Alternative Energy and Emerging Technologies
The substantial legal, regulatory, and economic challenges that arise today in the alternative energy field impact the environment, capital markets, traditional ratemaking, cost-effectiveness, and capital infrastructure.
McKenna, Long & Aldridge (MLA) attorneys in the Alternative Energy and Emerging Technologies practice group help clients navigate the intricacies associated with alternative energy sources and development, including biomass, wind, tides and waves, solar, fuel cells, geothermal, solid waste, and coal gasification technologies.
MLA’s Alternative Energy and Emerging Technologies practice is comprised and supported by lawyers and professionals with experience in environment, energy, real estate, tax, finance, corporate, government affairs, and government contracts. Our regional, national, and international experience positions us to support virtually every alternative and renewable energy endeavor, including:
- Clean Coal
- Fuel Cells
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 offers a wide range of opportunities for alternative energy producers who successfully position their businesses to benefit from the numerous funding programs and tax credits identified in the bill. MLA is at the forefront of these expanding segments of the energy industry, navigating successfully through the related policy and regulatory issues.
In addition, our relationships with venture capital firms, investment banks, and other investors provide alternative energy companies with access to leading sources of capital. Our public policy professionals have experience at the highest levels of local, state, and federal government and offer clients in-depth knowledge and skilled advocacy that shapes regulatory compliance strategies and energy policies. Added to these strengths is our deep understanding of how the energy industry operates and our practical insight that helps clients achieve their business objectives.
Our team consists of more than 30 professionals with experience and a comprehensive understanding of energy policy — both of which are essential to helping our clients succeed. This cross-disciplinary team boasts experience in the following core areas:
- Greenhouse gas emissions reductions
- Green energy project development
- Environmental assessment and impact
- Energy regulation and contracts
- Federal and state legislation and regulation
- Tax credits, grants, and other federal and state incentives
- Litigation and arbitration
- Government contracts
- Project finance and venture capital
- Intellectual property
- Project engineering, construction, and procurement
- Land use and zoning
- Real estate
- Facility site selection and permitting
State and federal incentives, requirements for the use of renewable fuel, and increasing interest in cleaner combustion technology have spurred rapid growth in biofuel production. We serve as project, environmental, tax, and finance counsel for biodiesel and ethanol developers and have assisted clients in securing government assistance for projects. We secure the necessary approvals, negotiate project agreements (including construction, feedstock, and sales), prepare finance documents, and assist in obtaining tax and other incentives for the project. These projects pose special challenges for closing financing due to the general lack of long-term fixed price contracts in today’s market. We assist in providing the assurances that lenders need before they commit finances to the project.
MLA’s biofuels projects include:
- Working with non-partisan policy groups to gain acceptance of a Clean Air Act mobile source air toxics regulation that would lower the “aromatic” content of gasoline and replace it with biofuels, primarily ethanol.
- Development and $75 million financing of 30 million gallons per year biodiesel production facility in Mississippi, where we also provided counseling on project documents and enabled client to obtain certificates.
- Counsel to a large European biofuel company with respect to U.S. tax policies.
- Advised client on the development of biofuel facility in Thailand, and counseled client on a manure-to-energy project in Texas.
Today, the biomass industry is developing cost effective and environmentally attractive means of generating fuels, chemicals, materials, food, and feed from plant biomass. MLA provides counsel to clients on the business, legal and regulatory impacts of biomass fuel generation. In addition, the firm counsels biomass producers and end-users on all aspects of biomass projects, including environmental permitting, energy purchase agreements, utility rates and tariffs, real estate, and project finance.
- Secured more than $2 million for a biorefinery (turning biomass into energy) at a major state university. We also enabled the client to compete for additional funding under a “soft earmark” in an energy and water appropriations bill.
- Served as energy counsel to a Fortune 500 client in a 25-year garbage to electricity project in Missouri.
- Helped secure funding for ethanol facilities and other alternative new projects.
- Actively engaged with a client in preparing submissions to the DOD for two biomass projects as well as one private sector biomass project.
As energy demand continues to grow, energy sources will be needed to satisfy that demand by providing a diverse and balanced supply mix. Coal is one of the most important fuels for electric cell generation and is a vital input into steel production and other industrial processes. Consequently, coal will have a major role in meeting future energy needs, since it is often cheaper per energy unit, and sometimes more price stable than other fuels.
