West Texas is, of course, well known for its huge stockpiles of petroleum – but that’s not all. Scattered among the oil wells are thousands of wind turbines dutifully harnessing wind energy to produce electricity for Texas and across the nation. This alternative source of energy has become less expensive to produce and is being actively developed by a myriad of industries.
At the Moster Craft law firm, we are proud to offer diversified energy services including wind power to a myriad of industries from small startups to large enterprises. As we have said before, we are ready to scale down or up depending on the needs of our clients.
Wind energy is not wave of future but an established business enterprise in Texas. This area requires the involvement of experienced attorneys who understand the intricacies involved in launching wind energy projects. It is critical that your counsel understand a variety of integrated legal disciplines including land-use and environmental compliance, regulatory law, real estate and zoning law, and other critical areas.
We encourage our clients to acclimate themselves with the business model and economics of wind energy at inception. Many are unaware that 75% of the costs of wind energy relate to the upfront investment in turbines, foundation, electrical equipment, and the technology to connect the wind energy source to the power grid. Therefore, the business plan must anticipate a very steep investment which is mitigated over time.
Technologies relate to offshore production and land use of wind energy. Offshore turbines generate only 1% of the total output but present interesting business opportunities. The balance is generated by terrestrial wind turbines and wind forms which are ubiquitous in West Texas and other parts of the country.
Two other factors affect the ultimate viability of wind energy which must be anticipated in the business model. The first is the variability of the energy source itself, i.e., inconsistent weather patterns which determine the amount of wind available to push the turbines. Consequently, any business model must account for fluctuations or major variations in output based on weather conditions.
The other major factor which presents a technological challenge is the loss of electrical energy in converting the wind turbine to the power grid. This has been a major obstacle and still in development, however, it presents an opportunity for new intellectual property and acquisition for our clients.
As discussed above, the initial startup issues must be handled with care to ensure the success of the venture. Towards that end, the firm advises with respect to federal and state grants, financing, and tax incentives available for use in the project. The availability of these funds as a realistic source of financing is essential to the success of the endeavor and the expectations of investors who might be involved.
In tandem with the startup challenges, plaintiff must be advised as to wind power development and land/lease acquisitions. Success in this arena requires a thorough understanding of real estate law, zoning, and related matters.
The firm also stands ready to negotiate the necessary agreements with utilities and PPA’s and whatever else is needed to launch the project.
An additional legal resource to our clients in this area is our ability to combine extensive experience in the area of intellectual property and transactional law. The firm has assisted clients in the negotiation process and looks forward to being of service.
Wind energy is not just about the future because it is here now. At Moster Craft we are all about making wind energy a reality for our clients.
A word of caution to our clients – do not get involved in the wind power industry unless you get experienced legal advice. We are here to help with the below issues and more:
- Wind power development and land acquisition/lease acquisition.
- Project development and startup.
- PPA’s – power project agreements.
- Credits and offsets.
- Regulatory Law and Compliance.
- Licensing and technology.
- Land use and environmental compliance.
- Tax incentive and structuring.
- Federal and State grants and financing.