Climate change, job creation, the pursuit of energy independence and the increased costs of traditional energy sources have refocused the national spotlight on renewable and alternative energy technology. Governments have responded with incentives and mandates that are spurring innovation from small entrepreneurs and large companies alike. Supporting companies that seek to capitalize on the future of energy is a primary focus of the Energy & Natural Resources group at Husch Blackwell.
Our clients are involved in every aspect of modernizing the energy industry. Our deep, extensive history representing independent power producers and electric utilities in all facets of their business gives us vast institutional knowledge regarding the matters affecting renewable energy projects. Developers, investors, owners and lenders depend on us to help complete and launch their groundbreaking renewable projects with speed and efficiency. Emerging clean-tech companies and alternative fuels entrepreneurs rely on us to help bring their technologies to market.
Our team brings a broad array of corporate, investment, finance, tax, regulatory, environmental, real estate, development and construction experience to our renewable, alternative and clean technology clients. Our attorneys closely follow legislative, regulatory and commercial changes that affect the renewables sector, including any changes related to development incentives.
Sector experience includes:
The biofuels industry has greatly contributed to the United States becoming the global leader in energy production. With innovative technologies and products improving the commercial viability of biofuels at an astounding pace, entrepreneurs, investors and agricultural technology companies continue to pour resources into products that advance our country’s goal of energy independence. Husch Blackwell is a leader in the expansion of the industry, providing legal services to more than 30 biofuels clients, as well as a variety of investors, lenders, agricultural cooperatives, contractors, marketers and other industry participants.
Members of our Biofuels team advise grassroots biofuel developers on the full range of project development, financing and operational needs – from planning to production and beyond. Clients depend on our broad and deep energy, agribusiness, environmental, construction, project finance, tax and capital markets experience to meet their specific needs and challenges. With a well-established history in the capital markets, we provide a full range of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration, Sarbanes-Oxley and listing compliance, and corporate governance services for public biofuels companies.
For our production and development clients, we help them evaluate emerging technologies for the biofuels sector, including energy-saving, pollution-reduction, co-product extension and efficiency-enhancing technologies. We represent companies developing technologies, as well as investors evaluating capital investment in this area.
Our full array of services includes:
There is no magic bullet to solve the world’s energy demands. Use of the entire portfolio of renewable energy technologies, including biomass, will be one of several contributors to the solution. Our attorneys represent some of the leading entrepreneurs in this fascinating field, which presents not only a carbon-neutral method for generating electricity, but also a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and repurpose organic waste and other byproducts. As a $1 billion industry that employs more than 15,000 workers in the United States alone, it’s serious business. Members of our energy team offer essential support to emerging technology companies in this sector and provide a full range of services to established clients in the biomass and landfill gas industry. Areas of advice include negotiation of feedstock and off-take agreements; environmental permitting; and structuring and negotiation of joint ventures, acquisitions and investments. Our clients include independent developers, investors and owners of biomass projects.
Our full array of services to our landfill gas and biomass clients includes:
Innovative entrepreneurs and visionaries are driving the rapid expansion of the solar industry, both in North America and globally. As solar power continues to become cost-competitive with traditional electric generation, the demand for clean energy continues to grow.
With experience encompassing commercial- and utility-scale solar projects as well as all facets of the distributed solar market, our team has a reputation for innovative work in the structuring, financing and development of solar projects and solar businesses throughout the country. Our work has spanned nearly all solar technologies on the market.
Our long history working with power generation developers, investors and financing parties, as well as with electric utilities, provides us with both an understanding of the issues and challenges facing the industry and a business perspective that gives our clients an advantage.
The collective experience of our nationally recognized energy team provides a full range of commercial, transactional, regulatory, legislative and litigation services to our solar energy clients. Representing developers, operators, investors, component suppliers and power purchasers, we have assisted clients with:
J. Christopher Hughes
With double-digit growth rates in recent years, wind-powered energy generation has become a dynamic and progressive sector of the renewables industry. As wind power’s contribution to our national energy portfolio has grown, Husch Blackwell’s energy team has represented clients in some of the nation’s largest and most complex wind projects, resulting in the development of thousands of megawatts of wind energy across the country.
Having served as a trusted advisor to leading wind developers, utilities, lenders, investors and sponsors, Husch Blackwell stands squarely at the forefront of issues impacting the wind energy sector, including integration of wind developments into the grid, and state and federal legislative, regulatory and commercial concerns, such as siting and incentives. Our long-standing clients include public utilities, lenders to the industry, and some of the largest domestic and international developers in the United States.
