Application deadlines for ARPA broadband funding: August 13 and August 20

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provides billions in direct assistance to the State of Ohio and its metro cities, with additional funds to other cities, villages, townships and counties for broadband infrastructure investments, but time is almost up to apply. The deadline for the Emergency Connectivity Fund included in ARPA, a $7.17 billion program to help schools and libraries support and facilitate remote learning, is August 13, 2021. School districts may also apply for the ARPA Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) $4.5 billion fund for broadband infrastructure projects by August 20, 2021.

Bricker’s step-by-step guide to ARPA resources for expanding broadband connectivity can be found here.

Federal Updates, Project Finance, State Updates

MORPC receives $400K federal grant to update Central Ohio economic development strategy

The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded a $400,000 grant to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) “to update the region’s economic development strategy,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. One Columbus and other commission partners will be involved in developing the update, called a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), according to the article. Dennis Alvord, acting assistant secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, said the CEDS “will lay the groundwork for future investment and job creation to help Central Ohio build resiliency from future economic disruptions.” The CEDS can “unlock important federal tools and funding sources across the region and ensure the region is prepared for transformational economic development opportunities.” For more, read the full article

Economic Development, Federal Updates, State Updates

Bricker & Eckler to present American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 webinar for Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce

Bricker & Eckler will present a free webinar, "American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) Impact on Local Governments and Small Businesses," for the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Tuesday, April 20, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law on March 11, 2021. Many Americans have already begun receiving their “stimmies” - one of the most well-known aspects of the stimulus package. For the lesser known provisions – including large sums to be paid to local governments and small businesses - Bricker attorneys Jeff Harris, Jackie Lewis and Brooke Mangiarelli will provide an overview presentation and take questions from attendees. The webinar is open to Chamber members and non-members alike. Register here >>

Economic Development, Federal Updates, Financial Incentives, Project Finance

Bricker & Eckler, with national and state partners, to host PACE market update webinar

Bricker & Eckler, along with national and state partners, will host a webinar Tuesday, January 12, 11:00 a.m. - 1 p.m. EST, to recap significant PACE industry developments from 2020 and preview what’s on the horizon for 2021. The webinar will focus on the Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Pennsylvania markets. Special guest Colin Bishopp, Executive Director of PACENation, will share a national perspective of the PACE landscape. More information >>

Energy Efficiency, Federal Updates, Financial Incentives, Project Finance, State Updates

Car manufacturers broadening EV lineups to include more SUVs, trucks

The electric vehicle (EV) market is growing not only in market segment, but in the size and variety of models manufacturers are gearing up to produce, the Business Journal Daily reports. Automakers are preparing to “begin offering full-size SUVs and pickup trucks” as part of their EV lineups, according to the article. The Endurance pickup from Lordstown Motors Corp. “is expected to hit the market next year,” with 40,000 already on pre-order. Tesla reported it has 650,000 preorders for its Cybertruck, and Ford Motor Co. “will be rolling out electric versions of its venerable F-150 and Mustang lines, the latter of which will be as an all-new SUV version.” General Motors (GM) is reviving its Hummer nameplate as an electric-powered GMC truck. GM announced “a five-year, $20 billion commitment to its electric lineup,” including the $2.3 billion Lordstown plant that will produce batteries for all its electric vehicles “as well as a Honda model.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Federal Updates

US corporate demand will drive up to 72 GW in new renewable projects over next 10 years

Corporate-driven power purchase agreements (PPAs) “could represent 20% of all utility scale renewable power additions” in the United States from 2021 to 2030, according to a recent IHS Markit report, Utility Dive reports. The report concludes corporate-driven PPAs “could drive development of 4.4 GW to 7.2 GW annually,” according to the article. More than 200 companies in the U.S. are procuring renewable energy or plan to do so, and “about 40% of these companies have targets that escalate through the early to mid-2020s.” For more, read the full article.

Federal Updates, Renewable Energy

FERC ruling reverses 40 years of PURPA precedent in defining small solar

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently issued an order that reverses “40 years of precedent under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA)” determining how a small power producer is defined, Utility Dive reports. In the ruling, FERC “denied qualifying facility (QF) status to a facility in Montana with a net capacity of 80 MW of solar power . . . asserting that because its gross capacity is 160 MW, it does not meet the legal threshold for a QF,” according to the article. That facility, Broadview, updated its filing in 2019 “to reflect the addition of panels that allow it to have 160 MW of gross capacity”; the developer “argues that because its 160 MW solar, 50 MW battery facility connects directly to direct-current-to-alternating-current inverters, the maximum net capacity of the facility is still 80 MW.” For more, read the full article.

Federal Updates, Renewable Energy, Solar

DC Circuit ruling overturns longstanding FERC practice of delaying through tolling orders

An en banc decision from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that “prevents federal regulators from delaying decisions on whether to build out gas infrastructure indefinitely” could have “major consequences for stakeholders,” Utility Dive reports. The court ruled in Allegheny Defense Project v. FERC that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) “does not have the authority to postpone decisions on requests for rehearing” from landowners indefinitely, according to the article. 

Under the current process, “an individual has 30 days to file a request for rehearing after FERC issues an order,” then FERC has 30 days to respond. FERC “commonly responds to such requests through delaying or tolling the order,” which prevents the parties seeking a rehearing from pursuing litigation. 

Jeff Dennis, managing director and general counsel at Advanced Energy Economy, said the most severe impacts from that approach were on landowners; the “factual circumstances of the Allegheny Defense Project case were kind of the most extreme examples of how that policy could create real, lasting, irreparable harm on parties who are seeking rehearing and ultimately plan to seek judicial review.” For more, read the full article.

Federal Updates

$1B Gemini Solar Project will be largest solar project in U.S. history

The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved a proposal to construct and operate a 690-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar energy facility about 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, greenlodgingnews.com reports. The estimated $1 billion Gemini Solar Project “could be the eighth-largest solar power facility in the world when finished and is expected to generate enough electricity to power 260,000 homes in the Las Vegas area and potential energy markets in Southern California,” according to the article. Project construction “is anticipated to average 500 to 700 construction workers” at a time, “supporting up to an additional 1,100 jobs in the local community and injecting an estimated $712.5 million into the economy in wages and total output during construction.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Federal Updates, Renewable Energy, Solar

Renewables could overtake coal generation in 2020 as COVID-19 accelerates transition

The latest short-term energy outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows renewables generation “is set to outpace coal generation in 2020,” amid “shrinking electricity demand caused by COVID-19 response measures as well as low natural gas prices,” Utility Dive reports. Coal consumption “is expected to decrease by nearly a quarter to 453 million short tons this year” due to competitive gas prices and lower power consumption, according to the article. Renewable generation, on the other hand, has been “following an upward trend” and is projected to grow by 11% this year, “despite COVID-related impacts to new generation capacity builds in the coming months.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Federal Updates, Renewable Energy
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