As the nation and the region continue exploring and expanding renewable energy resources, Crowley Fleck’s Renewable Energy team works directly with developers, lenders, and other clients in all phases of renewable energy transactions, from project development through acquisition and divesture of wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, and other renewable energy generation and transmission projects. Our Renewable Energy team is part of our broader Energy and Minerals Projects and Transactions Practice Group, which allows our clients to draw on the experience and knowledge throughout the firm to assist with the many facets of renewable energy projects. Our lawyers provide a broad range of services, including real estate due diligence; permitting (including zoning approvals and siting permits) on private, federal, state, and Indian lands; environmental compliance; preparing transaction agreements and related documents; condemnation; acquisitions and divestitures; financing and financing opinions; and generally assisting clients on completing projects and closing transactions involving renewable energy.
Title and Real Estate Related Matters
We utilize our extensive experience in title and real estate to assist clients on the numerous land issues associated with renewable energy projects, and coupled with our construction law experience, we provide clients with the tools necessary to complete renewable energy projects. Crowley Fleck’s title and real estate attorneys are well equipped to handle real estate needs of renewable energy projects. We are able to draw on our experience developed from regularly assisting clients with a multitude of real estate related transactions. Our attorneys’ extensive knowledge covers the intricacies involving project leasing and easements, including related land access/acquisition activity; state and federal condemnation when easements cannot be obtained; addressing conflicts with mineral estate owners, such as oil and gas or mining activity; linear project rights-of-way for electrical distribution and communications systems; siting operating facilities; and title review. We also represent clients in a variety of matters arising out of renewable energy construction projects. Our firm assists clients at all stages of the design, procurement and construction process. Our construction attorneys have significant experience negotiating and drafting a wide variety of different contracts during the pre-construction phase (including contracts for design, procurement, and preconstruction services) and involving all manner of project delivery methods. Once construction starts, our attorneys consult with clients regarding project management and construction administration, claims, change orders, and payment disputes. The goal is to help clients achieve a successful and completed project. In the event problems arise after construction, we have the knowledge and experience to assist with any type of post-construction dispute, including construction defects, liens, cost overruns and schedule disputes, differing site conditions, and warranty claims.
Permitting and Environmental
Permitting and environmental issues are central to any renewable energy project. The breadth and depth of our experience representing clients before local, state, federal, and tribal agencies and entities provides us with the strategic perspective that allows us to effectively navigate clients through these issues. On many projects, we work with the client on preparation of the permit applications for state and county agencies; advise on applicable state laws and local zoning regulations; prepare witnesses for public hearings; review expert reports spanning diverse subject areas, including wildlife and environmental assessments, acoustic and shadow flicker impact assessments, and visual impact simulations; prepare experts for direct testimony and cross-examination at hearings; represent the client at the public hearings; and prepare draft orders and regulatory compliance filings for the permitting agencies. Our job is to shepherd the client through all aspects of these permitting processes, from initial project review, to obtaining all required siting and land use permits. We work with clients on environmental issues, including NEPA and state equivalent processes for EIS or EA activity, avian and threatened and endangered species issues, and associated litigation. In the event project permits become the subject of legal challenge by project opponents, we zealously represent clients in litigation to defend the validity of clients’ land use and siting permits.
Associated Transmission Lines
Transmission lines are critical to the development of a renewable energy project. We utilize our vast experience with linear projects to guide clients through the process of building aboveground or underground transmission and communication lines. Our attorneys work with clients to address the numerous issues associated with transmission and communication lines, including: state law compliance; acquisition of easements, and condemnation when needed; permitting and environmental, including state and local requirements and public service commission or other regulatory approvals; state and local tax issues; and financing- related instruments and legal opinions.
State and Local Taxes and Local Government Impact Fees
State and local taxes and fees can dramatically affect the viability of a renewable energy project. We work with clients to identify and deal with these issues, including advice on: state and local taxes or credits applicable to renewable energy projects, including property taxes; and local government impact fees, and generally assisting clients with local governments on project development activity and issues.
Mergers & Acquisitions
We draw on the M&A experience and knowledge throughout the firm to assist and represent clients in renewable energy transactions, whether as buyer or seller, or in connection with financing, including: due diligence including title/real estate, environmental and permitting; contract negotiation, preparation, and closing activity/documentation; and financing-related instruments and legal opinions.