Energy Law Wisconsin Blog

Topic: Tax Treatment

Taking on Risk at the Small Wind Conference

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Michael Allen at Wind ConferenceOn June 14, I presented “How to Limit Your Risk in a Small Wind Business” at the Small Wind Installers Conference in Stevens Point. There were about 250 attendees, including installers, manufacturers, utility representatives, environmental groups and government agency representatives.

I was part of a panel titled “Reality Check: Legal and Insurance Issues,” where I joined two small wind installers who had faced liability concerns in New York and New Jersey.  The situations they described were especially difficult for wind installers as they appear to have been the subject of claims for liability, even though by all accounts there were not defects in their installation efforts.  Insurance agent Alan Virgil also spoke on how to insure a small wind business.

During my presentation about how to manage risk in the small wind industry, I gave the audience suggestions on how minimize risk generally, providing two fundamental risk management principles and five risk management “commandments” to help keep them out of trouble.  If you would like a copy of the overheads from this talk, just e-mail me at mallen@energylawwisconsin.com.

The heart of my message was that up-front planning is critically important when forming a business and entering into a wind project contract to ensure risks are allocated fairly and that wind energy entrepreneurs don’t expose themselves to unwarranted amounts of liability.

The Small Wind Installers Conference was a great opportunity to talk to leading national players in the small wind industry and discuss the latest developments in state and federal renewable energy policy.

What is “Energy Law Wisconsin” : A Collection of Actual Project Photos

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Many people have asked me, “Just what is Energy Law?”  I have quickly learned that to answer this question with precise details of the laws in place and tasks involved is a good way to make peoples’ eyes glaze over.

It is easier to explain what I do is by showing the results, so here are a few pictures.  These are the types of projects I help people with:

Wind Energy

Kewaunee Wind Farm

Solar Farms

Efficient Cogeneration Power Plants

MGE Cogeneration Facility

LEED Certified Buildings

Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation Headquarters

Other types of projects I work on that are not pictured above include replacing coal with biomass as a fuel for power generation, helping energy startup companies  get off the ground (kind of like holding your hands around a newly struck match while starting a campfire on a windy day), and helping municipalities convert garbage and sewage into energy.

There are a host of legal issues wrapped up in the journey from start to finish on all of these types of projects.  They include legal issues relating to raising money, protecting new ideas, getting government approvals, contracting for labor and materials, connecting to the electrical grid, putting together a financial package of grants, tax credits and other incentives and positioning the project for optimal use of renewable energy certificates and carbon credits it may produce.

My plan is to share a few of my stories from my practice. I’ll try to weigh in on some of the issues that people face when trying to change the energy status quo.  If you have any comments I’d love  to hear from you.  I’ll do my best to answer questions, time permitting.