Pierce Atwood’s energy infrastructure attorneys work with energy companies, energy project developers, contractors, vendors, lenders, equity investors, and purchasers and sellers to successfully develop new energy infrastructure projects, including electric generation and transmission facilities and natural gas and oil pipelines, or transfer ownership of existing or planned facilities. Our experience includes counseling clients on the development, purchase, and sale of traditional electric generation facilities such as gas-fired or dual-fuel combined-cycle power plants, decommissioning of older fossil fuel and nuclear power plants, electric transmission infrastructure, natural gas, crude oil and petroleum products pipelines, liquefied natural gas (LNG), compressed natural gas transported by truck, and the latest renewable generation technologies including onshore and offshore wind, solar, energy storage, biomass, bio-gas, and hydroelectric projects, as well as state and federal regulation of such projects.
Pierce Atwood energy infrastructure lawyers have substantial and diverse expertise in all aspects of power generation development, including land assembly, environmental permitting and siting, state and federal energy regulation, fuel procurement, gas and power interconnection and purchase power agreements, asset management agreements, turnkey arrangements, as well as corporate, financing, construction, real estate, land use, property tax, and construction and surety litigation matters. Our experience includes all types of generation technology, including thermal generation facilities, fueled by natural gas, oil, bio-mass and bio-gas, and renewable generation technologies, including onshore and offshore wind, utility-scale and rooftop solar, tidal and hydro generation facilities. Our lawyers also have significant experience in all aspects of the development of energy storage facilities on behalf of independent developers and in coordination with transmission and distribution utilities for voltage regulation, peak shaving and grid reliability.
Our energy infrastructure lawyers have regularly represented a major developer of electric transmission projects, both AC and DC, within ISO-New England and NYISO, on all aspects of development, including regulatory authorization, environmental permitting and siting, real estate, land use, and eminent domain issues and construction contracting and dispute resolution. With the advent of FERC Order 1000, our attorneys have also taken the lead in preparing detailed proposals to competitive solicitations for new transmission facilities designed to address public policy needs including connecting renewable resources to the transmission grid and mitigating transmission congestion.
Our natural gas and oil attorneys have a wide range of experience in obtaining Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval of new interstate natural gas pipeline and storage projects, providing critical advice to developers of natural gas pipelines in qualifying for statutory and regulatory exemptions from FERC’s jurisdiction under the Natural Gas Act, including Hinshaw pipelines, intrastate pipelines, gathering and processing facilities, and single use plant lines. We counsel oil and petroleum products pipeline developers on Interstate Commerce Act and FERC regulatory requirements for new common carrier pipelines as well as qualification for waivers of tariff and reporting requirements, open season materials, FERC pre-approval or volume commitments and prorationing preferences.
Our power project attorneys also have extensive transactional experience, conducting due diligence of all the areas noted above to identify and characterize risk, structuring and renegotiating deal terms and purchase and sale contractual provisions, setting up and managing data rooms, and preparing disclosure schedules.
In addition, Pierce Atwood has sophisticated construction and admiralty practices, allowing us to seamlessly address offshore or water-based projects and related construction requirements. Clients benefit from knowing that within a single law firm, they have access to a team of accomplished energy infrastructure attorneys with the background and expertise to address the many aspects and issues involved in acquiring, developing, and operating power generation and transmission projects.
Areas of Expertise
Admiralty & Maritime Issues in Offshore Power Projects
Pierce Atwood’s Admiralty & Maritime lawyers help clients navigate the complex patchwork of federal, state and local laws governing activities along the shore and at sea. We have the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience necessary to assist with matters ranging from litigating traditional admiralty claims, to securing regulatory permits for developing offshore wind farms.
We have expertise in the types of issues that would arise in the planning, construction, operation or maintenance of an offshore power project, including:
- Offshore permitting issues
- Potential application of the U.S. Jones Act and other statutes
- Negotiation and drafting of maritime contracts, including charters and service contracts
- Environmental issues, including oil spills
- Investigation of marine casualties
- Defense of personal injury and death cases
- Litigation of traditional admiralty claims such as collision and allision
Contracting & Construction in Energy Projects
Pierce Atwood’s Construction lawyers help clients achieve successful outcomes in the construction of power generation projects and transmission infrastructure. Our attorneys represent developers through all phases of their projects – from pre-construction planning, financing, and the development of an appropriate project delivery system through final payment and operation. Our attorneys assist our clients to implement and administer all types of construction contracts, including engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts, and work closely with them to anticipate and prevent disputes and claims that can threaten a project’s success and the client’s relationships with other project stakeholders. Please visit our Construction page for more information.
