Renewable Energy & Building Green

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.

Green Building

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.

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Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A. (Wilentz) recognizes that our human resources are one of our greatest assets and that a talented and diverse workforce is a key competitive advantage. We strive to seek out and retain the finest human talent from all backgrounds to ensure top business growth and performance, and we have endeavored to create an environment in which every individual’s unique strengths and abilities are valued and utilized to the fullest capacity.
We as a firm are committed to the goal of strengthening our diversity both through education and through recruiting and retaining minority and women attorneys and staff from all backgrounds. We have long embraced the concepts and principles of equal employment opportunity and have endeavored to maintain a non-hostile work environment. Beyond that, however, we recognize that continuously promoting diversity is an integral part of our mission to strive for excellence as individuals and as a firm.
As part of the effort to advance our commitment to diversity, Wilentz has established a Diversity Committee focused on the following:
  • Recruiting, retaining and developing diverse talent at all levels in the firm.
  • Educating our employees and firm management regarding diversity issues.
  • Participating in opportunities outside the firm to explore diversity initiatives by supporting programs that increase the understanding and appreciation of cultural differences.
  • Recognizing diversity as a business imperative toward increasing our client base.
  • Emphasizing the firm’s long-standing policy that encourages reporting of any discrimination or harassment based on sex, race, or any other protected status.
Wilentz is proud to say that we participate in the following diversity initiatives:
  • In 1990, our Hiring Partner (now our Administrative Director), Stephen E. Barcan, was a founding member of the New Jersey Law Firm Group, an organization committed to the recruitment, hiring and retention of minority law students and lawyers in member firms and government agencies. The firm has remained an active participant and through this organization we sponsor a fellowship for a minority law student, provide roundtable discussion groups for law students, participate in minority job fairs, and encourage our associates to mentor students identified through this group.
  • We support the Rutgers-Newark Law School Minority Student Program. In addition, we have provided first year minority students with the opportunity to participate in our summer associate program with a view toward mentoring each student toward eventual hire by the firm as an associate. We are pleased that our efforts in this regard have been successful, as our 2005 MSP intern joined the firm as an associate in the fall of 2007, our 2006 MSP intern joined us as an associate in the fall of 2008, and our 2007 MSP intern joined us as an associate in the fall of 2009.
  • We encourage and sponsor our attorneys to become members of the Hispanic Bar Association. As a participant in the Hispanic Bar Association Mentorship Program, we assign Wilentz attorneys to be mentors for Hispanic law students as they complete their courses and work toward graduation from law school.
  • Wilentz is a supporter of the Garden State Bar Association in their mission to assist African-Americans and other minorities in becoming an effective part of the judicial system.
Historically, the majority of our entry associates come to us through our Summer Associate Program, and we are proud of the fact that our efforts toward minority recruitment of law students have been quite successful and that our summer associate classes represent a diverse mixture of minorities and women.
Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer’s commitment to diversity is consistent with our recognition that it is the exceptional people within our firm who have always been the source of our success. We continually seek new and innovative ways to expand our diversity initiatives in the areas of education, recruitment and retention.


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