Practice/Industry Group Overview
Renewable and sustainable energy will continue to play a critical role in the energy industry, particularly in New Jersey which has fully embraced a state-wide policy to reduce green house gas emissions by 20% by 2020. Further, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities through its Office of Clean Energy actively promotes the development of renewable energy projects, energy conservation, and demand side management initiatives.
Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer brings together experienced attorneys from various practices of the law firm to provide advice and representation to clients requiring innovative solutions to their energy needs. Our energy lawyers are familiar with all facets of renewable energy projects. Attorneys from our energy, environmental, finance, land use, transaction, real estate, redevelopment and tax law practices combine their experience to deliver comprehensive representation for "green power" projects.
Our energy lawyers have substantial combined experience representing public utilities, industrial and commercial customers in energy matters before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and are familiar with the laws governing independent power producers, cogenerators, and renewable energy producers. Our team is also well versed in the energy efficiency and renewable energy programs sponsored by the New Jersey Office of Clean Energy as well as the Board of Public Utilities' Renewable Portfolio Standards and issues associated with the Solar Renewal Energy Credits (SRECs).
The ability to draw upon our law firm's diverse practice areas enables us to assist our clients on all aspects of clean energy projects from local, energy efficiency initiatives to large-scale renewable energy projects. We are also familiar with the unique land use issues that arise in connection with renewable energy projects and the net metering and electric distribution company interconnection issues associated with such projects.
We regularly counsel public utilities on clean energy initiatives and have participated in the development of various utility renewable energy initiatives such as the PSE&G Solar Loan program. We also are familiar with the myriad issues that arise when negotiating power purchase agreements (PPAs).
Because we represent numerous governmental entities, we are well versed in the ever-changing New Jersey specific procurement laws that affect local governments and School Districts interested in developing renewable energy projects or entering into power purchase agreements.
With respect to governmental renewable energy projects, our public finance practice has assisted in the financing, acquisition and installation of solar photovoltaic systems by various public bodies (local authorities, municipalities and school districts). These projects have been financed through general obligation bonds and through Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) which are tax credit bonds of the public entities. Our firm was responsible for closing the first CREBs bond issuance in New Jersey.
Our commercial real estate attorneys have varied experience in the approval, construction and leasing of sustainable buildings, also known as green building. We have worked in the advance planning for the construction of the LEED Platinum certified buildings, including coordination of architectural and engineering professionals, LEED consultants, assessment of impact on local and state development approvals, research on availability of financial grants for planning and development efforts and low-interest loans for construction, coordination with financing consultants and coordination of public relations and community outreach campaigns We have also provided representation in connection with contract modifications to implement LEED certification and change orders required to convert conventional specifications to a building with LEED certification, and obtaining waiver of design criteria applicable to site plan approval in order to accommodate energy efficiencies in otherwise conventional industrial buildings.