Renewable Energy – Wind & Solar
Jackson Walker has developed a well-established renewable energy practice encompassing both electric power generation and transportation fuels. Our renewable power experience includes projects utilizing wind, solar, landfill gas, biomass, biodiesel, advanced biofuels, and gasification of solid fuels. Our renewable fuels experience includes a range of advanced biofuels, with extensive experience in biodiesel.
Renewable energy companies and asset owners worldwide recognize our long history of service to the energy industry and our commitment to innovation. Our attorneys are industry leaders in renewable energy issues ranging from project development to state and national policy advocacy. Many of our renewable energy partners are former general counsel or chief executives of energy companies. Several of our renewable energy attorneys came to the firm from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and its predecessor agencies, the Railroad Commission of Texas, the Texas Attorney General’s Office, and the Texas Legislature.
We assist clients with the development, finance, construction and operation of renewable energy projects. Jackson Walker offers our project development clients a multi-disciplinary team of attorneys in diverse areas such as incentive development and related lobby activity, mergers and acquisitions, project development, tax, environmental, regulatory, legislative, litigation, real estate, finance, power marketing, and construction.
In the early stages of project development we examine regulatory policies, legal structures, and commercial issues which will affect the proposed project. Our environmental group regularly interacts with state and federal agencies with jurisdiction over projects and industries with potential environmental impacts, and we perform rigorous due diligence for clients potentially impacted by environmental laws.
From an environmental perspective, the most pressing issues in the development of renewable energy projects are ensuring the project will limit any potential impact to endangered species, protected water bodies, and cultural resources, and that the project will obtain and comply with applicable environmental permits.
- Represented Google in connection with its approximately $200 million equity investment in the Spinning Spur Wind Project, a 161 MW facility in the Texas Panhandle and served as lead counsel in connection with environmental, real estate, permitting and regulatory issues (except as related to FERC). The deal marks Google’s 11th renewable energy investment since 2010 and its first in Texas.
- Jackson Walker played a central role in the Texas PUC’s Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) docket which resulted in a plan to move forward with a $5 billion transmission construction plan to bring 18,456 megawatts of power from wind-rich areas in West Texas and the Panhandle to Texas’ major metropolitan areas.
- Jackson Walker continues to represent the interests of the largest biodiesel blenders in Texas before the Texas Comptroller and the Texas Legislature to preserve the fuel excise tax exemption for biodiesel blends and smooth implementation of label and invoice requirements associated with claiming the exemption.
- During recent legislative sessions, on behalf of power generation and technology interests, our attorneys assisted in the drafting and passage of several pieces of legislation, the net result of which is the most comprehensive financial and regulatory incentive package in the nation for low carbon electric power generation technology, including biomass projects.
- Our attorneys have preserved key incentives and developed market protection mechanisms for the biodiesel industry and worked in concert with key statewide elected officials to establish the Texas Bioenergy Policy and Research Councils.
- Our attorneys were instrumental in the preservation and extension of key incentive programs essential to the continued growth of the renewable energy industry in Texas. Our attorneys also assisted in the drafting and passage of a first-of-its-kind grant program for electricity storage projects related to renewable energy that could pave the way for utility scale solar energy projects and further expansion of Texas wind energy.
- We represented a large generator of wind power, assisting with and advising on lease and option agreements, substation, transmission and access easements, air rights, shared use agreements, surface use agreements, sub-easements, and other related title and environmental issues.
- Represented a developer of several proposed wind energy projects, currently awaiting funding and development, in Shackelford, Callahan, McCullough and Jack Counties, Texas, covering a total of approximately 90,000 acres, and proposed facilities capable of generating more than 700 MW of wind energy.
- Represented a large wind-energy developer in connection with the developing, funding and leasing of a 166 MW wind energy project in Shackelford County, Texas, involving leasehold estates covering approximately 20,000 acres. This representation included due diligence, leasing, interconnection and crossing agreements, legal opinions and other documents relating to financing, corporate structuring and related documentation.
- Represented a wind-energy developer in connection with title and survey review, leasing, interconnection agreements and other real property agreements relating to development of a 60MW wind project in Floyd County, Texas, covering approximately 11,000 acres of land.
