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DeCotiis' public/private renewable energy program started with a landfill gas to energy ("LFGE") facility constructed at the Burlington County Resource Recovery Complex in New Jersey. The LFGE project involved the county financing, designing and building the LFGE facility. The county then leased the energy generating units at the LFGE facility to a private operator. The lease structure transferred certain tax benefits, including federal renewable energy credits, depreciation and interest expense to the operator, thereby reducing the after-tax cost of the facility. In return, the county retained a larger share of the economic benefits from the LFGE facility, including a share of the electricity generated.

The LFGE transaction has become a model for public entities to save money and expand renewable energy capabilities, and is being considered throughout New Jersey. Jeff Kramer, a Partner in DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Giblin's Green Practice Group, developed the LFGE model and Ryan Scerbo, also a partner in the Green Practice Group, assisted in the adaptation of the program to allow public entities to pool their resources and leverage tax benefits in order to affordably finance solar and other renewable energy projects on government owned buildings.

In 2009, 19 buildings (schools, local and county government buildings, etc.) in Morris County participated in this program that added no debt burden to local governments. A private solar developer is in the process of designing, installing and operating a solar system on the roofs of these buildings.

DeCotiis' model has gained significant national media attention and is quickly spreading to other counties in New Jersey. At present, the Freeholder Boards in both Somerset and Union Counties have approved similar programs. As a result, local governments, school boards, and various authorities are lining up to take advantage of the benefits offered by the program.

Jeffrey Kramer, Mathew Karrenberg and Ryan Scerbo, Partners in DeCotiis' Green Practice Group, are looking at ways to enhance the DeCotiis program model to make it adaptable to energy efficiency measures.

To learn more about the Renewable Energy Programs, please contact

Ryan Scerbo at rscerbo@decotiislaw.com

Jeffrey Kramer at jkramer@decotiislaw.com, or

Matthew Karrenberg at mkarrenberg@decotiislaw.com.

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