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Renewable Energy Project Finance in the U.S.: An Overview and Midterm Outlook

Clean Tech Newsletter

Quarterly Clean-Tech Law Alert
Legal Insight for the Clean-Tech Community
Partner Announcement

Clean Edge has teamed up with Mintz Levin to provide key legal updates for the clean-tech community on a quarterly basis. The following articles and legal updates were written by Mintz Levin. See contact information at the bottom of this message if you have legal questions regarding these updates or would like to learn more about Mintz Levin services.

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Renewable Energy Project Finance in the U.S.: An Overview and Midterm Outlook

Mintz Levin is pleased to provide you with a report addressing Renewable Energy Project Finance in the U.S.: An Overview and Midterm Outlook.

In this report, Mintz Levin provides an update on the current terms and availability of project financing for wind, solar and geothermal projects in the U.S. and forecasts the amount of project financing expected to be sought by the sector through 2012. In analyzing where this financing is likely to come from, Mintz Levin addresses the potential impacts of the upcoming expiration of the cash grant and changes to the tax equity supply – two main themes in the renewable energy project financing arena at present.

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Incentivizing Energy Efficiency across the American Economy
By Tyler C. Stone

Three major sectors of the American economy—industrial, residential, and commercial—are ripe for tremendous energy savings. McKinsey & Company estimates that by 2020, capturing the economy’s full efficiency potential will save $442 billion in energy costs and 300 megatons of CO2e in the industrial sector; $395 billion and 360 megatons of CO2e in the residential sector; and $290 billion and 360 megatons of CO2e in the commercial sector. The total possible savings in energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions are staggering: more than $1.1 trillion and 1,020 megatons of CO2e by the end of this decade.

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Congress Recharges Tax Incentives for the Clean Energy Sector
By Thomas R. Burton, Bryan M. Stockton, Travis L. Blais, and Christopher T. Bird

As part of the $858 billion Middle Class Tax Cut Act of 2010 extending the Bush-era tax rates and a variety of expiring business tax credits, Congress extended several key tax incentives which benefit the clean technology and renewable energy sectors.

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Court: Tax Equity Partnerships Promote Congressional Intent
By Travis L. Blais

Tax credit investors received a big boost from the U.S. Tax Court in Historic Boardwalk Hall LLC v. Commissioner, 136 TC No. 1 (January 3, 2011). The court upheld a partnership structured to generate historic rehabilitation tax credits for a corporate investor notwithstanding the investor’s limited risks and clear tax motivation. Where Congress enacts tax credits consciously to spur investment in unprofitable project areas, taxpayers act appropriately in pursuing transactions that make business sense only on an after-tax basis. The case has positive implications for renewable energy sector investors looking to avail themselves of production tax credits, investment tax credits, accelerated depreciation deductions, and other tax incentives.

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Supreme Court Will Decide Fate of Climate Change Nuisance Lawsuits
By Katy E. Ward and Jeffrey J. McCourt

The Supreme Court will decide whether a lawsuit alleging that certain power companies’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions constitute a public nuisance can proceed in the courts. The power companies hope that the Court will reverse the Second Circuit Court of Appeals which allowed that lawsuit, Connecticut v. American Electric Power Co. (AEP), to proceed.

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ML Strategies Energy and Environment Update
By Sarah Litke and David J. Leiter

During his State of the Union Address January 25, President Obama will address a joint session of the House and the Senate and is expected to call for new Federal spending, even while trying to reduce the budget deficit. The new spending, likely to be in areas of renewable energy and infrastructure investments, is important to improving US competitiveness, and President Obama is expected to call for cuts in other areas as he lays out his legislative agenda for the coming year. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) will deliver the Republican response to the president’s speech.

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ML Strategies California Energy and Environment Update
By Bryan Stockton and David J. Leiter

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced this week that it would delay its announcement of new greenhouse gas standards for light-duty vehicles until Sept. 1, the day the U.S. EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will release their fuel efficiency standards for passenger cars and light-duty trucks built between 2017 and 2025. California, which is permitted under the Clean Air Act to implement its own rules, had been expected to announce its 2017-2025 standards as early as March.

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