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Team Leader

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Team Opportunities

Energy and Environment Associate, Albany  More

In The News

David P. Flynn Comments on New York State Energy  More

Kimberly R. Nason Responds to Sunlight Glare Concern with Solean Solar Project  More

Phillips Lytle Sponsors UVANY Renewable Energy Program  More

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Press Releases

Phillips Lytle LLP Adds Mary E. Burgess as Land, Environment & Energy Practice Group Special Counsel in Albany Office  More

David P. Flynn to Moderate at ACORE U.S.-Canada Renewable Energy Forum in New York City  More

David P. Flynn to Moderate at The Business Council of New York State’s 2015 Annual Environment Conference  More

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Speaking Engagements

“What is REV and the CES? An Update on State Energy Policy,” Business Council of New York 2016 Annual Environment Conference, November 2016  More

“North American Renewable Energy, Infrastructure and Climate Policies,” ACORE U.S.-Canada Renewable Energy Forum, September 2016  More

“Financing Renewable Energy Deals,” Upstate Venture Association of New York (UVANY) Event, May 2015  More

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Publications

“Developing a Path for Community Solar in New York State,” Environmental Law in New York, August 2016  More

“LDAR: A Problem and a Solution for Hydraulic Fracturing,” Environmental Law Reporter, May 2014  More

Earth Matters - Issue Eleven - April 2013  More

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Energy

Concerns about global warming, grid reliability, energy independence, financial incentives and pressure from the government and consumers to generate more energy from renewable sources are creating exceptional opportunities for energy providers, developers and investors. For example, by 2050, state renewable portfolio standards are projected to provide support for 76,750 megawatts of new renewable energy in the United States. The growth of renewable energy in the United States has been driven by federal and state incentives including tax credits and grants which promote the construction of renewable energy facilities. The State of New York is on the cutting edge of these trends with aggressive energy policies—such as its Clean Energy Standard (requiring 50% renewables by 2030), the Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding (by which it is reinventing antiquated utility models) and significant incentives, like the $1 Billion NY-Sun solar initiative.

This commitment to increase renewable energy supply, and likely increases in demand, provide stakeholders who develop, build, manage and invest in energy projects with new possibilities for growth. And Phillips Lytle has the experience and resources necessary to move these opportunities forward.

energy expertise

Our areas of energy expertise include:

  • Siting, zoning and environmental
  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Brownfield and landfill renewable energy projects
  • Public service commission and utility regulatory
  • Incentives, bonds and public finance
  • Power purchase agreements
  • Solar leases
  • Microgrids
  • Hydro
  • Biomass
  • Retail energy industry/ESCOs
  • Enforcement and investigations
  • Litigation and dispute resolution
  • Siting, zoning and environmental
  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Brownfield and landfill renewable energy projects
  • Public service commission and utility regulatory
  • Incentives, bonds and public finance
  • Power purchase agreements
  • Solar leases
  • Microgrids
  • Hydro
  • Biomass
  • Retail energy industry/ESCOs
  • Enforcement and investigations
  • Litigation and dispute resolution

Ultimately, the road from design to profitability travels through precarious intersections with regulators, financiers, partners and community groups. Phillips Lytle maps these intersections and guides our clients’ projects through them with minimal delay. Our attorneys have forged strong ties with many of the influential decision makers in the public and private sectors, including legislative, regulatory and political figures, to ensure that deadlines are successfully met. Each team has an identified lead Energy attorney who coordinates all activities of the team members to ensure matters are handled in a cost-effective manner.

When necessary, our Energy attorneys collaborate with our Corporate, Banking and Environmental attorneys. Our Energy Team works collaboratively with the firm’s leading Litigation Team to protect our clients’ interests. Our comprehensive approach to project management has produced significant results for many clients including:

  • BQ Energy
  • Sunvestment Energy Group
  • SunEdison
  • Syncarpha Capital
  • First Niagara Bank, N.A.
  • Tarsier, Ltd.
  • CG Power Solutions USA
  • Family Energy/Summitt Energy
  • Ironclad Energy

Ultimately, the road from design to profitability travels through precarious intersections with regulators, financiers, partners and community groups. Phillips Lytle maps these intersections and guides our clients’ projects through them with minimal delay. The firm assists clients with FERC, ISO and New York State Public Service Commission issues, as well as local zoning ordinances. We have close working relationships with key officials including senior-level engineers, permit administrators, regional attorneys and regional directors.