- Represented a large generator of wind power in connection with multiple projects and related operations, including assisting with and advising on lease and option agreements; substation, transmission and access easements; air rights; shared use agreements; surface use agreements; sub-easements; and other related title and environmental issues. Recent projects for this client include a 114 MW project in Taylor County, Texas, and a 41 MW project in Culberson County, Texas, comprised of over 64,000 acres.
Our attorneys have developed focused knowledge in advanced biofuels, including biodiesel. Our biodiesel team members have been instrumental in the formation, funding, and environmental permitting of biodiesel plants across Texas. We continue to be involved in the development of new projects that will significantly increase the production, distribution, and sale of biodiesel and other advanced biofuels in the state.
The use of biomass for electricity generation represents an emerging area of opportunity in Texas. Our biomass electric generation projects have utilized a range of biomass fuel sources such as wood chips, grasses, forest and agricultural wastes, municipal residues, manure and landfill gases. Because of the size and diversity of Texas’ natural resources, the state holds incredible potential as a biomass producer.
Jackson Walker represents companies involved in cutting-edge biomass projects in Texas, providing ongoing advice and transactional assistance to these ventures at every stage of development, including environmental permitting and compliance counseling. We also have extensive experience obtaining incentives for such projects and have been actively involved in shaping policy developments to support the growth of the biomass electricity industry in Texas.
Jackson Walker has represented clients involved in some of the most innovative wind power projects in the country, including major wind energy developments in West Texas and a cutting-edge offshore wind project in the Gulf of Mexico. Drawing on the experience of attorneys in several practice areas, we are able to assist with every aspect of wind power project development from start to finish. Our services include:
- Incentives: Our attorneys have helped clients obtain economic incentives for wind power development through tax abatements and ad valorum tax credits at the local level; and through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act tax credit and grant programs at the federal level.
- Site control: We help clients perform due diligence and obtain exclusive development rights for wind energy projects. Our attorneys have extensive experience negotiating leases, obtaining necessary easements and planning for all aspects of access, development and transmission for these projects.
- Ancillary agreements: Our attorneys have experience negotiating and securing the agreements necessary for wind project development, including turbine supply agreements; crossing agreements; Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts; interconnection agreements with transmission providers; renewable energy credit agreements; and Power Purchase Agreements.
- Permitting: Although wind power projects do not, in general, require as much permitting as other types of energy projects in Texas, where permits are necessary, our Environmental attorneys have extensive experience in negotiating the permitting process.
- Project finance: We have helped clients develop innovative strategies for financing wind power projects through the use of tax equity partnerships and other financing structures. Our attorneys also have extensive experience in credit and risk mitigation arrangements, including guaranties, hedge and swap arrangements, and master netting agreements.
We have helped clients obtain incentives at the federal, state and local level for solar energy projects. In addition to helping clients identify the types of incentives, grants and tax credits available for solar energy, our multidisciplinary team of attorneys can also assist with every aspect of project development, including planning, permitting, finance and construction.
We keep our clients informed about the latest funding and incentive programs available in the rapidly changing field of solar energy development. Our Legislative team also takes an active role in shaping rules and policies that affect solar energy research and production.
Legislative & Regulatory
At Jackson Walker, our Environmental and Legislative attorneys work together to solve problems for our renewable energy clients. Our attorneys continually advocate their clients’ interests before the Texas Legislature and have been actively involved in creating incentive programs to encourage renewable energy research and production. Some of our recent successes include assisting with the drafting and passage of legislation that created incentives for energy storage projects, as well as electric power generation technologies involving biomass, algae, and other carbon sequestration projects projects; developing market protection mechanisms for the continued growth of the biodiesel industry; drafting and advocating the passage of legislation to establish the Texas Bioenergy Council; and participating in the Texas PUC’s Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) plan to bring power from West Texas and the Panhandle to Texas’ major metropolitan areas.
Our Regulatory group represents energy clients in a broad range of federal and state regulatory matters, including exempt wholesale generators, retail electric providers, electric utilities, Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) qualifying facilities, interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines and storage companies, and LNG facilities. Our lawyers represent clients in a variety of matters before the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC), FERC, the Texas Railroad Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Minerals Management Service, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, and the federal courts.