One of the most significant challenges for coal producers is the reduction of greenhouse gas and other emissions. As companies refine techniques to produce cleaner coal, it is critical to develop partnerships between energy producers, energy consumers, and governments in order to ensure that demand for affordable and reliable energy is met, while managing sustainable development and energy security.
MLA works with governors and energy offices of the western states on the multiple uses of coal and is actively involved in the development of legislative and regulatory solutions at the state and federal level.
MLA has worked extensively with a company that integrates fuel cell technology into backup power products for telecommunications, utility, and uninterruptible power supply applications. We served as legal and public policy advisors, providing economic development assistance that includes securing research and development funds and negotiating with economic development agencies. We helped develop and secure passage of tax credit legislation in New York, and assisted with amending tax credit legislation in Florida. We assist with the development of legislative initiatives, identifying and securing funding and drafting RFP responses. In the federal affairs arena, we provide counsel to environmental and public works committees, which involves interfacing with the Department of Defense and Department of Energy to ensure that fuel cell technology is included in agricultural bills and energy independence legislation.
- Helped the manufacturer of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells to receive over $20 million in assistance from various agencies and authorities in New York. Our work has included identifying funding sources, drafting RFP’s, and drafting responses to RFP’s. We also assisted with passage of a State Tax Credit for the purchase of client’s products and with advocating for stronger back-up power requirements for critical 911 infrastructure and more stringent air emissions requirements on distributed generation.
- Worked on incorporating fuel cells as an acceptable technology for back-up power in the State Wide Wireless Networks system and on the acquisition of client’s headquarters. We also prepared the loan documents associated with a $1 million job creation loan/grant from the State of New York Empire State Development Corporation.
- Counseled clients regarding the drafting and negotiation of agreements used in the deployment of our clients’ products. Additionally, we worked on our client’s behalf in connection with the creation of an investment fund vehicle that will take advantage of federal and state tax credits available for the purchasers of fuel cells.
MLA counsels clients who are involved in wind and solar energy development. We counsel clients on contracting, permitting, financing, and regulatory issues and are involved with all phases of project development. We also have significant international and domestic experience defusing and resolving complex multi-party disputes between companies, governments, international financial institutions, and non-governmental organizations.
MLA’s solar projects include:
- Currently helping a solar company organize a meeting with an entire state delegation, U.S. Senators, Members of Congress, and the Governor’s office as well as secure funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for the Loan Guarantee Program for which they have already applied.
- We are actively engaged with a client in preparing submissions to the U.S. Air Force with regard to a 3000 acre plus solar project at Edwards AFB.
As the U.S. strives to obtain a greater measure of energy independence, wind energy costs continue to decline, and the public demands safer and cleaner low-carbon renewable energy sources, American businesses are increasingly turning toward wind energy as a solution. Representing some of the most notable wind energy projects in the nation, MLA is at the forefront of the rapidly expanding wind energy market. We help clients in navigating through related policy and regulatory issues, as well as in addressing business challenges. We also have significant international and domestic experience defusing and resolving complex multi-party disputes between companies, governments, international financial institutions, and non-governmental organizations.
MLA’s wind projects include:
- Obtaining state and local approvals on behalf of BP Alternative Energy for a 350 megawatt facility of up to 120 wind turbines to be sited in New York.
- Addressing wind and other alternative energy issues for a major bipartisan energy coalition.
- Obtained FERC approvals for a wind power generation project in Wisconsin on behalf of the developer.
- Advised a U.S. wind power company seeking to establish a new wind power corporate and production facilities in the Bahamas.
- March 7, 2013
- February 7, 2013
- Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change Requests Information from Major U.S. Companies on Policy Responses to Climate ChangeFebruary 1, 2013Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the co-chairs of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, sent letters out to 300 leading U.S. companies and non-profit organizations soliciting views on climate change. Representative Waxman and Senator Whitehouse sent the letter to a broad cross-section of the business community, including large U.S. companies in the defense, oil and gas, retail, insurance, and manufacturing industries.
- 2013 Climate Change Policy and the United States: Beyond the Headline Issues
- Climate Change and Insurance
- Energy Performance Contracting