Renewable and Alternative Energy

Overview

Our  Sustainability Group possesses the essential insight and capability needed to support clients with their renewable and alternative energy projects.

Our Services

We have a team of knowledgeable lawyers who are at the ready to counsel clients on a myriad of projects such as the following:

  • wind, solar, hydroelectric, and fuel cell facilities
  • biomass, geothermal, and landfill methane gas
  • smart grid and battery and energy storage (including fuel cells and micro grids)
  • energy efficiency and demand-side management

Our lawyers help clients to secure federal, state, and local permits for various renewable energy projects and to qualify facilities to generate and sell renewable energy credits (RECs). We also draft equipment procurement, operations and maintenance (O&M), and power sales agreements. Additionally, we assist clients with navigating the utility interconnection process and negotiating PILOTs for renewable energy facilities. Finally, we support energy project developers and generators in regulatory proceedings and regulatory matters.

Robinson+Cole’s Sustainability Group advises the following entities that support the development and commercial operation of community- and utility-scale clean energy projects:

  • utilities
  • generators
  • developers
  • equipment procurement contractors
  • lenders
  • other investors 

Our Team

Our lawyers routinely practice before federal and state agencies and tribunals, both nationally and throughout the Northeast, including the following:

  • the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and the Connecticut Siting Council
  • the Massachusetts Public Utility Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, and  the Massachusetts Facilities Siting Board
  • the Rhode Island Public Utility Commission and the Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board
    • Experience
      • Represented an institutional lender providing a $22,000,000 construction loan to an affiliated group of borrowers to fund the construction costs associated with the design, procurement, and installation of 26MW commercial rooftop solar array projects for two Fortune 50 companies to be located on 60 commercial buildings in four states and secured by all assets of the borrowers, including their respective rights under all contracts with equipment procurement contractors (EPCs), power purchase agreements, renewable energy certificates, agreements relating to federal investment tax credits, interconnection agreements and maintenance agreements. The contemplated refinancing of this transaction involved the placement of permanent senior loan financing from an institutional lender, a tax credit equity investment (in the form of a "partnership flip" which involved the creation of special purpose entities) from an institutional investor and the associated intercreditor, interparty and other third party issues related thereto.

      • Represented client in the development of first utility-scale solar generating facility in Connecticut, including representation before the Connecticut Siting Council and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA).

      • Represented client in the development and permitting of its on-site co-generation facility used to provide power to its existing manufacturing, research and development and office complex. Assisted with local, State and Federal permits and approvals, including municipal consultation with town officials, Connecticut Siting Council approval of the power generating units, and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) compliance.

      • Represented client in the development of the largest utility-scale solar project in Connecticut, including representation in the regulatory proceedings to obtain a long-term contract and approval for the siting of the facility.

      • Represented client in the development of the largest fuel cell facility in the United States, including representation in the regulatory proceedings to obtain a long-term contract and approval for the siting of the facility.

      • Represented client in the development and permitting of a 30 MW on-site co-generation facility used to provide power to its existing paper products manufacturing facility. Assisted with local and State permits and approvals, including consultation with municipal officials and Connecticut Siting Council approval.

      • Represented client through permitting for modifications to its existing 25 MW on-site co-generation facility used to provide power to its manufacturing operations. Assisted with local and State permits and approvals, including consultation with municipal officials and Connecticut Siting Council approval.

      • Counsel to buyers, suppliers, developers, and financing parties in the commercial and intellectual property aspects of renewable and alternative energy technology transactions and investments in, among others, the wind, biomass and gas-to-liquids fields.

      • Represent energy projects in obtaining long-term power purchase or off-take contracts, and in the negotiation of power supply agreements for load reduction and power export.

      • Represent developers, owners and contractors in all forms of Engineering, Procurement and Construction agreements for development and construction of traditional, alternative and renewable energy projects.

      • Represented a  not-for-profit acute care teaching hospital in the negotiation of a contract for the replacement of a 1.2 MW cogeneration generator set with a 3 MW natural gas generator at the combined heat and power (CHP) plant located on the hospital campus.

      • Represented New York county in all aspects, including corporate, environmental, real estate, and administrative law, of its renegotiation of a long-term agreement for the disposal of solid waste and operation of a waste-to-energy facility, with several ancillary agreements among the county, the facility operator, and the municipality in which the facility is located concerning the transfer of ownership of such facility from a county agency to the operator of the waste-to-energy facility.

