The renewable energy sector is one of the most dynamic elements of the global energy industry, responding to surging changes in the economic, regulatory and political environments worldwide. Coupled with continual advances in technology that are drastically reducing the installed cost of renewable energy, and innovative financing mechanisms, the sector presents tremendous opportunities in developed and developing nations. According to the International Energy Agency, renewable power worldwide is expected to increase by 40 percent over the next five years, and will make up almost a quarter of the global power mix by 2018.
Our clients operate in solar, wind, biomass, hydropower, geothermal, and complementary sectors such as energy storage, smart grid and transmission. We serve project developers, sponsors, lenders, tax equity investors, power purchasers and sellers, utilities, and governmental and regulatory bodies in all aspects of the development, financing, acquisition, and operation of renewable energy projects. We pride ourselves on our responsiveness and teamwork, as well as on maintaining a thorough grounding in both the business and legal dimensions of the renewable energy industry. Drawing upon a cohesive team of lawyers from multiple disciplines, and global experience in the renewable energy industry, we provide valuable, strategic legal advice to serve our clients’ business goals.
With lawyers on five continents around the world, including Australia, Asia, North and South America, and Europe and the Middle East, K&L Gates serves clients in virtually all renewable energy and clean technology sectors in developed and developing nations alike. Lawyers at K&L Gates have represented clients in connection with renewables in more than 40 countries globally: in the Asia Pacific region; in the Americas; in Europe; and in Africa.
Our lawyers have assisted developers, lenders, investors, and contractors in project finance and development, including leading negotiations on the power purchase and other key agreements underpinning project viability. We perform due diligence and negotiate deals for project finance, tax equity investment, debt and equity finance, joint ventures, and mergers and acquisitions, including legal opinions required in connection with tax equity investments. We help emerging energy and technology companies form and organize; secure grants, venture capital and other sources of financing; establish strategic alliances; engage in mergers and acquisitions transactions; commercialize their products through technology licensing; and protect their intellectual property. Our global regulatory and public policy practice helps clients overcome regulatory hurdles and influence legislative and policy development in the renewable energy area.
Corporate Energy Sourcing As the global demand for reliable and clean energy grows, many energy consumers are exploring new ways to procure energy, create efficiencies, and achieve corporate sustainability goals. Our team advises a diverse corporate clientele in connection with purchases of renewable power to meet corporate goals and control costs; third party agreements, power purchase agreements and ownership arrangements for on-site generation; investment in off-site energy assets; and development and investment in energy storage.
Whether a client seeks to lower its energy costs, improve the reliability of its energy supply, reduce energy demand, meet emission reduction goals, or generate revenue through the purchase of renewable power, we can help.
Solar The solar sector continues to innovate and lower costs. As solar power reaches grid parity in key markets, the global demand for solar continues to grow. Our solar sector experience includes utility scale and distributed solar projects around the world, ranging from the largest solar projects built or contemplated to small residential distributed solar installations. Our team has built a reputation for innovative lawyering on distributed solar finance, including the pioneering use of the inverted lease structure, and the securitization of solar receivables. We have worked with virtually all solar technologies currently on the market, including photovoltaic (both thin film and crystalline silicon), solar thermal, and concentrated solar power.
Wind Trends including micro and distributed wind projects and the development of the first offshore wind projects in the United States have spurred new opportunities in wind project development around the world. Our team has represented clients in the development and siting of thousands of megawatts of wind projects. We advise on power purchase agreements, construction contracts, real estate and land use, turbine supply agreements, interconnection and transmission, energy regulatory matters, and environmental issues, including environmental permitting and endangered and threatened species impact concerns.
Energy storage The widespread adoption of more intermittent renewable resources such as wind and solar power has created a demand for technologies to store and manage variable renewable energy that cannot be used immediately. Many companies are investing in the development and deployment of batteries, flywheels, pumped storage hydropower, compressed air energy storage and other technologies to store wind and solar energy for later use. Our team members have advised clients in connection with the development of a wide range of energy storage projects and associated regulatory policies.
Hydropower We have extensive experience in traditional dam and run-of-river hydropower, as well as with pumped storage hydropower and emerging technologies in wave and tidal power. Our team has handled licensing processes and water access arrangements for hydropower projects (including the FERC licensing process in the United States), as well as decommissioning procedures for dam removal and habitat restoration. We are adept at working with the large number of stakeholders in relation to hydropower projects, negotiating solutions to preserve recreational and indigenous access to water resources, address migratory fish passage issues, and develop environmental plans relating to endangered and threatened species, and related sensitive habitat.
Biomass, biofuels and biogas We have worked on open- and closed-loop biomass power generation projects using a variety of feedstock, from wood waste to municipal solid waste. We represent biodiesel and other biofuel producers, and have worked on numerous landfill gas energy projects. Our team has secured research funding on behalf of clients to explore emerging biofuel feedstock including algae.
