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Renewable Energy

Overview

Varnum is the leading firm in Michigan for work on independent power generation, including fossil-fueled, alternative and renewable resource power plants. Our work includes site development, local zoning, construction contracting, power purchase agreements, transmission rights of way, interconnection agreements, standby rates, wheeling contracts, environmental studies and compliance, and regulatory approvals. 

Wind Energy

We have a depth of experience working in the wind energy industry. We have represented project developers on both on-shore and offshore, green field and brownfield, community wind and utility scale, first time and experienced projects. Our services are varied as required by each individual project. 

Wind energy clients include:

  • Developers of wind power generation projects from Australia, France, Spain and the United States
  • The largest developer of renewable resource generation projects (wind, solar, etc.) in the United States
  • The largest owner/operator of wind projects in Michigan
  • Michigan municipal utilities and alternative energy suppliers who are customers of wind energy
  • Two trade association for alternative suppliers and independent power producers

Solar Energy

We have a depth of experience working with entities in the solar energy industry. We have represented project developers and installers of solar panel projects, developers of concentrated solar power and concentrated solar thermal technology projects, and manufacturers of products in the solar space including electrical products and solar concentrators. We have also aided clients in developing LEED certified installations of solar generating equipment.

Solar energy clients include:

  • A manufacturer of parabolic solar equipment for solar thermal and concentrated solar energy production
  • A designer and manufacturer of solar panel racking equipment and solar carports
  • Installers of rooftop mounted solar panels
  • Manufacturer of electrical control boxes and related items for the solar industry
  • A company involved in the sale and design of commercial and residential solar units, including solar panel and solar thermal applications
  • A developer that leases rooftops and installs solar panels giving the lessor a buyout/buyback option
  • A metal stamping company making framing and fixtures for solar applications
  • Two trade associations for alternative suppliers and independent power producers

Biomass Energy

Our experience in the biomass energy industry includes representing developers of wood-fired energy plants, manure digesters, agricultural gasification plants, waste-to-energy incinerators, landfill gas, ethanol and biodiesel crop projects. We have also aided clients in developing carbon credit registration and trading programs.

Biomass energy clients include:

  • Various wood-fired generation projects
  • A multi-patented designer of innovative gasification processes allowing for small-scale electric energy production
  • Various agricultural interests looking to solve waste disposal issues creatively
  • Paper mills with onsite self-generation
  • Two trade associations for alternative suppliers and independent power producers

Waste-to-Energy

Varnum's experience working in the waste-to-energy industry is broad. We represent developers of waste-to-energy incinerators, landfill gas, and agricultural gasification projects. The services are varied as required by each individual project.

Waste-to-energy clients include:

  • A prominent nationwide developer of MWS waste-to-energy projects
  • A multi-patented designer of innovative gasification processes allowing for small-scale electric energy production
  • Agricultural interests looking to creatively solve waste disposal issues
  • Two trade association for alternative supplier and independent power producers

Experience

Experience

Wind Energy

Worked with a wind energy developer to secure tax incentives from the state for a utility-scale wind farm. Our work included advising on available tax incentives, completion of application processes demonstrating unique circumstances and establishing a tax district (working with three municipalities and the state tax commission).

Worked to develop countywide zoning rules and regulations for wind farm development.

Worked with various clients on the acquisition of leasehold interests, road crossing permits for gathering lines, wetland determinations and permitting.

Advised and negotiated power purchase agreements and the sale of renewable energy credits.

Counseled, guided and taken clients through the regulatory processes at Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).

Negotiated and finalized project financing for wind power projects.

Assisted in responding to various RFPs for wind energy supply.

Solar Energy

Worked with contractor on a 62 Mw project for a solar array with 82,000 solar panels.

Worked with client on a public school application of solar technology for education and training purposes.

Worked to develop sales and warranty documents for a client on the sale of rooftop and carport mounted solar products.

Strategized with a manufacturer of solar concentration technology on equity financing and marketing of its product line.

Counseled with client on expanding its opportunities in the solar equipment space.

Identified alternative energy tax credits for a client utilizing existing and new manufacturing equipment for solar applications.

Advised client on whether solar equipment assembly in the workshop needed to be inspected and approved by the building inspector where the equipment was ultimately being installed.

Worked with client on the marketing of carbon credits from alternative energy projects.

Worked with clients on the grant process for solar installations.

Counseled with various clients on bidding on and obtaining power purchase agreements for the sale of solar electricity.

Provided guidance on the local tax credits and incentives for solar energy producers.

Biomass Energy

Worked with a wood-fired energy plant developer on three projects, including the power purchase agreements, interconnection agreements, and financings.

Worked on acquiring the right-of-way and constructing a private transmission line to deliver biomass energy to the high-voltage transmission system.

Worked to develop sales and warranty documents for a biomass gasification equipment designer and manufacturer for use with all transactions.

Assisted in developing a market for a biodiesel/food crop.

Advised on air permitting and environmental compliance issues for ethanol operations.

Counseled and guided a biogas client through the regulatory processes at MDEQ and MPSC, and the financing of project.

Counseled on environmental issues for bark boilers at various wood products manufacturers.

Waste-to-Energy

Negotiated the power purchase agreement for a municipal solid waste-to-energy project, obtained agency approvals, worked on design-build contract, involved in the issuance of public bonds to finance the project, obtained air permits and worked on all attendant environmental issues.

Assisted on air permitting issues for a different municipal solid waste-to-energy project.

Strategized with farmers on the highest and best use of synthetic gas production from manure digestion and manure digester operations.

Negotiated and finalized project financing for a biodigester waste-to-energy project.

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