Energy, Infrastructure & Environment

Renewable Energy

We work extensively in services dealing with alternative and renewable sources of energy. This includes extensive work on projects with renewable electric-generating capacity, including solar, biomass, and wind. Our services include due diligence, facility siting, financing, and tax and regulatory support for construction and operation of renewable energy providers. We also combine a unique set of experience and knowledge in the development of renewable energy projects on Indian lands, which includes the navigation of private, tribal, and federal law issues.


We have significant experience in this new and creative wave of energy generation, including:

  • Advising clients regarding the development of five large wind farm projects located in Wisconsin, Illinois and Arizona, including:

    • Assisting a large investor-owned utility to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission for the construction of an 88-turbine, 145-MW wind farm in Wisconsin. As part of this process, we identified required federal, state and municipal approvals.

    • Providing due diligence to the lender underwriting the construction of a 133-turbine, 200-MW wind farm in Wisconsin, which also included an evaluation of the need for and completeness of efforts to obtain relevant federal, state and local approvals as well as a vigorous defense against landowner objections based on wind turbine noise and an alleged diminution in property values.

    • Preparing the application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission for a proposed 90-turbine, 207-MW facility, making the case that the proposed generating capacity is the most cost-effective way to achieve compliance with a state Renewable Portfolio Standard.

    • Performing due diligence for the primary lender for a large wind farm project in southeastern Arizona.

    • Representing a wind farm developer in connection with a challenge to a proposed wind farm in Illinois based on Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act concerns.
  • Representing a lender and a separate tax equity investor in the funding and development of an 85 MW wind and solar facility, consisting of a 30 MW wind farm and a 55 MW solar park in Arizona.

  • Providing the real estate, environmental, financing, tax and regulatory legal support for the construction and operation of a solar generation facility adjacent to a gas turbine power plant in southern Arizona.
  • Preparing the preliminary environmental legal analysis for the siting of a large solar power plant on an Indian reservation in northwestern Arizona.
  • Providing the licensing and other environmental legal support for the construction and operation of a large cogeneration power plant in the area of Yuma, Arizona.
  • Representing one of the largest dairy cooperatives in the country, in a major waste-to-energy joint venture project that will treat the combined wastewaters of three dairy manufacturing plants in western Wisconsin while also producing renewable energy through anaerobic digestion. We are assisting the joint venture partners in all aspects of the project, from initial discussions with the municipality and the local community to permitting at the federal, state, and local levels as well as advising on the financing and construction of the project.

  • Representing a Wisconsin pulp manufacturer in the development of a wastewater pre-treatment facility that utilizes anaerobic digestion technology to pre-treat the effluent from its manufacturing processes, prior to sending the effluent to the local municipal sewerage district. We are assisting the company in various aspects of the commercial contracting work for the project.

  • Representing a U.S.-based, international biofuel/biomass energy company with compliance and strategic counseling associated with operation, reporting, financing, and disposition strategies for Illinois landfill methane-powered electric generation facilities operated under Illinois’ statute regulating Qualified Solid Waste Energy Facilities. The representation included advise on novel regulatory issues associated with complex financing transactions.

  • Assisting an Indiana-based renewable energy company that utilizes a proprietary pyrolysis gasification technology to turn municipal solid waste (MSW) into biogas, biofuel, and biochar in raising financing by means of a private placement memorandum.

  • Drafting MSW supply agreements for another Indiana-based renewable energy company that was looking to construct and operate a facility in Illinois, which will process MSW into biofuels.
  • Assisting a utility in identifying necessary regulatory approvals relating to the conversion of an existing 40-MW coal-fired power plant to combust 100% biomass and providing advice relating to obtaining an air pollution control permit for that facility.
  • Providing environmental and public utility regulatory advice for the construction of a biomass-fueled power plant to be located adjacent to an existing manufacturing facility, which will consume the electricity or steam energy generated by the biomass plant.
  • Advising a 40 million gallon nameplate ethanol plant and a 110 million gallon nameplate ethanol plant in Wisconsin, which - in addition to ethanol - produce wet and dry distiller's grains, corn germ, bran and condensed distiller solubles as well as carbon dioxide. Our representation includes advice regarding:
    • Formation of the companies and preparation of organizational documents, including agreements among the owners as to equity and governance.

    • Debt financing for the companies, which has included senior construction loans, an industrial development bond issue and working capital facilities.

    • Construction and engineering contracts in connection with the construction of the plants.

    • Environmental issues, including review of air permits and addressing Notice of Violation issued to the facilities.

    • Numerous commercial contracts, including contracts with the ethanol, carbon dioxide and by-product marketers; license agreements (including a license agreement for a corn fractionation plant) and various leases and other commercial contracts.

    • Tax advice concerning the construction of the plant and ongoing operations.
  • Assisting clients in obtaining patent protection for clean energy inventions, including:
    • Prosecuting patent applications for aqueous reformulation technologies to produce petroleum alternatives directly from sugar-containing feedstocks.

    • Prosecuting patent applications relating to solar troughs, bacterial fuel cells and liquefaction of carbon waste products.
  • Assisting public bodies in applying for IRS Clean Renewable Energy Bond ("CREB") credit allocations and serving as bond counsel for debt issuances to finance CREB-qualifying projects, which include wind, geothermal, solar, landfill/trash and biomass projects.
  • Reviewing and negotiating power purchase agreements for renewable power generators and purchasers for wind, solar and biomass.
  • Advising on issues relating to work authorization, foreign travel, green card sponsorship and fast-track processes for highly educated and highly skilled foreign national renewable energy experts, managers and executives.

These examples reflect our ability to guide a project from concept to completion or to work on individual components like project financing, intellectual property rights, commercial contracts and environmental permits.

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