From site acquisition and facility permitting to power purchase agreement negotiation and project financing, the emerging area of renewable energy development is complex and requires a diverse base of knowledge. HSE's Renewable Energy team brings together attorneys from across different practices to advise on the feasibility, financing, structuring, and regulation of a wide range of renewable energy projects. Our extensive experience in construction, corporate, energy, environmental, litigation, municipal, real estate, and tax law helps clients address issues and identify opportunities in this evolving sector.
We advise individuals, companies, and municipalities on first-of-its-kind waste to energy technologies, solar, wind, biomass, and other renewable fuel generating projects across the region. Our services cover the full scope of renewable energy-related projects including:
Where we started: Our client, a regional retailer, was approached by a developer to be the anchor tenant in an Upstate New York commercial solar project. The client was intrigued and saw the opportunity as a way to support the burgeoning clean energy sector while gaining a potential energy cost savings. As with anything that is new, the process and the contracts were complex and convoluted, and the client was unsure if the proposal was feasible or worth their time.
Our approach: These deals can seem opaque and many clients immediately ask, “What is the financial bottom line?” We educated our client on the process, the opportunity, and the economics of these types of projects. We provided the metrics, pros and cons of the contract, and decided with the client that this project/developer was not right for it.
The outcome: Although this specific project did not come to fruition, we helped the client realize that as a large user of energy, it can take the reins on finding the best solution for them and need not settle for less than the ideal situation. The client is now actively seeking solar energy projects and considering rolling out the concept to each of its locations.
Where we started: Solar projects can offer municipalities a wide range of benefits including saving them and their residents money, reducing dependence on power grids, and demonstrating commitments to clean energy and sustainability. Our long-time client, the Town of Erwin Industrial Development Agency (TEIDA), wanted to explore developing a few parcels of Town land for solar projects to benefit its community and create revenue. Two parcels were chosen to be included in the TEIDA’s RFP to developers; one a closed landfill and the other a vacant parcel. TEIDA received multiple responses and we were brought in to help select a developer from the proposals.
Our approach: After reviewing the proposals, it became clear that, as a whole, the submissions were not presented in a way that allowed TEIDA to make an informed decision. For example, one developer proposed a traditional, behind-the-meter project. Another proposed a community distributed generation project. We suggested TEIDA re-run the RFP process from the beginning to ensure the information in the submissions was uniform and comprehensive. After helping to re-draft and re-issue the RFP, we reviewed the submissions with TEIDA, highlighting the pros and cons of each proposal in the specific context of TEIDA’s parcels and goals, and identify the differences. Because of our experience handling these types of projects, we were able to answer many technical and legal questions to help TEIDA arrive at an informed, confident decision as to which proposal best fit its goals and furthered its purpose of helping the members of its community.
The outcome: With our assistance, TEIDA understood the economics of each proposal, and thus was able to select the developer that provided the right approach for TEIDA. The project will result in significant additional revenue over the course of the agreement and a new source of clean energy for the Town and its residents. There is no doubt that solar projects can offer benefits to municipalities. The challenge is making sure the selected project is optimal for the specific entity, and that requires that the municipality understand complex aspects of this area. Our primary objective in these matters is to educate the client so they are comfortable with the terms, the technology, the risks, and the opportunities.