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Renewable Energy

As the renewable energy industry grows at an exponential rate and faces potentially game changing policies at the State and Federal levels, businesses and public entities involved in this sector require an experienced legal team that combines knowledge in the field with a solid foundation in all applicable areas of law.

Hodgson Russ’s multidisciplinary renewable energy team guides clients through virtually every aspect of project development, financing, construction, and implementation. Whether drafting land option and lease terms along with easement agreements, guiding environmental review and permitting processes at the local, state and federal levels, preparing corporate operating agreements or asset acquisition documentation, advising on insurance coverage and supply chain contracts, acting as finance counsel, or defending projects and permits in judicial and administrative forums, Hodgson Russ attorneys combine their knowledge in alternative energy with solid legal real estate, zoning/land use, environmental, energy regulation, corporate, tax, intellectual property, finance, and litigation skills.

Our team provides comprehensive legal services to developers, as well as lenders, land owners, permitting agencies, development agencies, parts and service suppliers, manufacturers, contractors, and investors in the renewable energy generation field. We are experienced in wind, solar, landfill gas-to-energy, and bioenergy projects, and we have worked on some of the largest wind farms in the eastern United States – including wind farms producing over 1000 MWs in New York State alone. Our firm has worked on the U.S. legal aspects of renewable projects from Quebec to Uruguay, and from Maine to Hawaii.

Strategic planning. Hodgson Russ lawyers assist in strategic planning for projects, including the evaluation of renewable portfolio standards, state and federal incentives, the impact of new or changing energy policies, interpreting utility commission requirements, the potential for sale of renewable energy credits, and other benefits for a wide range of U.S. projects.

Zoning and State permitting. We guide developers through the zoning and permitting process on local, state, and federal levels. We have experience guiding clients through the Article X regulatory process before the NYS Siting Board as well as those projects reviewed and approved locally. We negotiate payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreements, host community agreements, community benefit agreements, road use, and other agreements with host communities.

Environmental review. Our attorneys assist in the environmental review process and in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and state environmental review acts. We assist in the drafting of environmental impact statements and findings to support project approvals. We advise on the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and other federal regulations impacting the alternative energy industry. We assist in the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act permitting processes.

Financing. We assist developers and lenders in the financing of renewable energy developments, including reviewing financing documents, obtaining stimulus funds and other state and federal financial incentives, and issuing required legal opinions. Hodgson Russ has extensive experience in financing transactions, including a wind energy financing deal that was named North American Renewables Deal of the Year by Project Finance magazine, Renewables Deal of the Year by Infrastructure Journal, and Environmental Deal of the Year in the Americas by Project Finance International.

Lease and easement agreements. Hodgson Russ assists developers and landowners in the drafting, execution, and enforcement of lease and easement agreements necessary for acquiring transmission line routes, achieving wind-stream protection, preserving right to solar resources, and complying with noise and property-line setback requirements.

Real estate. Hodgson Russ has experience with title insurance and survey, boundary disputes, environmental site evaluation and risk analysis, and right-of-way acquisition issues in all 50 states and can, with involvement of local real estate counsel as appropriate, oversee all transactional real estate aspects of renewable energy projects across the United States.

Contracts and agreements. We regularly assist in drafting contracts for construction of large-scale energy-related facilities. Our lawyers also regularly evaluate licensing and technology transfer agreements, supply and logistics contracts, equipment leases, operation and maintenance agreements, and equipment warranties to advise on contract terms and evaluate potential risks.

Taxation. Our federal and state tax practitioners advise on the full range of state and federal tax issues, including production tax credits, investment tax credit, real property tax issues, and sales tax issues. We also provide assistance on structuring tax-efficient and treaty-compliant cross-border transactions and operations.

Litigation. Hodgson Russ’s litigation team has handled all phases of litigation involving energy facility development, from attacks on underlying local legislation through defense of environmental reviews, permitting decisions, and enforcement of construction contracts.

Insurance. Our insurance coverage team can advise on all types of policies, including those unique to the energy industry, to address risks arising during development, construction, and operation. We have substantial experience resolving and, where necessary, litigating insurance coverage disputes.

Corporate structuring and collaborations. We help establish corporate entities, joint ventures, and partnerships and their governing documents, depending on the unique needs of each client’s business plan. Our attorneys are well-versed in the cross-border tax aspects of such business entities. We perform transactional due diligence, including document review and regulatory and commercial risk evaluation, for all sizes of contracts and investments.

Hodgson Russ: Your Legal Port of Entry

The renewable energy business is an international industry, and Hodgson Russ has the experience and knowledge necessary to counsel foreign entities participating in energy projects in the United States. We advise clients on a broad range of international legal issues, including cross-border finance transactions, FACTA compliance, immigration issues, cross-border licensing and technology transfer, protection of foreign patents, international taxation and tax treaty compliance, multinational mergers and acquisitions, and NAFTA and other trade issues.

For information, analysis, commentary, and resources on the latest developments in cleantech, visit our blog, Clean and Green Law.

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