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Renewable & Alternative Energy

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP attorneys help clients navigate regulatory hurdles and take advantage of emerging opportunities in the renewable and alternative energy sector in the West and beyond, including wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, biomass, waste-to-energy, and other alternative energy projects. We have a wide array of experience on numerous issues facing renewable and alternative energy projects on private lands, as well as specialized expertise on the unique issues posed by project development on public and tribal lands. Our multidisciplinary approach to these issues—and our geographic proximity to many of the region’s best and newest renewable energy ventures—makes DGS uniquely situated to help our renewable and alternative energy clients plan, finance, operate, and expand their operations and businesses.

Examples of the firm’s experience in the area of renewable and alternative energy include:

Solar

  • Worked with developers and lenders in connection with permitting and other regulatory and transactional matters for 2.0MW and 500kW community solar projects in Logan County, CO and for a 2.0MW community solar project in Mesa County, CO
  • Represent solar energy clients on project site and placement issues, particularly navigating such issues on federal public lands
  • Advise solar energy clients on issues arising from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, historic and cultural preservation laws, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act
  • Analyze mineral and surface right issues unique to the West, particularly those involving project siting and development of transmission lines associated with solar projects
  • Advised a solar farm and community solar garden on income, property, and sales and use tax incentives available in Colorado
  • Advised a solar energy company on significant solar and other renewable energy legislation passed in Colorado in recent years and the opportunities those laws created
  • Assist in tracking PUC proceedings and edockets on issues of interest to solar companies, including net metering and other current proceedings
  • Assist municipalities and other entities involved in advancing opportunities to enhance solar in negotiations surrounding franchise agreements
  • Work with cleantech industry representatives, (including numerous solar companies), in various legislative initiatives designed to advance solar interests, including those involving the Colorado Renewable Energy Standard
  • Negotiated a solar renewable energy credit contract between a large international solar player and one of Colorado’s largest investor-owned public utilities
  • Analyzed solar rebates, net metering, and the precautions necessary to avoid becoming a public utility for a large solar energy company

Wind

  • Counsel clients on CWA 404 permitting and compliance for wind projects
  • Advised developers and lenders in connection with permitting and other regulatory and transactional matters for 130MW and 91MW wind farms in Logan County, CO
  • Represent major wind farm clients on project site and placement issues, particularly navigating such issues on federal public lands
  • Advise wind farm clients on issues arising from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, historic and cultural preservation laws, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act
  • Analyze mineral and surface right issues unique to the West, particularly those involving project siting and development of transmission lines associated with wind projects
  • Advised a 91MW wind farm developer on income, property, and sales and use tax incentives available in Colorado
  • Worked closely with a privately held, early-stage wind energy company in its initial public offering and listing on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange
  • Advised a wind power company on significant wind and other renewable energy legislation and the opportunities that those laws created for expansion
  • Advised on permitting and related issues for a major transportation corridor project designed to advance wind projects in New Mexico
  • Represented emerging wind technology company in identifying project development opportunities and making connections to wind turbine manufacturers
  • Assisted a wind turbine servicing and maintenance company in tracking key legislation and other developments and in making connections to project developers and other wind personnel
  • Represented a wind developer in Wyoming regarding potential permitting and public policy issues
  • Assisted a renewable energy credit banking company in conceptualizing the development of a wind energy-based mitigation bank in Wyoming
  • Represent lenders during initial financings, refinancings, and development of large wind power projects
  • Advise wind power clients on ensuring consistent revenue streams by conducting due diligence on the developers’ project planning and transactional documents

Biofuels/Biomass

  • Counsel clients on air permitting, compliance, and enforcement for ethanol facilities
  • Worked with developers and lenders in connection with permitting and other regulatory and transactional matters for a 20MW-equivalent anaerobic digester and renewable natural gas facility in Weld County, CO
  • Provided financing, due diligence, land acquisition, and leasing counseling for a biomass client
  • Worked with a large biotech company to draft an TSCA Microbial Commercial Activity Notice submission interested in alternative fuel applications
  • Advise refinery and mobile fueling clients on product specifications and transfer documentation and labelling for biodiesel products
  • Advised a major investor on tax incentive considerations and related permitting and liability issues associated with recapturing methane gas from landfills and fuel blending and pelletization

Geothermal

  • Counsel clients on permitting and compliance under Colorado Geothermal Resources Act
  • Counsel entities operating commercial flow-through pools and spas on geothermal water rights, their appropriation, and material injury to vested rights

Hydroelectric

  • Assisted a landowner in the vicinity of potential hydroelectric project in fleshing out key project components and the possible impacts
  • Assisted in the development and review of policies encouraging small hydroelectric power stations and worked on advancing and analyzing related legislation

Waste-to-Energy

  • Advised a client with respect to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulatory status of coal combustion residuals for use in “clean coal” applications
  • Counsel clients on use and reuse of non-hazardous secondary materials
  • Assist clients with waste characterization to determine applicability of RCRA hazardous and solid waste exclusions for recycling and reclamation of hazardous and non-hazardous secondary materials, including the exclusion from solid waste regulation for scrap tires used to produce electricity
  • Advise clients on the applicability of the RCRA “Bevill” exemption for wastes
  • Advised a client on waste-to-energy corporate and tax issues related to the use of used tires and coal ash in energy applications
  • Advise waste-to-energy companies on significant Colorado legislative initiatives and the opportunities that those laws created
  • Advise clients on regulatory and policy issues involving waste tire-to-energy facility in Colorado.
  • Assisted in the stakeholder and regulatory process surrounding the application of waste-to-energy facilities to improve future recycling and waste minimization in Colorado

Public Utilities

  • Represented a California public utility in obtaining a $40 million judgment against the federal government for failure to timely remove spent nuclear fuel
  • Represented clients before state and federal regulatory agencies and in the state and federal courts in rate cases and proceedings concerning electric resource planning, Colorado’s Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, certificates of public convenience and necessity, acquisitions of public utilities, service disputes, transfers of authority, compliance matters, and many other related proceedings
  • Negotiated franchise agreements, supply agreements, power purchase agreements, construction contracts, as well as major utility-related transactions, particularly in the areas of public utility mergers and acquisitions, electric power supply, natural gas supply and transportation, independent power production, renewable energy, and interconnection between telecommunications carriers
  • Worked with a broad consortium of utilities and other parties in advancing various Colorado legislation surrounding such topics as fueling stations for electric vehicles, and combined heat and power

Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)

  • Draft and negotiate PPAs for wind and solar power facilities
  • Drafted and negotiated a PPA between a Colorado electric cooperative and a major solar energy company
  • Drafted and negotiated a PPA between a Colorado county and a solar energy company
  • Drafted and negotiated a PPA between a three-state electric cooperative and a waste-fuel-fired electric generation facility in Colorado

Incentives/Grants

  • Represented several clients in applications for new markets tax credits and other tax credit programs

Tax Counseling and Structuring

  • Analyze state and local tax issues with respect to wind and solar energy projects

Carbon Trading and Credits

  • Advise clients on tax credit monetization strategies and provide assistance in structuring monetization transactions in a tax-advantageous manner

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