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Wind Energy Development and Finance

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Assessing and addressing real estate, land title and regulatory risks are integral to a successful renewable energy project. A utility-scale wind project can comprise hundreds of easements or leases covering tens of thousands of acres. In addition to securing easement or lease rights from participating landowners, third parties holding other interests in these properties must be identified and their interests subordinated to or otherwise coordinated with the developer’s lease or easement, the lender’s liens and interests, or otherwise addressed.

Miller Canfield’s Renewable Energy Team works on multiple wind energy development projects on behalf of lenders and investors, as well as utility company developer/acquirers. Through that experience, we developed effective and efficient processes for the staffing, management and reporting of these complex and time-sensitive transactions.

After reviewing and analyzing title and survey, and documenting objections in a single database, we work closely with opposing counsel or land agents to obtain curative documents to address the objections. We then confirm that these actions are reflected in updated title commitments, and further negotiate title endorsements. The process works to confirm that the property rights necessary to build and operate the project are in place and that conflicting third-party rights are addressed. In connection with these activities, we developed an extensive forms bank that permits us to further expedite on an expert and efficient basis the cure of related title matters.

In addition to addressing real estate risks, we address legal and regulatory matters tied to the properties, including environmental, zoning, and permitting concerns.

Our engagements typically include the following review services:

  • Underlying lease and easement documentation to identify potential issues and necessary amendments.
  • Deviations from lease or easement expectations to identify and analyze any resulting limitations imposed in the project plans.
  • Estoppel certificates to identify any issues raised by landowners that may impact the project.
  • Title commitments and surveys and the preparation of related objections and requirements to address real estate risks, as well as drafting, review and negotiation of effective curative documents.
  • Environmental site assessments to assess environmental condition of property.
  • Local permitting, zoning and land use, as well as regulatory requirements to confirm project compliance.
  • Drafting, review and negotiation of opinion letters as necessary.
  • Review and negotiation of final title policies and endorsements to confirm broadest insurance coverage available to the extent agreed.
  • Loan document compliance with local law.
  • Closing documents and attached exhibits and schedules to accurately effect the transaction.

Please visit Miller Canfield’s Environmental, Energy and Regulatory Group page to learn more about this practice and the work done by our renewable energy team.