Contracting & Construction in Energy Projects Experience
Energy & Regulatory
Power projects typically involve important federal and state regulatory policy issues, contracts with regional electric or natural gas utilities, and dealing with the Independent System Operator (ISO). Pierce Atwood has a long and distinguished history of representing clients before state and federal energy regulators and helping to shape relevant energy policies. Our energy attorneys have successfully negotiated fuel supply, transportation, and interconnection agreements for natural gas, biomass, LNG, and other fuels; interconnection agreements with electric transmission utilities; and power contracts for the output of generation plants. We have obtained certificates under the Natural Gas Act for gas pipeline and storage facilities and guided developers of crude oil pipelines through the open season, declaratory order, and tariff processes at FERC, and we specialize in advising developers on jurisdictional issues and structuring pipelines that are not subject to FERC’s jurisdiction or are subject only to limited jurisdiction. Key services include:
Our lawyers work with a range of energy project developers (thermal, wind, solar, and others) in negotiating contracts with electric distribution companies, load serving entities or other purchasers of wholesale or retail electricity.
Fuel Supply & Transportation Agreements
For power plants, biomass and biogas producers, LNG, and similar energy projects, we work with energy project developers in drafting and negotiating interconnection and transportation agreements with natural gas pipelines, fuel supply purchase and sale agreements, including one-off agreements, NAESB and ISDA Master Agreements, and asset management arrangements.
Wholesale Market Rules
Pierce Atwood energy attorneys have extensive experience working in and with FERC and ISOs, on market-based authorizations for wholesale sales of electric energy, capacity, and ancillary services, arrangements and agreements for new power generators to participate in the organized markets, as well as for the sale and acquisition of facilities. Our attorneys were at the forefront of the development of FERC’s rules and policies regarding (i) natural gas pipeline capacity release and open access transportation, as well as more recent regulations granting exemptions for shippers utilizing asset management arrangements, and in obtaining individual waivers from FERC for specific transportation transactions, and (ii) the participation of energy storage facilities in the organized ISO energy, ancillary services and capacity markets.
Pierce Atwood represents energy clients in rulemaking proceedings before local, state, and federal agencies regarding all policy issues which would affect the development of electric power projects, electric transmission projects, and natural gas and oil pipelines and shippers.
Energy & Regulatory Experience
Energy Facility Siting, Permitting & Acquisition
New and existing power projects are subject to significant regulation regarding facility siting, environmental, and land use requirements.
Siting Boards/Public Utility Commission Review
New generation and transmission projects are subject to state siting board or public utilities commission review, and Pierce Atwood lawyers have represented clients before permit-granting authorities in states and municipalities throughout the country. We have secured favorable approvals for a wide range of generation and transmission projects. Pierce Atwood successfully employs efficient, cost-effective strategies to secure permits on a timely and often expedited schedule. These proceedings have occasionally involved necessary condemnations or exemptions from zoning or other state and local permits.
Environmental Permits & Land Use
Our attorneys have more than 40 years of experience in permitting power projects under state and federal air, water, natural resource, wetland, land use, and hazardous waste statutes. Visit our Environmental Practice Group page to learn more about our expertise in the land use and permitting process.
Pierce Atwood's interdisciplinary Land Use Practice Group has been advising regional and national developers, utilities, and property owners on complex issues related to their real estate development projects. We provide guidance at every stage in the process from site assembly/acquisition and initial planning through permitting, construction, and operation. Our attorneys work with clients to obtain the full range of governmental approvals for a project, including federal and state-level clean air, clean water, wetlands, tidelands, environmental notification, and site contamination requirements, as well as local zoning, subdivision, and site plan approvals.
Our lawyers also work with private property owners and public entities on a wide range of eminent domain matters, including negotiating air, water, and land rights, as well as representation in related litigation.