We also assist stakeholders wanting to capitalize on renewable energy incentives. Our attorneys have forged strong ties with many of the influential decision makers in the public and private sectors, including legislative, regulatory and political figures, to ensure that deadlines are successfully met. And each team has an identified lead attorney who coordinates all activities of the team members to ensure matters are handled in a cost-effective manner.

SITING, ZONING and ENVIRONMENTAL

Phillips Lytle works with stakeholders to complete their projects on time and on budget. We are able to deliver unmatched knowledge about statewide, regional and local regulations and zoning ordinances to our clients—ensuring a project’s speed to market. We grasp the environmental standards that must be met, and we know how to work effectively with the groups that are likely to offer resistance.

We are recognized for our leading Land Use & Zoning law practice. Our attorneys assist a variety of clients from local business owners and developers to FORTUNE 500 companies with special, restricted and conditional use permits, site plan reviews, area and use variances and rezonings. Our attorneys have participated in hundreds of environmental impact reviews pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). In fact, the firm has been recognized for eight consecutive years by Chambers USA for excellence in environmental law.

Over the years, we have facilitated numerous high-profile development projects. We’ve obtained government approvals and permits for hundreds of projects, including energy projects, such as wind and solar facilities (approx. 30MW approved), as well as manufacturing plant expansions, telecommunications facilities, major infrastructure projects, residential projects, office buildings and retail operations, many of which were the subject of significant community opposition.

SOLAR POWER

Solar energy, the most abundant and cleanest renewable energy source available, is unquestionably experiencing boom times. In the decade since 2006, it has experienced compound annual growth of approximately 60%. In New York, with the assistance of the $1 Billion NY Sun initiative, solar energy production has increased 575% from 2012 through 2015, adding over 525 MW. Phillips Lytle has worked with clients in a variety of solar-related projects across New York, from Long Island to the Buffalo-Niagara region:

  • Represented a REIT on structuring leases and power purchase agreements for solar installations on multiple storage facilities in multiple states.
  • Represented a solar project developer on the development and siting of its power and storage project, including application for a grant.
  • Represented a global solar project developer with complex New York regulatory matters, as well as drafting and negotiation of power purchase agreements, lease drafting and negotiations, as well as title review.
  • Represented an investor in renewable energy projects with project due diligence (including Public Service Commission, environmental and zoning regulatory counsel) as well as contract drafting and negotiations.

WIND POWER

With the continuation of federal incentives, wind power continues a trend of tremendous growth across the United States. The industry recently hit a milestone of 75 gigawats of installed wind power capacity. Wind now supplies almost 5% of U.S. electricity and is on pace to supply 10 percent of the nation’s demand by 2020 and 20% by 2030. Phillips Lytle works with economic development agencies and developers on wind energy projects, including land use, regulatory and environmental matters. Phillips Lytle was instrumental in the first ever wind project built on a brownfield site.

BROWNFIELD AND LANDFILL RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS

Phillips Lytle has unique experience assisting developers and investors with approvals (land use, zoning and environmental), power purchase agreements and financing for solar and wind projects on brownfields and landfills in New York. Phillips Lytle draws on a multi-disciplinary team of experts, from energy, environmental and zoning to obtain unprecedented speed to completion for its clients. Phillips Lytle has assisted clients with development of approximately 70 MW of landfill and brownfield-based solar and wind projects.

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION AND UTILITY REGULATORY

Phillips Lytle’s Energy Team regularly assists clients with regulatory matters involving the New York Public Service Commission and local distribution utilities. Phillips Lytle regularly helps companies navigate New York’s complex and constantly changing energy regulatory landscape, including Public Service Commission regulations, orders, initiatives and corresponding utility tariffs. Phillips Lytle has extensive experience addressing regulatory matters both in formal petitions and informal agency matters. Phillips Lytle’s Energy Team leverages both the experience and extensive agency contacts of its practitioners to achieve positive results for our clients. Collectively, our Energy attorneys have decades of experience in regulatory matters before the Public Service Commission, including the unique perspective of a former Public Service Commission staff attorney.

