SCEBA to Join E4 Carolinas

The South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance, a longtime promoter of alternative energy in the State, has voted to dissolve, citing lack of funding. SCEBA’s Director and Board Members will remain active, however. They are all joining E4 Carolinas’ new Clean Energy Task Force. E4 Carolinas says the new task force will “focus on energy created from low-carbon fuel sources, such as renewables, hydrogen, and nuclear. Weston Adams, current Chair of the SCEBA Board of Directors, will Co-Chair the Task Force, and SCEBA’s Executive Director, Bonnie Loomis, will serve as E4 Carolinas’ South Carolina Managing Director. E4 Carolinas was organized in 2012 as a trade association for energy companies and organizations. It has 140 members and offices in Columbia, Charlotte, and Raleigh. We wish our SCEBA colleagues the best of luck in the new venture!

SACE Ranks South Carolina Solar Favorably

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) has released its third annual “Solar in the Southeast Report” and it says nice things about the Palmetto State. SACE credits the Energy Freedom Act (Act 62 of 2019) with boosting the state’s solar energy industry. By 2023, SACE projects, South Carolina will surpass North Carolina in Watts per Customer, leading the southeast and doubling the current state output. The report also notes that each of the options for the future of Santee Cooper includes substantial solar expansion.

Santee Cooper Extends Bosnall’s Contract

Andrew Brown reports in The Post and Courier that Santee Cooper’s Board has voted to extend CEO Mark Bosnall’s and Deputy CEO Charles Duckworth’s contracts for another six months. The contracts will expire in July of 2021. At $1.1 million per year plus a bonus, Bosnall is not in the same league with football coaches but, still, not bad for government work!

SC PSC Allows Declarations in Lieu of Affidavits

The Public Service Commission voted to allow parties to file declarations instead of affidavits, adopting the practice of the S.C. Court system during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission’s order helps parties who are trying to practice social distancing or have difficulty locating a notary public during the pandemic.

Solar Setback?

Just as the solar energy business was taking off, the Post and Courier reports it could lose over 1,000 jobs due to COVID-19. Bret Sowers, chairman of the SC Solar Business Alliance said fewer customers will spend money on solar installations during the economic downturn. Solar companies have also experienced supply chain disruption, because many components of solar arrays are manufactured in Asian companies affected by the Corona virus, according to The Hill. Solar is not alone, other sources of renewable energy such as wind are experiencing similar disruptions. So far, the renewable energy sector has gotten little help from Congress either. Measures such as extension of tax credits have been left out of the three stimulus bills passed by Congress, and are missing in the HEROES Act recently passed by the House, according to Politico. Congressional leaders insist they will address renewable in separate legislation. Investment in renewable energy might be part of an effort to resuscitate the economy with public infrastructure projects, as with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which provided $27 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy and investment.

“It’s going to be a huge problem, and it raises the ugly question of who’s going to pay for this”

Holland & Knight LLP energy and environmental partner Tara Kaushik said this in an article published in Law 360. It’s a very good point. According to Business Insider the IEA says energy demand could drop 6% this year, more than seven times the impact of the 2008 financial crisis. Utilities, including those in South Carolina, have also responded to the COVID-19 crisis by suspending cut-offs for non-payment, a reasonable and compassionate step to take when so many of their customers are out of work. But it can’t go on indefinitely. Eventually, customers will be expected to pay their bills, and extended payment plans will be offered to those who cannot pay large accumulated balances. None of these measures are free. Utility companies and regulators have some tough choices ahead as the country attempts to emerge from the COVID-19 lock down.

Have law office dress codes permanently changed?

Lawyers are dressing differently during the pandemic. “Corona casual” is the new look, as we video chat from home and other secluded locations. For those of us already inclined to wear khakis and a polo shirt to the office — well, let’s just say our standards are even more relaxed now. What about after the pandemic? Will we return to our starchy ways, or has the office changed forever?