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White House Plan to Further Expand Renewable Energy Use

President Barack Obama announced on August 24, 2015, additional steps taken to increase the adoption of renewable energy.

Among other things, the set of executive actions announced on Monday include making $1 billion in additional loan guarantee authority available and announcing new guidelines for distributed energy projects utilizing innovative technology and states looking to access this financing. The additional loan guarantee authority supplements the Department of Energy’s current loan guarantee solicitations, which total more than $10 billion in loan guarantee authority, to invite applications for distributed energy projects.

“Distributed Energy Projects are currently driving innovation and transforming U.S. energy markets. Technologies such as rooftop solar, energy storage, smart grid technology and methane capture for oil and gas wells, solve key energy challenges,” the White House said in a statement that it issued.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is also issuing new guidance making clear that state-affiliated financial entities, such as state green banks, may submit applications for eligible projects, including distributed energy projects. Further, the DOE specified that state-affiliated entities, including such state green banks, may participate in distributed energy projects as lenders or co-lenders, off-takers or equity providers.

To aid in the removal of existing barriers and accelerate the use of Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also announced that, under guidance to be issued soon, properties with subordinate PACE loans can be purchased and refinanced with an FHA insured mortgage. PACE financing allows homeowners to benefit from energy improvements immediately and pay back the cost over time through their property taxes. When the property is sold, the remaining PACE loan stays with the more energy efficient property and the next owner is responsible for repaying the loan.

“For decades, we’ve been told that it doesn’t make economic sense to switch to renewable energy. Today, that’s no long true,” President Obama said while speaking at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas.

The White House announcement closely coincides with administration’s announcement of the Clean Power Plan earlier this month.

© 2019 Foley & Lardner LLP


About this Author

Jason W. Allen, Foley Lardner, Energy Industry Lawyer, Finance Attorney

Jason Allen is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP, where he is a member and co-chair of the Energy Industry Team. He is a member of the Finance & Financial Institutions, Transactional & Securities, and Private Equity & Venture Capital Practices. Mr. Allen’s practice focuses in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, private equity, finance, and general corporate and commercial law, with a particular emphasis on transactions in the energy industry. 

Justus Britt, Solar Energy Project Attorney, Foley Lardner Law Firm

Justus Britt is a business lawyer and special counsel with Foley & Lardner LLP. Mr. Britt focuses on the development and acquisition of solar energy projects. His project development experience includes advising clients on real estate, permitting, and construction matters, including negotiating supply, EPC, and O&M agreements. Mr. Britt’s acquisition experience includes leading due diligence efforts and assisting on stock and asset purchase agreements, as well as joint venture agreements. He is a member of the firm’s Energy Industry Team and the Transactional & Securities Practice.