Geothermal Members of our team have advised on power purchase agreements, geothermal leases, steam supply agreements and other project documents affecting geothermal exploration and development.
We represent renewable energy clients on the full range of issues concerning project siting and permitting, as well as ongoing facility operational and environmental compliance matters. Beyond traditional permitting and compliance activities, K&L Gates has significant experience in the development and implementation of market-based environmental compliance programs, including the negotiation and consummation of transactions involving water quality and air emissions credit trading.
Our practical approach to resolving operating, environmental and related challenges has facilitated the successful completion and continued operation of many projects. We help our clients earn public recognition for their civic responsibility, while enabling them to achieve their business goals expeditiously and cost-effectively. We take pride in forming teams that work collaboratively with clients over the long term to meet the challenge of ongoing operations
Securing appropriate property rights for a renewable energy project is of fundamental and early importance to the project’s commercial viability and financeability. K&L Gates has significant experience in addressing the complex and individual requirements of renewable energy projects, including negotiation of access and option agreements, purchase and sale agreements for acquisition and disposition of land, leases, licenses, easement agreements for roads, transmission, substation and related project easements including conservation and habitat protection easements, and covenants. Our lawyers also assist with securing site plan, subdivision and other development approvals, title and survey review and preparation and review of various real estate documents in connection with project financing.
Renewable energy projects frequently involve a shared use of the land. Our lawyers have extensive experience negotiating subordination and other agreements with lenders, other easement holders, holders of subsurface (oil, gas and mineral) rights, governments and public entities who may hold property interests, and neighboring property owners. We are also experienced in the complexities of project siting on lands owned by or protected for the use of indigenous people, including native title in Australia, tribal lands in the US and native corporations in Alaska.
We assist our clients with the myriad of financial incentives and tax benefits that exist for renewable energy projects. K&L Gates has extensive experience in project financings involving energy development, production and infrastructure facilities. We have represented clients in the financing of multiple independent power projects, ranging from utility size and distributed solar and wind to biomass. Our project finance team has extensive experience in structuring, documenting, and implementing a wide range of limited recourse financing structures for major projects, including:
We serve as a one-stop shop for the full range of energy project financing needs, from legal due diligence to preparation and negotiation of agreements for a wide variety of financing structures. We understand the issues in underlying power purchase agreements, EPC agreements, real estate documents, and other key transaction documents that affect project financeability. Having represented both lenders and renewable energy project developers, we have a deep, practical understanding of the issues that can impact future revenue – not just in the short term, but many years after the initial financing.
Our environmental and land use lawyers work to successfully navigate the maze of regulatory requirements and maintain good relations with regulatory agencies, government officials, non-governmental organizations and the public. We help clients anticipate and avoid problems before they impede their objectives or result in needless, costly litigation. We are experienced in alternative dispute resolution procedures (including multi-stakeholder mediations). When necessary, we are well prepared to litigate problems that cannot otherwise be resolved.
K&L Gates has extensive experience navigating the issues surrounding endangered, threatened and protected species and habitat in connection with renewable energy project development, including issues relating to ground birds, bats, and raptors that impact wind project development.
K&L Gates lawyers represent a wide range of clients in the purchase and sale of renewable energy, renewable energy credits or certificates, verified emissions reduction certificates, emissions allowances, and other environmental trading products. We have prepared and negotiated numerous wholesale and retail electric power purchase agreements, as well as energy derivatives, electric transmission, interconnection, operation and maintenance, advanced billing, licensing, and other agreements. These contracts involve a wide range of transactions, including long-term and short-term energy and capacity purchases and sales. Our experience includes the preparation and negotiation of ISDA Master Agreements and other master agreements for transactions in energy swaps and other renewable energy products.
Our clients in these transactions include independent power producers, investor-owned and public power utilities, power marketing companies, banks, investment banks, local distribution companies, wholesale and retail customers, and telecommunications services providers (including providers that are unregulated affiliates of electric utilities).
Our global government solutions practice helps clients manage the opportunities and challenges associated with doing business globally, including in the context of seeking government concessions in public-private partnerships, securing government funding in the form of loan guarantees, grants and appropriations, engaging in lobbying activity in connection with policy development, and navigating the regulatory maze of government agencies appointed to manage the complexities of bringing renewable energy projects online. For renewable energy clients, we engage in legislative lobbying, help to secure grants and other government funding, help to win government contracts, and help to obtain regulatory approvals to facilitate project development.
Our U.S. cleantech policy practice is focused on the U.S. Congress, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Among our achievements, K&L Gates has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds and loan guarantees for various renewable energy facilities. We have successfully advocated for and secured funding in annual energy-related appropriations bills for several projects every year. We have also successfully amended energy authorization, climate change bills, and tax legislation to include various clean energy provisions helpful to clients.
In addition to our legal experience at the heart of renewable energy project development, operation and transactions, we offer experience in a range of other practices to serve project developers and lenders around the world, including: