In New York state, energy projects below a certain threshold (fewer than 25 megawatts) are reviewed and approved by local municipalities under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), which generally requires completion of an environmental impact assessment. Our attorneys have a strong track record of providing guidance and counsel throughout the SEQRA process, including strategy related to project development, assisting with the evaluation of environmental impacts, and navigating the municipal zoning and land use regulations and review processes. In addition, clients frequently call on our Energy Industry team to clarify the ever-changing state policies and programs and help them comply with various regulations needed for their projects’ approval, including federal reviews and incentive programs offered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
Regulatory experience and insight
Successful implementation of energy projects often requires interaction and productive dialogue with state agencies. Our attorneys are familiar with these agencies, often from inside experience managing their policies and legislation. The leader of our Energy Industry Team, William Flynn, served as Chair of the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) and President of NYSERDA. We leverage Bill’s experience and other regulatory insights to provide strategic counsel to clients who deal with some of New York state’s largest regulated utilities and market participants; represent clients before federal and state agencies; and maintain successful relationships with key state policymakers. In addition, our team includes a former regional director of Region 4 for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Gene Kelly, who provides an extensive background in environmental regulatory policy and litigation, and has built relationships with leaders and policy makers in state government and the environmental community.
Our services include:
- Providing due diligence review for developers seeking to acquire renewable energy projects, including review and development of power purchase agreements (PPAs); engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contracts; and membership interest purchase agreements (MIPAs).
- Representing developers seeking state and local approvals under SEQRA and the Public Service Law (PSL).
- Assisting renewable energy developers in siting and permitting renewable generating facilities.
- Guiding clients through renewable projects involving solar, wind, biomass, hydro, fuel cell generation, and energy storage.
- Negotiating favorable payment in lieu of tax agreements with local government authorities on behalf of renewable developers.
- Supporting developers of energy storage facilities serving renewable energy generators with real estate legal matters, including land use.
- Representing developers of alternating current and high voltage direct current transmission.
- Providing strategic counsel to clients seeking to obtain benefits from state policy initiatives and incentive programs