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Date: 28 August 2020
Energy Alert
By: Buck B. Endemann, Molly K. Barker, Natalie J. Reid, Matthew P. Clark, Abraham F. Johns, Olivia B. Mora, Daniel S. Nuñez Cohen

Illinois Rolls Out Energy Strategy for 100% Renewable Electricity

On 21 August 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker published the state’s “Putting Consumers & Climate First” plan. The initiative outlines eight principles intended to refocus energy generation and procurement to clean and renewable resources by 2050. Governor Pritzker hopes the plan and future legislation will pave a path focused on consumer needs and comprehensive energy reform. Each of the plan’s following principles provides an overarching goal for the state: 

  1. Strengthen utility company transparency and ethics requirements;
  2. Expand consumer affordability protections; 
  3. Make Illinois a renewable energy leader and phase out dirty power; 
  4. Implement a market-based solution that supports clean power and clean air;
  5. Electrify and decarbonize Illinois’ transportation sector; 
  6. Support communities transitioning to clean energy; 
  7. Advance equity in the growing clean energy economy; and 
  8. Enhance energy efficiency in Illinois.

While broad in nature, the initiative plans to transition to clean energy and phase out polluting generation facilities by adding a price on carbon emissions. Illinois is the latest state to issue a directive to transition to a 100 percent clean energy future, joining California, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Virginia, and Washington. 

Rhombus Energy Solutions Receives Additional Certifications for EV Charging Technologies 

On 11 August 2020, Rhombus Energy Solutions (Rhombus), a California-based energy innovation company, announced that it received certification for two additional UL standards for its electric vehicle (EV) charging unit technology. UL LLC (UL), an international safety certification company based in Illinois, develops and administers industry-accepted test standards that are required by equipment buyers and their financing parties. Rhombus’ high-power 60 kilowatt AC-DC Power Conditioning System charging unit is now certified to the UL 1741 standard for Inverters, Converters, Controllers and Interconnection System Equipment and the 1741-SA standard for grid support functions. These certifications are in addition to the UL 2202 certification for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, which UL has previously bestowed on the Rhombus technology.

The certifications mean that Rhombus meets the industry’s design and testing requirements for EV charging units safely in use with distributed energy grid solutions. The charging units will house a cloud-based, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) software platform from Nuvve Corporation, a California-based green technology company. Nuvve Corporation recently highlighted that its V2G technology allows school districts and utilities to utilize electric school buses to help California’s electric grid maintain parity and reduce the need for rolling blackouts.

Researchers Develop Stand-Alone Device that Converts Water, Sunlight, and Carbon Dioxide into Fuel

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a standalone device that converts water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide into fuel without the use of electricity. The device uses photocatalysts embedded on a sheet to create a photocatalyst sheet. The sheets are made of semiconductor powders that can be prepared cost-effectively in large quantities. The sheets mimic the process of photosynthesis—the ability of plants to convert sunlight into energy—and convert sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water into oxygen and formic acid. Formic acid is a storable fuel that can be used directly or converted into hydrogen.

The technology represents a new technique for converting carbon dioxide into a clean fuel that is easy to store while largely avoiding the creation of unwanted byproducts, an improvement on earlier solar carbon-conversion technologies. The researchers anticipate scaling the photocatalyst sheets to a commercial size to create energy “farms” and are experimenting with different catalysts to improve the technology’s stability and efficiency. 

Power Ledger Unveils Southeast Asia’s First Peer-to-Peer REC Marketplace 

On 25 August 2020, Power Ledger announced the upcoming launch of a marketplace platform to trade renewable energy credits (RECs) across Southeast Asia. Power Ledger, an Australian company facilitating electricity and environmental commodity peer-to-peer trading through blockchain technology, originally conducted a trial of its platform in Bangkok with BCPG, the renewable energy arm of BCP Group, a Thai state-controlled energy company. BCPG now intends to use the platform to sell, trade, issue, and retire RECs in a marketplace covering Southeast Asia. This development of tracking REC generation, trading, and retirement without a broker will be the first international REC marketplace of its kind in Asia.

This publication/newsletter is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting a lawyer. Any views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the law firm's clients.

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