2013 Symposium: The Business and Law of Renewable Energy Finance

Green for Green: The Business and Law of Renewable Energy Finance

February 15, 2013

New York University School of Law, Vanderbilt Hall, Greenberg Lounge

40 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012

The Symposium will focus on the key legal, financial and policy issues involved the finance of renewable energy. What can our governments do to facilitate investment and production? What can private companies do in uncertain times? What lessons can we learn from abroad? Leaders from legal practice and academia, private investment, energy companies and all levels of government will cover these and other questions in three panel discussions. The Symposium is presented by the NYU Environmental Law Journal, the NYU Environmental Law Society, and the Frank J. Guarini Center for Land Use and Environmental Law.

Speakers include Nat Keohane (NYU School of Law; former Special Assistant to the President, National Economic Council), David Hill (NRG Energy), Shelley Welton (Columbia Center for Climate Change Law), Paul Francis (New York State SAGE Commission), Patricia Hammes (Shearman & Sterling), Jonathan Wolfson (Solazyme), John Williams (NYSERDA), Keith Johnson (Wall St. Journal), Michael Likosky (Center on Law and Public Finance), Gonzalo Moyano (Institute for Policy Integrity), Micah Kotch (NYC-ACRE), Mark Brownstein (Environmental Defense Fund), Kit Kennedy (Natural Resources Defense Council), Neil Auerbach (Hudson Clean Energy Partners), Richard Stewart (NYU School of Law).

Symposium is open to the public and free of charge. CLE Credit Available.

Contact Ted Lamm, Symposium Editor of the NYU Environmental Law Journal, with any questions about the Symposium. Email theodore.lamm@nyu.edu or call 646 823 4693.

Please RSVP by visiting http://nyulaw.imodules.com/greenforgreen and clicking on Registration.

SYMPOSIUM READINGS: Please click here for symposium readings.


8:30-9:00 Registration

9:00-9:30 Opening Remarks

9:30-11:00 Panel One: Government Incentives and Public Financing

This panel will discuss government (federal, state, and local level) incentives and programs aimed to facilitate renewable energy development in the U.S. Public financing currently plays a significant and indispensable role in any capital investment related to renewable energy, and understanding government incentives and programs will be essential to a thorough discussion in renewable energy financing. Panelists will focus on the appropriate role, costs and benefits of government in financing (and conflicts such as PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy)/FHFA (Federal Housing Financing Agency)), the future outlook of government incentives following the 2012 election, the viability of clean energy projects without government support, international innovations, and which governments will be public finance leaders in coming years. Background topics to be discussed include administration of financing programs, optimization of rebates/tariffs, and current practices.

11:15-12:15 Keynote Speech: The Future of Clean Energy Finance

12:15-1:15 Lunch

1:15-2:45 Panel Two: Private Finance

This panel will discuss the private side of renewable energy financing, including financial instruments currently in use on U.S. and international projects, carbon pricing, and how private players spread their risks and split costs when investing in renewable energy infrastructure, and how financing mechanisms differ between renewable energy sources. Conversation will focus on whether the economic downturn has had a temporary or permanent effect on financing; whether clean energy projects are ‘smart’ investments, in the U.S. or internationally; which source(s) will spearhead future growth; the government and other obstacles; and if money will be more focused on domestic or international projects in the coming years.

2:55-4:25 Panel Three: Legal Issues

This panel will discuss the legal issues and instruments that shape clean energy finance transactions. Questions to be raised and debated include: Will the current U.S. legal framework for energy help or hinder an increase in renewable energy market share, and how does it interact with the financing component? What reforms are needed, and where do we look? How does clean energy finance interact with different regional, national and international emissions reduction frameworks? What assumptions and expectations do (or should) financing entities operate on? What would constitute best- and worst-case scenarios? While focusing on these issues, the panelists may also touch on such topics as the legal frameworks under which clean energy finance lawyers operate; differences between federal, state and local siting authority (including the failure of the “critical energy corridor” created in the 2007 energy bill); FERC and ISO jurisdiction and rate requirements; the legal, financial and security implications of Smart Grid; and transmission investment.