Setting a Standard for Sustainability
The renewable energy industry has evolved rapidly as New York state continually implements new policies and programs aimed at decreasing reliance on fossil-fuel fired electric generation and the diversification of energy supplies. Such policies are most notably reflected in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which requires New York to obtain 70% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030, 100 percent emissions-free electricity by 2040, 9,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind capacity by 2035, 6,000 MW of solar energy by 2025, and 3,000 MW of energy storage capacity by 2030.
The breadth and depth of our Energy Industry Team uniquely positions us to assist our clients in all facets of renewable energy in New York state. Our experience with renewable energy technologies includes solar, wind, hydroelectric, battery storage, fuel cells and bio-mass resources. And while New York offers its share of policy and financial incentives to promote renewable energy, development of renewable generation nevertheless creates complex legal and regulatory challenges. That’s where our deep insight into key regulatory, energy, and environmental issues can help you take advantage of the state’s pro-renewables environment.
Due to their complex nature, renewable energy matters typically cross disciplines, which is why our Energy Industry Team includes other Harris Beach attorneys with the relevant backgrounds to meet your needs.
Our renewable energy experience. Your business advantage.
Our Energy Industry Team has extensive experience representing renewable energy developers, consumers, producers and investors. For example, we have assisted numerous developers in obtaining the necessary legal and regulatory approvals to site large and small-scale solar and wind projects across New York state, and to acquire portfolios of solar generating projects, including drafting and negotiating Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) agreements, Asset Purchase agreements (APA), negotiating Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) agreements, Membership Interest Purchase and Sale agreements (MIPA), and all related documents.
Successful implementation of renewable alternatives often requires interaction with state entities. Our Energy Industry Team routinely facilitates meetings with the appropriate state agencies, including the Office of Renewable Energy Siting, Public Service Commission (PSC), New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), to name a few. We also provide legal counsel on all aspects of renewable generation development, including real property, tax, financing, interconnection, environmental, permitting and land use for both large and small-scale development.
Clients frequently call on our Energy Industry Team for assistance in understanding ever-changing state renewable policies and programs, including PSC orders on net energy metering and the role of renewable energy in other policy initiatives such as the Value of Distributed Energy Resources, Clean Energy Standard, and Reforming the Energy Vision initiatives.
Our attorneys have worked on and continue to work on a wide variety of renewable issues, including the following:
- We represent and assist numerous project developers in navigating the legal and regulatory processes required to obtain approval to site and construct renewable projects under Section 94-c of the Executive Law, Article 10 of the Public Service Law, or the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).
- We are assisting clients in obtaining approvals for more than 250 MW of stand-alone energy storage in Suffolk County and have worked with developers in obtaining permits for multiple co-located solar and energy storage systems across the state.
- Represented a developer of the first solar-only project (90 megawatt) seeking certification for the facility from the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment under Article 10.
- Represented a developer in the siting of the first 120 MW off-shore wind farm in New York state.
- Our attorneys have represented various wind developers in regulatory proceedings before the PSC as well as in litigation before New York state courts.
Interconnection and Real Property
- We assist clients in securing the necessary real property interests and/or use rights for the development and operation of renewable energy projects, including leases, easements, deeds and other related agreements. Our attorneys also have in-depth knowledge of title insurance and work regularly with title underwriters to address and resolve title issues and develop curatives to facilitate project development.
- We have assisted numerous clients in negotiating PILOT and Host Community agreements.
- Our attorneys advise clients in navigating the interconnection process and coordinating with the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (NYISO) and local distribution utilities to address interconnection issues.
- The firm represented the first community-owned wind project in the state on interconnection and other real property matters.
Contract Drafting/Negotiation and Other Corporate Work
- We represent clients in submitting proposals in NYSERDA’s RFP solicitations for Renewable Energy Credit (REC) awards; and provide guidance on negotiating and complying with NYSERDA REC agreements.
- We have represented developers in negotiations for the acquisition of transmission and generation assets, both real and personal property, from various utilities and governmental authorities using asset purchase and equity purchase structures.
- We have assisted multiple developers in drafting and executing EPC contracts and O&M agreements.
- Our attorneys assisted numerous municipalities, school districts and commercial customers in negotiating power purchase agreements with developers for the construction of net metered and remote net metered solar generating facilities.
- Harris Beach attorneys represented the owner of three of the four biomass facilities located within the state on matters related to participation in Renewable Portfolio Standard programs and negotiation of power purchase agreements.
Project Financing and Due Diligence
- Harris Beach attorneys counsel developers on applicable financial incentives, including property tax abatements, sales and use tax exemptions, and mortgage recording tax exemptions through the use of IDA’s or under other state programs.
- We regularly assist with the corporate structuring and establishment of specific project entities for project development, including tax equity structures.
- Our attorneys assisted a large solar products manufacturing company with financing, state agency relations and related matters.
- We have assisted numerous national energy companies in acquiring renewable energy portfolios in the state by performing due diligence reviews of the projects in areas regarding regulatory compliance, real property, interconnections and environmental matters.
Energy Team Member Experience
Relevant Government Experience
- NYS PSC Chairman
- NYSERDA President and Board Member
- NYS Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment Chair
- FERC-appointed Vice-Chairman on the Federal Joint Board on Economic Dispatch for the Northeast Region
- DEC Region 4 Director
- New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) – Current Board Member (Michelle Piasecki)
- Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY)
- The Business Council of New York State
- Independent Power Producers of New York (IPPNY)
- New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology (NY-BEST) Consortium
- The Urban Green Council
- National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC)
- The Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (MACRUC)
- The Business Network for Offshore Wind