Explore Our Capabilities

Energy

Overview

Parker Poe’s Energy team guides clients through project development and finance, regulatory compliance and investigations, and joint ventures, mergers, and acquisitions. We are experienced before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and state utility commissions in the Southeast.

Our clients include electric and gas utilities, electric cooperatives, independent power producers, renewable energy developers (solar PV, solar thermal, wind, fuel cell, biomass, biogas, and geothermal), commercial and industrial energy consumers, universities, financial institutions, tax equity investors, and engineering, procurement, and construction companies. We approach each project like our clients do: collaborating and assembling the skill sets needed to accomplish the task effectively and efficiently. 

Our team is structured from the perspective of in-house counsel. Our Energy team attorneys have more than five decades of experience working within electric and gas utilities. Our team also includes lawyers who have worked in federal and state government and regulatory positions with energy responsibilities, as well as lawyers who have guided renewable energy developers through landmark wind and solar projects in the Southeast. The result is a multidisciplinary team that collaborates to deliver quality, cost-effective service. 

Areas of Focus

Energy Project Development

Traditional electric utilities, renewable energy companies, and commercial and industrial energy users encounter a variety of real estate and infrastructure development needs. Whether assisting on commercial contracts (EPC, PPA, interconnection), tax matters, regulatory permits and approvals, land use and zoning permits and approvals, environmental permits and approvals,  or real estate purchases and leases, our team provides energy clients a complete, turn-key solution to their development legal needs. Our clients include:

  • Gas and electric utilities acquiring rights of way and property for substation sites, power transmission lines, and support facilities.
  • Wind energy companies assembling land to develop new power generation facilities.
  • Solar companies developing new facilities on raw land, including Brownfields, 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.
  • Universities and developers developing combined heat and power generating facilities.
  • 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:

  • 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.

Experience Highlights

  • Assisted client with permitting a 300-megawatt wind farm in North Carolina, including Utilities Commission and zoning approvals, Section 404 wetlands permit, incentives, tax advice, and real estate.
  • Advised clients on the acquisition and financing of more than 35 operating solar facilities located in North Carolina, including real estate, environmental, corporate, and contract diligence on each facility, drafting transaction documents, and guidance on transaction structure, regulatory requirements, and tax issues.
  • Advised and counseled renewable energy generator owner and operator in its first regional compliance audit of the NERC reliability standards.
  • Assisted clients in obtaining certificates of public convenience and necessity for more than 7,000 megawatts of solar development in North Carolina.
  • Assisted solar developer in obtaining all permits and approvals required for a 50-megawatt facility in eastern North Carolina, addressing complex U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and N.C. Department of Environmental Quality permits and approvals.
  • Assisted biomass developer in obtaining registration as  new renewable energy facility with the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a multi-fuel (poultry litter and woody biomass) facility, including negotiating methodology for renewable energy certificate calculations.
  • Secured a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a 74-megawatt solar project in eastern North Carolina after a contentious proceeding before the Utilities Commission.

Energy Regulatory

Lawyers on our energy regulatory team advise companies regarding regulations, orders, and policies of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and various state utility commissions. Our team includes attorneys experienced with government investigations and civil litigation. Our clients include:

  • Investor-owned natural gas and electric utilities
  • Electric cooperatives
  • Renewable energy developers across all technologies, including wind, solar, fuel cell, biomass, and biogas
  • Independent power producers (generation owners/operators)

Experience Highlights

  • Provided regulated utilities advice and guidance on Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) establishment, including ongoing administration and compliance.
  • Represented regulated utilities in filings associated with transmission expansion and offering transmission service.
  • Counseled clients on all aspects of FERC regulation as it relates to natural gas utilities and pipeline companies.
  • Advised regulated utilities and independent power producers on compliance with anti-market manipulation rules, standard of conduct, and FERC capacity release rules and regulations.
  • Counseled clients on implementation and compliance with electric reliability standards.
  • Advised utilities, independent power producers, investors, and lenders on state implementation of PURPA.
  • Advised transmission planners on design, implementation, and compliance with FERC Order 1000 and other transmission planning requirements.
  • Represented multiple clients in Federal Power Act Section 203 proceedings regarding acquisition and/or disposition of FERC-jurisdictional facilities.
  • Prepared clients for and advised during FERC and NERC audits, investigations, and self-reports.
  • Represented multiple clients before various state utility commissions for certification of new generation facilities and transmission lines, including:
    • Certification of a 720-megawatt natural gas-fired plant.
    • Certification of a 300-megawatt wind energy project.
    • Certification of a 80-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) facility.
    • Certification of a 10-megawatt fuel cell facility.
  • Advised clients on state renewable energy credits, PURPA, net metering, and demand-side management programs.
  • Designed, implemented, and conducted training for corporate compliance programs.

Energy Tax & Incentives

Our team regularly advises energy companies and investors on the federal and state income tax implications of their operations, investments, and acquisitions. We also negotiate economic development incentives for companies making new energy investments. Our clients include:

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

Experience Highlights

  • Obtained private letter rulings to confirm the eligibility of projects for the state renewable energy tax credits.
  • Negotiated multimillion-dollar economic incentive grants for a wind energy project spanning two North Carolina counties.
  • Negotiated fee-in-lieu of ad valorem taxes agreements (FILOT) for solar developments with counties and municipalities across South Carolina.
  • Provided representation in property tax appeals related to valuation of solar energy projects in North Carolina.
  • 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.
  • Structured a cogeneration project in light of state excise tax provisions.

Energy Transactions & Finance

Our team advises clients on all aspects of acquisitions, joint ventures, and financings in a wide range of energy projects, including renewable energy facilities, fossil fuel and hydropower plants, combined heat and power facilities, district energy systems, gas pipelines, and electric transmission facilities. Our clients include:

  • Generation developers (solar, wind, biogas, biomass, fossil)
  • Gas and electric utilities
  • Manufacturers and industrial users
  • Colleges and universities
  • Tax equity investors
  • Lenders
  • Buyers and sellers of facilities

Our practice covers all types of financing structures, including:

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

Experience Highlights

  • Represented electric utilities in acquisition and sale of natural gas-fired power plants.
  • Represented private equity investor in acquisition of portfolio of more than 30 operating solar facilities in North Carolina, including diligence on all facilities and material contracts and assisting with post-closing regulatory matters.
  • Represented major lending institution on construction financing transaction in which facility was to be acquired by regulated utility post-construction.
  • Represented federal  tax equity investor investing in a portfolio of solar developments in North Carolina.
  • Represented private equity investor in evaluation of solar projects in Tennessee and Georgia.
  • Served as lead counsel on the sale of a 20-megawatt solar project to an electric utility, including negotiating post-closing services to place the project in service. The transaction was completed on an expedited basis with the asset purchase agreement being signed within three weeks of completion of the term sheet.

Loading Content

Professionals

Loading Content