Energy companies and their customers are increasingly turning to renewable energy to protect the environment, ensure domestic energy security and stimulate economic growth. In the United States, Congress has considered a mandatory federal renewable energy standard that would require certain retail electric suppliers to increase the percentage of renewable energy they supply to 20 percent by 2020. Some states, such as California, are imposing requirements up to 33 percent. The EU has set a renewable energy goal of 20 percent by 2020 — a dramatic increase over the 9.2 percent in place in 2006.
Well before the current global focus on developing new sustainable sources of energy, Hunton & Williams actively engaged in assisting clients in bringing online alternative and renewable energy projects. Since the 1980s, our renewable energy practitioners have represented developers and investors on wind, hydroelectric, solar, geothermal, biomass, landfill gas and other innovative projects in the United States and abroad. Over the years, and through evolving regulation and economic cycles, our lawyers have counseled clients on how to best design, permit, finance, construct and operate a wide variety of alternative energy sources and their associated transmission and distribution infrastructure. We advise clients on all aspects of renewable energy matters, and today our lawyers play an active role in shaping policy affecting the renewable energy sector before Congress, state legislatures, state and federal regulatory bodies and the courts.
Our comprehensive understanding of energy, environmental, and tax issues, along with our broad range of capabilities, allow us to provide targeted, innovative advice needed to meet clients' needs and business objectives. Our reach enables us to identify and help manage risk; anticipate and solve problems; and provide significant value to our clients as they plan, evaluate and develop renewable energy projects and related opportunities.
This multidisciplinary practice, in which more than 100 of the firm's attorneys are actively engaged, provides clients with the advice and assistance they need throughout the entire lifecycle of a project.
- Our project development attorneys work hand in hand with sponsors, financial institutions and other lenders, equity investors, offtakers, contractors, and others to structure innovative arrangements that enable projects to move forward.
- Our energy tax professionals offer in-depth knowledge of energy technologies as well as the intricacies of grants and tax incentives, allowing them to provide advice on the benefits or disadvantages of one technology over another and to structure transactions in a manner to take advantage of tax benefits and grants.
- Our environmental practitioners can assist with a full range of needs — from project siting considerations, to permitting and compliance requirements, to issues that arise from impacts to threatened or endangered species.
- Our climate change team regularly advises on renewable energy certificate (REC) trading and ownership.
- Our government relations professionals not only closely follow and participate in shaping the rapidly developing policy landscape, but also help clients actively prepare for how the various possible outcomes will affect their goals and business objectives.
Hunton & Williams has acted for clients on projects that cover the full spectrum of renewable energy technologies being deployed in the marketplace today.