Swift Current Energy
Verrill represents the 100-megawatt Three Rivers Solar Project in Hancock County, Maine. Verrill assists the project with real estate and environmental permitting work, including negotiation of a protocol to allow the project to proceed while minimizing potential impacts to upland sandpipers, a state-listed threatened species. The project obtained its combined Site Law and Natural Resources Protection Act permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in July 2020. Three Rivers Solar will become the largest solar project in the state, twice the size of the next largest facility (the 50 MW Sanford Airport Solar project). The project will consist of approximately 300,000 to 400,000 solar panels on 465 acres in the unorganized area of the state.
Sales of Kennebec Hydro Project
Verrill represented Kennebec Water District in connection with the sale to Essex Hydro of its hydro-electric facility on the Kennebec River. Bill Harwood and Brian Marshall represented Kennebec Water District in seeking FERC approval of the transfer of the project and securing an order of the Maine PUC declining to assert jurisdiction over the sale. Mark Googins negotiated the Purchase & Sale Agreement and Tony Calcagni negotiated the transfer of real estate and related easements.
Solar Energy: Acquisition of Grid-Scale Project in Brunswick, Maine
Verrill represented Diversified Communications in the acquisition of a newly built $2.5 million solar array in Brunswick, Maine. The array, which was developed by ReVision Energy and went online in January 2018, will provide power to more than 100 businesses at Brunswick Landing. Verrill attorneys advised Diversified Communications on a range of issues in the transaction, including federal debt financing, solar investment tax credits, solar renewable energy credits, electric power sales, EPC contracting, and regulatory, real estate and corporate matters. We worked collaboratively with Diversified Communications and the developer of the project to get the deal done on a short timeline while minimizing investment risk.
Emera's Acquisition of Swan's Island Electric Cooperative
Emera's 2017 acquisition of Swan's Island Electric Cooperative required a multi-disciplined team of Verrill energy lawyers to successfully close the transaction. Because the seller was a member based cooperative, the transaction was structured as an asset purchase, rather than a stock purchase. This required a determination that the Cooperative had marketable title to hundreds of easements, many of which had been acquired by the Cooperative decades earlier. Upon investigation, the parties identified that there were over 200 easements to be acquired or confirmed for Cooperative power lines crossing private property. Tony Calcagni worked with the Cooperative management team for approximately one year to remedy the problems and procure valid deeds to the power line easements.
The acquisition also raised a novel question of utility ratemaking. Because of the high cost of serving the islands, the Public Utilities Commission raised the issue as to whether island ratepayers should pay more than Emera's mainland rates for electricity. In a two to one decision, the Maine PUC rejected the acquisition, finding that charging mainland rates to island customers would result in an unreasonable subsidy of island customers. In response, Bill Harwood and Brian Marshall, renegotiated the terms of the acquisition by including a five-year monthly surcharge on island ratepayers, and were thereby able to convince the Public Utilities Commission to approve the acquisition.