The business case for the development of renewable energy projects, from biodiesel and ethanol to wind, solar, and distributed generation, is more compelling than ever as tax and regulatory incentives combine to attract investments. Emerging issues in environmental law and increasingly recognized principles of corporate social responsibility are encouraging public companies to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions, install clean energy alternatives, and invest overseas in projects under the Kyoto Protocol to respond to climate change concerns.
Our attorneys assist clients in developing and understanding industry-specific strategies for mitigating emissions of carbon dioxide, participating in voluntary emerging carbon-trading markets, assessing whether insurance policies cover errors and omissions related to climate change disclosures, building with "green" materials, and siting clean energy facilities. We work with major wind, hydro, and geothermal power developers to quantify and qualify renewable energy credits and greenhouse gas emission reductions, and draft contracts and contractual provisions related to ownership rights and sale of these credits.
Our experienced team draws from the firm's energy and utilities, environmental, tax, real estate, insurance coverage, litigation, and intellectual property lawyers to address the myriad legal needs of our clients. Members of our team are leading members of American Bar Association committees that focus on climate change and have participated on national and international panels that are educating lawyers in this emerging area of the law.
Lawyers at McCarter & English are at the forefront of solar project installations. Our Corporate Group helps clients set up limited purpose entities and assists with all aspects of corporate financing (both equity and debt financing). Those entities then sign the Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) and Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts necessary to build the solar facility and get the power onto the grid. We draft and negotiate those agreements as well. Central to these projects are our real estate, land use and environmental attorneys. Whether it is a purchase or long-term lease of a site, presenting an application to a local zoning board, or procuring environmental permits or brownfield redevelopment agreements, we have broad experience in these areas. Last, our tax attorneys handle the tax implications of solar projects, from tax incentives to sales tax to real estate assessments.
Examples of facilities where McCarter & English attorneys were heavily involved are:
10 MW array for a pharmaceutical company
6 MW array for an educational institution
6 MW installation for a group of affiliated religious institutions
5.4 MW installation for a hospital/medical facility
6.8 MW array for a governmental entity
Please visit our blog, climatelawyers.com, for discussion devoted to the legal, public policy, and business risk questions presented by climate change and renewable energy initiatives.