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Energy Facilities and Siting

Couch White’s environmental team plays a pivotal role in the expanding and fast-paced energy generation, transmission and facility siting industry.  Couch White regularly represents clients developing and siting electric and gas transmission projects and electric generation assets, including solar, wind, natural gas and alternative fuel projects, as well as energy storage and other developing technologies.   Our experience with state and federal regulatory permitting, including SEQRA and land use matters, benefits clients in all stages of energy generating and transmission projects.  We assist clients with developing strategies to navigate local, state and federal permitting requirements, including use of available exemptions and/or exceptions where appropriate; and streamlining the review and approval process to meet the client’s timelines for bringing a project online.

As part of this work, the environmental group regularly represents clients in administrative, legislative, adjudicatory and judicial proceedings. The group has a solid track record of developing the record necessary to not only obtain required approvals, but to defend those approvals, when necessary, in administrative or judicial proceedings.

Couch White’s environmental group works with Couch White’s corporate, real estate and energy teams to provide unified, efficient and comprehensive diligence and operational advice.  Environmental due diligence includes not only ensuring that the local, state and federal permitting process was correctly carried out, but also that any potential risk of contamination and environmental liability is properly identified, managed and protected against.  Couch White provides clients with options to resolve diligence issues, assists the client in reaching a suitable resolution, and advises clients on obtaining protections in the Phase I ESA process.  And, once the client acquires a project, Couch White advises them on regulatory compliance, remaining permitting issues, and any other operating issues that arise as a project is readied to connect to the grid.

The Firm’s representative experience includes:

  • Permitting the first horizontal Marcellus natural gas well in New York State post-SGEIS
  • Advising clients developing pipelines on New York State PSC and FERC siting and permitting processes
  • Counseling clients on regulatory proceedings, pipeline connectivity, environmental review and regulatory requirements related to oil and gas development
  • Conduct and/or provide due diligence counsel on environmental, permitting, regulatory, zoning and real estate matters for entities seeking to either develop or acquire portfolios of distributed renewable energy generation facilities, including community solar and solar plus storage farms in New York and the Northeast
  • Negotiate and draft asset and stock purchase agreements, EPC agreements, real estate purchase or lease agreements, power purchase and customer subscription agreements, utility interconnection agreements, and state incentive program agreements
  • Advise on business and tax aspects of facility siting and decommissioning, including payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) arrangements, decommissioning bonds and consumer protection rules
  • Representing the interests of oil and gas clients in foreclosure, lease dispute, eminent domain and other commercial litigation