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 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. Additional opportunities and challenges are arising from the development of Marcellus Shale Formation gas. Repositioning natural gas as a preferred energy source, Marcellus Shale presents wide-ranging issues for companies in the natural gas supply chain.
This commitment to increase energy supply, and likely increases in demand, amounts to an unprecedented opportunity for stakeholders who develop, build, manage and invest in these projects. And Phillips Lytle has the resources necessary to move these opportunities forward.
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.
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.
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 seven 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 manufacturing plant expansions, telecommunications facilities, energy projects, residential projects, office buildings and retail operations, many of which were the subject of significant community opposition.
When necessary, our Energy attorneys collaborate with our Corporate, Banking and Environmental attorneys. This comprehensive approach to project management has produced significant results for many clients including:
- Apex Wind
- BQ Energy
- Double A Willow
- Great Lakes Solar
- Niagara University
- The Pike Company
- CG Power Solutions USA
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.
Phillips Lytle attorneys have represented various clients on issues related to contracts and power purchase agreements, including structuring, negotiating and executing transactions. Examples include:
- Experience in permitting and development of co-generation facilities.
- Representing Sunvestment Group 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.
- Representing a developer which is developing 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.
- Representing BQ Energy with its proposed 4 MW Steel Sun project in Lackawanna, N.Y. 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 Sovran in power purchase agreements and leases for rooftop solar projects located in several states co-located on self-storage units owned and operated by a publicly-traded national REIT.
Our areas of energy expertise include:
- Carbon capture and sequestration
- Marcellus Shale
Over the last 5 years, wind power has been the fastest growing renewable energy source in the United States with an average annual growth of 35%. The United States Department of Energy suggests that wind power could supply 20% of all electricity in the United States by 2030. Phillips Lytle is working with developers on wind energy projects, including land use, regulatory and environmental matters.
Our coal, petroleum coke and biomass gasification clients enjoy an attractive price-to-value advantage. We keep various team members informed about the specifics of the project to address all legal facets under one umbrella. Phillips Lytle is assisting developers of gasification facilities in several states with the following:
- Application package reviews for tax credit consideration
- Land development agreements
- Feasibility assessments
- Pre-permitting issues
- Fuel supply and power purchase agreement negotiations
Phillips Lytle has represented major stakeholders in the relicensing of the New York Power Authority’s 2300-megawatt Niagara Project, handling negotiations, the drafting of settlement documents and related FERC filings and proceedings.
Solar energy, the most abundant and cleanest renewable energy source available, began 2012 with the second highest quarter for photovoltaic installations thus far. The growth of solar power over the past few years has been in part a result of federal and state tax credits and other incentives for the industry. As the U.S. market for solar panels is expected to grow, the demand for solar equipment in the United States will continue to grow. Phillips Lytle has worked with clients in a variety of solar-related projects:
- 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.
Biomass is 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.
Our attorneys have a thorough understanding of the technical and legal aspects of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). Our experience, developed through our involvement in large-scale gasification projects, provides our clients with an unparalleled knowledge base to assist in the development of CO2 management strategies, as well as facilities that can geologically store CO2.