      • Counsel to client in evaluating the permitting and environmental requirements for and status of a borrower's co-generation facility being constructed in Staten Island, New York.

      • Represent client in performing local permitting analysis and supervising approvals for solar development projects in Massachusetts and reviewing all documents to obtain state approval and renewable energy credits. Represent client in acquiring necessary regulatory permits/approvals for siting, construction, and installation of projects and entering into interconnection agreements, including recent 2.745 Megawatt ground-mounted solar photovoltaic installation. Also represent client in working out Payment in Lieu of Taxes (Pilot) agreements for solar assets, involving use of MA's Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) program.

      • Represented merchant energy generator in proceeding before the Department of Public Utility Control to determine ownership of renewable energy certificates.

      • Counsel clients on locating and accessing federal, state, and local funding sources for renewable energy and distributed generation projects.

      • Represent renewable and traditional energy-generation projects in obtaining long-term power purchase (a/k/a off-take) contracts.

      • Counsel to a number of clients with requests for proposal and negotiation of power purchase and site lease agreements for renewable energy installations.

      • Negotiated and appeared before town councils in connection with approval of Public Entity Net Metering Financing Arrangements.

      • Represent clients in cogeneration approval proceedings and advising as to transfer of ownership.

      • Counsel to a provider of renewable energy in connection with legislative efforts to refine the restructuring legislation in order to expand the class of renewable energy available for sale by electric suppliers in the competitive market for such services.

      • Counsel to renewable energy power producers on state regulatory matters and lobbying services.

      • Succeeded in amending the law that dictates the eligibility criteria for renewable energy resource classification, which is a critical component in the procurement of renewable energy supply and in the health of the marketplace for the expansion of new resources.

      • Assist buyers, suppliers, developers, and financing parties in the commercial and intellectual property aspects of renewable and alternative energy technology transactions and investments in, among others, the wind, biomass and gas-to-liquids fields.

      • Represent manufacturer and installer of solar modules and mounting and balancing systems in New England in drafting and negotiating customer-facing form documents for power purchase agreements, providing corporate advice and assistance in acquiring necessary regulatory permits/approvals for siting, construction, and installation of projects.

      • Represented clients in responding to requests for proposals issued by the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Connecticut Green Bank for energy projects.

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    • Publications + Presentations
    • "Sustainable Design and Development Regulations," published in Discretionary Land Use Controls: Avoiding Invitations to Abuse of Discretion, authored by Brian W. Blaesser, Chapter 8 (2015)
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      "Renewable Energy," published in Recent Developments in Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Industries, co-authored by Joey Lee Miranda and Alexander W. Judd (2015)
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      "The World of Wind Development: Recent Land Use Cases and Issues," presented by Sorell E. Negro (7/22/2015)
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      "State Policies and Energy Markets: Collaborative Efforts or Collision Course," presented by Joey Lee Miranda, moderator, held at the 22nd Annual New England Energy Conference and Exposition in Groton, Connecticut (5/13/2015)

      "Understanding Stormwater Management Regulations in New England," co-presented by Brian W. Blaesser and Gregory S. Sampson, presented the first in a series of webinars on stormwater management in New England (1/16/2014)
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      "Green Guidance for Retailers: Avoiding FTC Claims of Unfair or Deceptive Marketing," published in Retail Law Strategist, co-authored by Kathleen M. Porter and Brian W. Blaesser (March 2013)
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      "Retail Primer on Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Part II," published in Retail Law Strategist, co-authored by Brian W. Blaesser and Sorell E. Negro (Fall 2012)
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      "Energy Project Development: Facility Siting & Due Diligence Considerations," presented by Joey Lee Miranda, presented as webinar through PGS Energy Training (8/21/2012)

      "Retail Primer on Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Part I," published in Retail Law Strategist, co-authored by Brian W. Blaesser and Sorell E. Negro (Summer 2012)
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      "Sustainability Benchmarking," presented by Brian W. Blaesser, workshop at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) 2011 RetailGreen Conference, moderated by Brian W. Blaesser (11/30/2011)
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      "Green Leasing for Retail: Landlord and Tenant Perspectives: Parts 1 and 2," published in Retail Law Strategist, co-authored by Brian W. Blaesser and Gregory S. Sampson (Summer 2011)
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Our Team

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