INCENTIVES, BOND AND PUBLIC FINANCE COUNSEL

Phillips Lytle helps clients capitalize on the most advantageous mix of local, state and federal tax and other incentives available for their development. As a “Red Book” firm in public finance, we also offer counseling in all aspects of bond issues and other public finance transactions. Furthermore, the firm has a long-established reputation as a premier banking law firm whose clients include major financial institutions involved in lending to energy-related projects. Importantly, Phillips Lytle was involved in one of the first transactions with New York’s Green Bank.

Power Purchase Agreements

Phillips Lytle attorneys have represented various clients on issues related to contracts and power purchase agreements, including structuring, negotiating and executing transactions. Examples include:

  • Represented a developer in obtaining federal and state grants and developing a unique business structure for a community-based crowd financing mechanism for mid-sized solar projects. This includes drafting of a template for community power purchase agreements and related corporate and financing documents, as well as obtaining necessary governmental reviews and approvals.
  • Represented a developer which is constructing four power stations (2 solar, 1 gas-fired and 1 biomass) in a $2 billion project on a military base located in New Jersey. We are currently assisting the developer with coordinating the $2 billion financing for the project as well as negotiating the power purchase agreements for sale of the electricity to the grid and to the U.S. Government. We are also handling all of the environmental approvals needed for these developments.
  • Represented a green energy company in negotiating a power purchase agreement with UK-based utility companies that were obligated to purchase green energy.
  • Negotiated a power purchase agreement on behalf of a local government acquiring a closed military base and needing to have its own source of power.
  • Represented a solar developer with its proposed 4 MW brownfield-based project. This includes environmental, land-use and regulatory matters, as well as NYISO and NYSERDA related issues. Also, assisting in negotiations on power purchase and PILOT agreements, and obtaining the necessary local approvals for this utility-scale solar project on a large urban brownfield.
  • Represented a client in power purchase agreements and leases for rooftop solar projects located in several states co-located on properties owned and operated by a publicly-traded national REIT.

SOLAR LEASES

Phillips Lytle Energy attorneys have extensive experience assisting clients with solar lease drafting and negotiations. We also assist Energy clients with title matters related to their leasing and development projects. In this area Phillips Lytle leverages its extensive leasing and real estate title practices, with many decades of experience working on all manner of development project leasing.

MICROGRIDS

Phillips Lytle has direct and significant Public Service Commission regulatory experience with an existing, fully-operational microgrid. Phillips Lytle attorneys have extensive knowledge of New York’s unique “lightened” regulatory approach that created one of the largest microgrids in the United States.

HYDROPOWER

Phillips Lytle has represented major stakeholders in the relicensing of the New York Power Authority’s 2300 MW Niagara Project, handling negotiations, the drafting of settlement documents and related FERC filings and proceedings.

BIOMASS

Biomass is another emerging as a key player in the renewable energy marketplace. Phillips Lytle is working with stakeholders involved in biomass projects across the State to facilitate the siting, financing and development of multiple biomass projects. Our clients include developers, investors, lenders, biomass suppliers and off-take purchasers.

RETAIL ENERGY INDUSTRY/ESCOs

In addition to assisting stakeholders with traditional and renewable energy projects, Phillips Lytle also assists retail energy service companies (“ESCOs”) with a broad range of matters affecting their businesses, including Public Service Commission and utility regulatory issues, commercial and corporate matters, utility disputes, as well as State investigations.

ENFORCEMENT AND INVESTIGATIONS

Phillips Lytle attorneys have assisted clients with defense of various enforcement proceedings and investigations, including a Public Service Commission “Order to Show Cause” and “Notice of Apparent Failure” threatening license revocation, New York State Attorney General investigations and New York Department of State enforcement proceedings

LITIGATION AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Strategically, or by necessity, Phillips Lytle clients may become involved in litigation of certain matters. From regulatory disputes to business disputes, we have brought many conflicts to a successful resolution. With decades of experience in energy litigation, we have successfully resolved disputes involving federal and state preemption of local land use regulations, federal preemption of state regulations, leasehold claims, unjust taxation, disloyal business partners and employees, environmental liabilities, brownfields, engineering malpractice, class action defense, defective products, toxic torts, labor and employment matters, contracts, real estate, eminent domain, vendor fraud and securities law. In particular, when project approvals or regulatory issues are in question, Phillips Lytle’s Energy attorneys engage our Litigation attorneys to protect our clients’ interests.


David P. Flynn
TEAM MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
David P. Flynn
Partner

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