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Solar, Wind and Hydroelectric Development

  • Overview
  • Attorneys & Professionals
  • Updates, News & Presentations
  • Representative Experience

We have extensive experience with renewable energy project development, including solar, wind and hydroelectric projects.

The Energy Strategies Practice Group’s cross-practice approach allows us to bring renewable energy projects from initial structuring and financing to construction and operation.

Godfrey & Kahn has provided all legal services related to development, operation and sale of renewable facilities, including issues related to solar, wind and hydroelectric facility facilities. The Energy Strategies Practice Group has advised renewable energy project developers on ownership structures ranging from private to municipal ownership and operation to strategic public-private partnerships. We have also assisted developers of solar, wind, hydroelectric and other renewable facilities with siting issues and regulatory requirements and permitting. Our work with renewable energy project developers has included the negotiation of power purchase contracts in the sale of clean energy from newly developed facilities, as well as strategies for maximizing the value of energy usage by a host facility.

We have especially deep experience with respect to the development of solar facilities and have helped numerous clients cost-effectively implement both smaller and larger projects. We have developed and implemented strategies to obtain significant competitive grant funding, state and utility incentives and other creative sources of no- or low-cost funding. We have also structured projects to combine that funding with solar investment tax credits and depreciation benefits to dramatically lower the cost of solar facilities, in many cases allowing the facilities to be built with no upfront capital expenses for our clients.

John Clancy

Clancy, John L.

David Gilles

Gilles, David J.

Special Counsel
Lynn Ludke

Ludke, Lynn A.

Special Counsel
Sarah Schenck

Schenck, Sarah R.

Timothy Smith

Smith, Timothy C.

Danny Tang

Tang, Danny S.

Lynelle John

John, Lynelle R.


Representative Experience

Solar Development

Alstom (Paris Stock Exchange: ALO)
Godfrey & Kahn represented Alstom in their investment of up to $55 million in BrightSource Energy Inc., a specialist in designing, building and operating tower-based solar thermal power plants with operations in the USA, Israel and Australia.

Housing Authority Net Zero Energy Project
Godfrey & Kahn assisted a housing authority with strategy to convert its residential units to “net zero” status (i.e., they produce as much energy as they use). Work so far includes preparing successful, competitive federal grant applications totaling $1.6 million to implement solar installations that also qualify for state funding. These solar installations are structured to fully participate in state’s net metering programs, which allow a large “solar farm” to provide retail rate offset credits to approximately 200 residential units, and for Housing Authority to receive the benefit of the 30% solar investment tax credit.

Solar Development Company Client
Godfrey & Kahn provided all outside legal advice to solar development company that implements innovative projects utilizing technologies that combine solar hot water heating and solar photovoltaic (PV) cells.

Solar Development for Municipal and Governmental Entities
Godfrey & Kahn worked with developer to create strategies allowing it to develop solar projects for nonprofits, local governmental entities and other nontaxable entities that provide for the monetization of valuable investment tax credits and accelerated appreciation that can apply to solar projects.

Solar Manufacturer
Godfrey & Kahn represents a manufacturer of photovoltaic crystalline solar modules, in connection with the company’s formation and initial capital-raising activities. Godfrey & Kahn’s representation has included assisting manufacturer with a private placement of preferred securities and obtaining debt financing, along with organizational, real estate, employment and contract matters.

Solar Panel Production Facility
Godfrey & Kahn represented a developer of a planned several-hundred million dollar solar panel production facility with respect to siting and tax credit application issues.

Tribal Solar Community-Scale Solar Development Project
Godfrey & Kahn assisted an Indian tribe in the implementing of large community-scale solar projects. This included developing a strategy to seek and obtain over $1.5 million in competitive federal funds available to tribes to help fund over 900 kW of solar facilities to serve 15 tribal buildings and approximately 50 tribal homes. We also developed a strategy to combine federal grant funding with state incentives to further leverage benefit to tribe. We also developed a strategy to develop project with tax credit investor to provide value of 30% investment tax credit to the tribe. This allows all costs for project to be paid by project entity, and for tribe to finance its portion of the project out of its short-term energy savings.

Wind Development

Permitting Wind Farm Manufacturing Facility
Godfrey & Kahn represented a fabricator of wind farm components to establish a new facility in Wisconsin. The facility required air permitting and a stormwater permit for new construction. With the assistance of technical consultants, Godfrey & Kahn successfully negotiated storm water and air permits for the facility.

Public Service Commission Wind Siting Advisory Panel
A Godfrey & Kahn shareholder and member of our Practice Group was appointed to represent the public with respect to advising the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin regarding rules for local governmental restrictions of wind generation facility siting.

Renewable Resource Credits
Godfrey & Kahn represented a large independent energy producer in the sale of credits from the “Top of the Iowa” wind project. The Renewable Resource Credits associated with this project were the first ever certified in Wisconsin under the new Renewable Resource Credit program.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Grant Development
Godfrey & Kahn assisted Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in obtaining grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of the Interior for the development of a large-scale wind facility within the Standing Rock reservation and in developing cost-effective strategies for wind development.

“Top of the Iowa” Wind Power Purchase
Godfrey & Kahn represented a large independent energy producer in its purchase of the “Top of the Iowa” wind project. The Renewable Energy Credits associated with this project were the first ever certified in Wisconsin under the new Renewable Energy Credit program.

Wind Power Wholesale Energy Purchases
Godfrey & Kahn represented a wholesale energy purchaser with respect to the negotiation of several purchase power contracts with a large wind generation facility.

Wisconsin Public Service Corporation – Wind Farm Siting
On behalf of a large, regional investor-owned utility, Godfrey & Kahn negotiated the conditional use permits and land use regulations pertaining to one of Wisconsin’s first multi-tower, utility-scale wind farms. Our work included the resolution of controversial political issues with local township governmental units, leasing issues, FAA-regulated airport issues, FCC-regulated radio and television interference issues and infrastructure/tower construction issues.

Hydroelectric Development

Hydroelectric Facility
Godfrey & Kahn served as counsel for all state-related due diligence for an investor-owned, regulated utility in the proposed purchase of a hydroelectric facility.

Little Rapids Corporation Sale of Hydroelectric Facility
Godfrey & Kahn provided all of the legal services necessary to Little Rapids Corporation in its divestiture and sale of a dam, related infrastructure and associated hydroelectric generation facility to North American Hydro. This project included FERC regulatory compliance issues and negotiation of a power purchase agreement. In addition, Godfrey & Kahn resolved complex real estate and land title issues to retain cross-easements and industrial access rights.

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