Energy Facility Siting, Permitting & Acquisition Experience
Pierce Atwood energy lawyers are well-positioned to help energy storage clients reach their business development goals. We have extensive experience working with energy storage companies, inside knowledge of FERC and public service commissions, and strong connections with the management and staff of the nation’s grids. We know the challenges facing the energy storage marketplace, how various technologies can help to alleviate those challenges, and have extensive experience working with ISOs/RTOs and utilities to mitigate reliability and any other potential infrastructure problems.
Our energy attorneys work with companies that seek to incorporate alternative technologies onto the grid or distribution systems, including synchronous condensers, compressed air, batteries, flywheels, and tidal wave, among other technologies. These energy storage companies seek our services to gain an understanding of the regulatory environment, to help use existing rules and regulations to establish a market for their technology, and to develop successful, innovative legal and strategic initiatives to ensure that their technologies are chosen to include on the grid.
Our law firm has successfully negotiated with utilities and grids to initiate pilot programs to test new energy storage technologies that are incorporated onto the grid or a distribution system. We have also worked with these entities to collect the data needed to demonstrate success - both for the development of future projects and to encourage investors to help finance those projects.
Additionally, we have been successful working with ISOs/RTOs and FERC to help develop innovative tariffs to allow new energy storage technologies to operate on the grid and to be paid for the benefits they provide. Our energy storage lawyers have led efforts on behalf of our clients that have resulted in FERC Orders Nos. 755 (pay for performance for frequency regulation), 784 (Third-Party Provision of Ancillary Services; Accounting and Financial Reporting for New Electric Storage Technologies ) and 792 (interconnection of small generation interconnection agreements).
Our attorneys have participated in multiple project development financings (non-recourse financings) involving equity investors, mezzanine investors, commercial lender consortia, and guarantee parties (including OPIC, MIGA, JBIC and other international financial institutions). We have experience negotiating the full array of agreements that are essential to energy project development success:
- Real estate and real property option agreements
- Renewable energy credit purchase and sale agreements
- Usage agreements
- Organized market participation agreements
- Equity distribution/waterfall agreements
- Fuel supply and fuel transport agreements
- Equipment agreements
- Hedging and swap agreements
- Lenders agreements including
- Loan documentation
- Bank security documents
- Lender recognition
- Step-in right
Our law firm offers a depth of experience advising clients on legal matters related to project structuring and development, financing, government regulation, construction and other contract issues.
Tax Credit Finance
In today’s tight credit market, tax credits are often an important piece of financing a project. Pierce Atwood’s attorneys have experience with tax credit financing and syndication in a variety of areas, including renewable energy tax credits and production tax credits.
The Department of Energy issues loan guarantees for a range of energy projects to foster and support clean energy, renewable energy, and other projects that help meet the country’s goals of lowering carbon emissions and avoiding and reducing greenhouse gases. Pierce Atwood has successfully requested bonds and grants for both start-ups and established clients.
Project Financing Experience
Renewable Energy Projects
We are at the cutting edge of the growing and increasingly complex industry of renewable energy technologies. Our energy attorneys help structure favorable net metering agreements and help clients maximize all available state and federal renewable or solar energy tax credits. Our interdisciplinary Renewable Energy Team brings together expertise in all aspects of renewable energy project development to assist developers, power producers, and investors throughout U.S. and abroad. Whether the renewable source is wind, solar, hydro, storage, tidal, biomass, or biogas, our energy lawyers have experience in the core areas that make or break a renewable energy project. Please visit our Energy, Utilities, and Renewables page to learn more.
Renewable Energy Projects Experience
State & Local Tax Services for Energy Projects
Our State and Local Tax (SALT) Group provides litigation, planning, transactional, regulatory and legislative services to power project developers and owners of generation facilities on all state and local tax issues and economic development incentives. Our work has included advising clients on the state and local tax aspects of the acquisition of power plants, as well as on the state and local tax and economic development aspects of wind power projects.
Our law firm has significant experience with issues that involve the valuation of generation facilities, starting at the local level, through state boards and trial courts and all the way up to state supreme courts. Pierce Atwood attorneys can also help obtain tax abatements for generation facilities. Our property tax clients include power plant owners, gas and electric utilities, interstate pipelines, federal superfund sites, real estate developments, telecommunications assets, and others.
Economic Development Incentives
We advise our clients on taking maximum advantage of all available economic development incentives, including tax credits, tax increment financing, and many other programs.