Members of Husch Blackwell’s Wind Energy team draw from a broad array of energy, environmental, construction, project finance, tax and capital markets experiences to meet our clients’ specific needs. Clients benefit from Husch Blackwell’s deep experience in the full range of renewable power project development and construction matters, including:
Lead development counsel on the largest wind project in the state of Nebraska, a 200 MW, $360 million facility comprised of approximately 120 wind turbines.
Represented Algonquin Power Co. in the simultaneous acquisition, joint venture and tax equity financing of thee wind facilities in PJM, and ERCOT totaling 400 MW.
Counsel to GE Renewable Energy in connection with its 2011 investment in Wind Capital Group’s 201-megawatt Post Rock wind facility in Kansas, its 2013 investment in Enel’s 250-megawatt Buffalo Dunes wind farm and to certain investors in connection with their investments in Gestamp Wind’s 40- megawatt Petersburg wind facility in Nebraska.
Represented Duke Energy Renewables in connection with its acquisition and $330 million 2012 joint financing arrangement with Sumitomo Corporation of America for the 131-megawatt Cimarron II Wind Project in Gray County, Kansas, and the 168-megawatt Ironwood Wind Project in Ford County, Kansas.
Represented GE Energy Financial Services, Inc., and other co-investors, as counsel for real estate, environmental, local tax and/or regulatory due diligence in connection with tax equity investments in more than 2000-megawatts of wind generating facilities in Texas.
Represented NV Energy Inc. in its partnership with Apple, Inc. to construct a 20-megawatt, 137-acre photovoltaic solar plant that will generate approximately 43.5 million kilowatt hours of clean energy to offset the electricity load for Apple’s 90,000-square-foot data center . The plant is being constructed on property owned by NV Energy, but the plant itself will be owned, initially, by Apple. Apple will use the solar power to offset the electricity load for its data center. NV Energy will lease, operate and maintain the facility, with a future option to purchase. Husch Blackwell’s Energy Group represented NV Energy throughout the project, from structuring the transaction to lease, development and renewable energy agreements.
Advised Black & Veatch on the formation of a three year strategic alliance with Brightergy to develop and install $100 million in commercial-scale photovoltaic solar rooftop projects.
Serve as counsel to a developer of large-scale commercial solar energy projects throughout the United States. Our client is the North American solar energy division of a global developer of solar, wind and other renewable energy facilities.
Retained by a regional renewable energy services company to serve as chief counsel in relation to their commercial contracting, corporate finance, and governance matters. Assisted with development of large- and small-scale solar financing methods.
Provided real estate, tax abatement, regulatory, PPA negotiation, and representation before municipal agencies in the development of a 30 MW solar facility near Austin, Texas.
Facilitated a joint venture between Benefuel Inc. of Irving, Texas and a leading independent refining, chemicals and biofuels company for the development and construction of biodiesel refineries in the U.S. that would use Benefuel’s patented ENSEL® technology. The process reduces refining costs, reduces waste, and allows biodiesel to compete commercially with petroleum diesel. A Japanese corporation is among the investors in the first refinery located in Beatrice, Nebraska. Representing Benefuel in all legal matters including corporate development, securities transactions, engineering contacts and US and international project development.
Represent a publicly traded, vertically integrated ethanol company that operates six ethanol plants capable of producing 480 million gallons per year (MGY) of ethanol and 1.5 million tons per year of distillers grains, as well as marketing an additional 360 MGY of ethanol third parties and blending/terminaling 495 MGY of fuels. Represent client in a broad range of legal matters including corporate governance, SEC reporting, operations, acquisitions, construction litigation and employee benefits.
Represent a public ethanol issuer with a 55 MGY ethanol plant in all aspects of finance and operations, including a $42.5 million Farm Credit System credit facility (lender selection, structuring closing, ongoing amendments) and provided representation on $9 million tax-increment financing. Provided representation on all environmental permitting matters related to plant construction and operations. Advised client in connection with final settlement of claims against construction contractor related to contracts in excess of $70 million for plant construction.
Represent a public ethanol issuer that operates a 125 MGY ethanol plant utilizing excess steam from adjacent coal-fired power generation plant with significant minority investment from international grain trading company. Represent client in all aspects of corporate governance, financing, SEC reporting, service provider contract, as well as environmental regulations regarding air and wastewater emissions, including $126 million credit facility and establishment of a $36 million subordinated term loan facility.
Represented an ethanol producer in a $20 million equity investment by an India-based company and a total of $110 million of long-term debt financing from a European banking group. Represented client in all negotiations with project lenders, vendors, service providers, feedstock providers and ethanol and distillers grain marketers, as well as environmental regulators regarding air and wastewater emissions and water use.