Tom Burton’s zeal for innovation and passion for energy and sustainability have shaped the clean energy industry. He created one of the nation’s first clean energy legal practices. Clients ranging from investors to entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 companies rely on him for creative and strategic legal solutions, and he has completed hundreds of venture capital and private equity financings, mergers and acquisitions, and IPOs. He guides the industry’s next generation of leaders through active involvement with start-up organizations and accelerators. The Northeast Clean Energy Council recognized...

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Sahir Surmeli Energy & Sustainability Attorney Mintz Levin
Member

Sa is a highly skilled and versatile business counselor who advises companies, boards, entrepreneurs, investment banks and venture and private equity investors, as they build and grow companies. He handles public offerings, 144A and private financings, acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic partnerships. Sa guides public and private companies and investors, primarily in the energy and sustainability, technology, materials science, hospitality, retail and life sciences industries. Known as a problem-solver, Sa executes transactions with creative structures to address new opportunities in finance and development of new markets by clients in partnership with global corporations. He also helps entrepreneurs secure financing, commercial agreements and partnerships.

Sahir represents emerging growth and established energy technology, information technology, life sciences and retail companies, investors and investment banks in public offerings, 144A offerings and other private financings, mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic partnerships. Sa is listed among the Top 100 Cleantech & Renewables Lawyers by Euromoney’s LMG Cleantech & Renewable Energy. He was also named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Sa is a senior member of the firm’s Securities Practice Group and Technology Practice Group and serves as Co-chair of the firm's Energy & Sustainability Practice. The firm’s Energy & Sustainability Practice has completed more than 500 transactions across energy sectors totaling over $8.5 billion since 2006. Serving more than 250 clients, spanning the ecosystem from emerging companies to large corporations, venture capital and private equity funds, investment banks, project developers, and family offices, the firm is recognized nationally as a leading law firm in the space.

Sa has worked on a wide variety of capital-raising projects, including equity, debt, syndicated loan, strategic investment and structured finance offerings, with aggregate proceeds of more than $10.6 billion. He has extensive experience in corporate finance and securities law as well as mergers and acquisitions. Sa represents issuers, underwriters, initial purchasers, and placement agents in public and private equity offerings, debt offerings (particularly high-yield, but also investment grade), bank financings, leveraged buyouts, securitizations, and related transactions as well as private equity funds in leveraged buyouts. He is also a key contributor to MintzEdge, an online resource for entrepreneurs that includes useful tools and information for starting and growing a company.

Sa has an MBA in corporate finance and focuses on adding value in complex financing structures and helping younger companies navigate the challenges of the public and private markets. He handles projects in a broad range of sectors, including energy and clean technology, information technology, telecommunications, materials technology, biotech, aerospace, semiconductor, retail and hospitality. He also has extensive international experience — he previously practiced in New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong and now works from the Boston office of Mintz. He has represented clients in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.

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