Explore Our Capabilities

Renewable Energy & Utilities

Overview

Our lawyers combine their energy industry experience and focused skills to guide clients through regulatory proceedings and investigations, project development, and joint ventures, acquisitions and other transactions. Our experience before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and state utility commissions – combined with our commercial, finance, tax, land use and environmental work for clients on energy projects and transactions – allows us to help clients achieve their business goals effectively and efficiently.

We work regularly in the increasingly complex energy industry on behalf of electric and gas public utilities, electric cooperatives, independent power producers, renewable energy developers (solar PV, solar thermal, wind, fuel cell, biomass, biogas and geothermal), financial institutions and other tax equity investors, energy services companies, and engineering, procurement and construction companies. Our energy team includes three lawyers who together have more than three decades of in-house experience with electric and gas public utilities, as well as lawyers with experience working in federal and state government and regulatory positions with energy responsibilities.

Areas of Focus

Energy Finance and Transactions

Lawyers in our renewable energy practice advise clients on all aspects of the financing, acquisition and development of renewable energy facilities. Our clients include:

  • Solar developers
  • Wind developers
  • Senior lenders
  • Tax equity investors
  • Senior lenders
  • Solar panel manufacturers
  • Investment banks

Our practice covers all types of financing structures, including:

  • Senior secured loans
  • Capital lease structures
  • Leveraged lease structures
  • Vendor financing

Experience Highlights

  • Represented a major international investment bank in connection with its capital lease/tax equity financing program.
  • Represented a major international bank in connection with leveraged lease financing transaction.
  • Represented a global solar panel manufacturer in connection with its secured vendor finance program.


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Energy Land Transactions

Traditional electric utilities and renewable energy companies encounter a variety of real estate and infrastructure development needs. Whether assisting on day-to-day right of way acquisitions, property management issues or counseling clients on new, large-scale energy production facilities, our commercial real estate and infrastructure development attorneys provide energy clients a complete, turn-key service solution to their real estate legal needs in the Southeast. Our clients include:

  • Electric utilities acquiring rights of way and property for substation sites, power transmission lines and support facilities.
  • Wind energy companies assembling land in eastern North Carolina to develop new power generation facilities.
  • Solar companies developing new facilities on raw land and on existing structures and buildings.
  • Biomass energy production companies converting a variety of biomass fuels to electricity.
  • Natural gas pipeline company building out its network of propane distribution from natural gas liquid (NGL) fractionators and refineries to customers nationwide.
  • Manufacturing and distribution companies installing on-site, natural gas refueling stations for alternative fuel motor vehicle fleets.
  • Public transit agencies acquiring and utilizing electric hybrid and natural gas vehicles and developing refueling stations and vehicle support infrastructure.

In addition to negotiating long-term leases, easements and purchase contracts for land and right of way acquisition, we have extensive experience negotiating and addressing issues unique to our energy clients:

  • Condemnation of right of way and property for electric utility providers.
  • Stormwater, traffic, site plan and subdivision issues affecting energy production and distribution facilities.
  • Integration of energy production and transmission facilities in urban and suburban areas.

Energy Regulatory

Lawyers on our energy regulatory team advise companies regarding regulations, orders and policies of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the North Carolina Utilities Commission and the South Carolina Public Service Commission. Our clients include:

  • Investor-owned utilities
  • Electric cooperatives
  • Renewable energy developers across all technologies (wind, solar, fuel cell, biomass)
  • Independent power producers

Our regulatory counsel includes:

  • Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) establishment, administration and compliance.
  • Regulatory filings associated with transmission expansion and offering transmission service.
  • Compliance with anti-market manipulation rules.
  • Implementation and compliance with electric reliability standards.
  • Qualifying facility certification for renewable energy projects.
  • Federal Power Act Section 205 disputes/proceedings.
  • Compliance advice on transmission planning and FERC Order 1000.
  • Federal Power Act Section 203 proceedings regarding acquisition and/or disposition of FERC-jurisdictional facilities.
  • Investigations and audits by FERC and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).
  • State utility commission certification of new generation facilities and transmission lines, including; utility commission certification of a 720-megawatt natural gas-fired plant, state commission certification of a 300-megawatt wind energy project, state commission certification of a 80-megawatt solar PV facility and state commission certification of a 10-megawatt fuel cell facility.
  • Compliance with the North Carolina Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard.
  • Design, implementation and training for corporate compliance programs.


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Energy Tax and Incentives

Our tax attorneys regularly advise energy companies and investors on the federal and state income tax implications of their operations, investments and acquisitions. We also negotiate economic incentives for companies investing in new industrial development. Our clients include:

  • Investor-owned utilities
  • Renewable energy developers
  • Electric cooperatives
  • Independent power producers
  • Tax equity investors
  • Investment banks

 Experience Highlights

  • Obtained private letter rulings to confirm the eligibility of projects for the North Carolina Renewable Energy Tax Credit.
  • Negotiated a multimillion-dollar economic incentive grant for a wind energy project spanning two counties.
  • Structured a client's operations to maximize the availability of federal and state income tax credits.
  • Obtained a private letter ruling that the components of a renewable energy project were subject to the North Carolina 1 percent privilege tax rather than state and local sales taxes.

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Renewable Energy

Our renewable energy attorneys advise clients on all aspects of siting, permitting and developing a renewable energy facility. Our clients include companies developing projects in the following technologies:

  • Wind energy
  • Solar photovoltaic (PV)
  • Solar thermal
  • Biomass and biogas
  • Fuel cells

Our practice includes:

  • State commission certification for renewable energy projects, including transmission lines.
  • Environmental counsel.
  • Local land use permitting.
  • Advice on compliance with FERC orders and rules and certification of qualifying facilities (QF).

Experience Highlights

  • State commission certification of a 300-megawatt wind energy facility.
  • Local special use permit for a 300-megawatt wind energy facility.
  • State commission certification of a 80-megawatt solar PV facility.
  • Declaratory rulings on classification of various fuels as renewable resources.
  • State commission certification of a 10-megawatt fuel cell facility using renewable energy fuel.

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