On March 29, 2018, AP&S Attorneys Alan M. Shoer, Elizabeth M. Noonan, and Nicole M. Verdi were recognized for their role as legal counsel to their clients Hecate Energy LLC and CME Energy LLC, the development partners constructing the groundbreaking solar energy project, together with the City of East Providence, on the former Forbes Street Landfill, in East Providence, Rhode Island.
AP&S is the lead project development counsel for this award winning project, and has advised its client in support of several key aspects of the project, including permitting, environmental, land use, financing and other commercial development activities. The project began in 2010, and has already received a previous award for the first phase of the project, as one of the recipients of the 2015 Rhode Island Clean Energy Future Awards, awarded by the R.I. Governor’s Office of Energy Resources, in partnership with the Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council and National Grid.
On March 29, 2018, Grow Smart RI awarded the Forbes Street Solar project with one of the 7th Annual Rhode Island Smart Growth Awards. This award honors those individuals and entities shaping a stronger Rhode Island through innovative community revitalization and preservation initiatives and partnerships. The award was presented to the project development team, including AP&S, before a gathering of several hundred business, civic and elected leaders, development and real estate professionals, architects, builders, conservationists, policy advocates and community stakeholders from across Rhode Island.
According to the program notes, the Forbes Street solar farm is an excellent example of re-using developed and disturbed sites for renewable energy, while avoiding the loss of RI’s natural resources. In 2010, the East Providence City Council adopted a comprehensive plan update that identified the 70 acre former Forbes Street landfill as a good location for renewable energy production. Later that same year, the city entered into a contract with CME – Hecate Solar LLC (negotiated by AP&S attorneys), to initiate the process of re-purposing an abandoned landfill into a 9 megawatt solar farm. By the end of 2013, and after all successful permitting was secured by AP&S attorneys, over 13,000 solar panels have been installed to generate 3.7 MW of electricity. Phase 2 has been initiated, and is undergoing further permitting, in order to add an additional 5 MW of capacity, making it the largest solar farm of its type in the state.
The 2018 Smart Growth Award recognized that these renewable energy facilities require larger footprints, potentially losing our farms and forests to these facilities. The reuse of a contaminated landfill property, otherwise known as a “brownsfield” property, has special legal challenges that AP&S was able to assist with, to ensure the successful development of the site. The site is situated such that it is also buffered from neighboring properties, and the landfill reclamation has maintained an urban wildlife habitat, aspects along with supporting carbon reduction goals that Grow Smart particularly recognized in its award of this project as one of its 2018 Smart Growth award recipients.