Joseph E. Donovan

Joseph Donovan, a well-respected energy regulatory and transactional attorney, advises renewable, natural gas, and other power generation developers, as well as electric transmission owners, interstate oil and natural gas pipeline owners and shippers, local gas utilities, landfill renewable gas and LNG project developers, and project financing entities.

Joe also helps emerging businesses develop go-to-market strategies and capitalization efforts for new technologies in a wide range of industry sectors, including clean hydrogen energy, solar, energy storage, banking, distributed ledger, water, waste management, plastic recycling, internet, and data connectivity, aerospace design, and cellular app processing.

In 2021, Joe helped create the Transformer Manufacturing Association of America (TMAA), a new trade association supporting the domestic transformer manufacturing sector. In September 2022, Joe was named TMAA's executive director, leading its administrative function as well as its involvement in federal activities, including supporting the organization before the U.S. Departments of Energy and Commerce.

Prior to joining Pierce Atwood, Joe was a member in the Washington, D.C. office of an international law firm. While there, Joe represented clients involved in both utility- and distributed-scale renewable energy generation projects, nuclear generation facilities, and LNG storage and trucking facilities.

Professional Activities
  • Executive Director, Transformer Manufacturing Association of America
  • Member, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee, providing advice to Secretary of Commerce on federal policies impacting this sector
  • Board of Directors, International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (2016-present)
  • Member, Energy Bar Association
  • Co-chair, Energy Markets and Finance Committee of the American Bar Association Section on Environment, Energy and Resources (2018-2019)
  • "Falling Off the Edge (of the Grid)," Pratt's Energy Law Report (March 2018)
  • "The Mobiles are FAST - Including Mobile Substations in Strategic Transformer Reserve Program," Public Utilities Fortnightly Magazine (August 2016)
  • "The Further Repudiation of Environmentalists Demands for Regional Environmental Assessments of Unrelated Natural Gas Infrastructure Projects," Pratt's Energy Law Report (February 2016)


  • Moderator and panelist, “Current Issues in Energy Infrastructure and Investment: How the Supply Chain Affects New Growth, Reliability, and Sustainability,”  Energy Bar Association Annual Conference (May 2023)
  • Webinar presenter, “FERC Interconnection and Transmission Rules Under Review” (August 2022)
  • Panelist, “Not Just a Plug and Play; An Overview of FERC Interconnection NOPR,” Electric Consumers Resource Council (ELCON) (July 2022)
  • Presenter,  “Equity Opportunities in Africa for Integrated Infrastructure Development,” Liberty University US Equity for Africa Summit (August 2020)
  • Panelist, “Surviving the Start-Up Valley of Death,” Maryland Energy Innovator Accelerator Membership Panel (February 2021)
  • Presenter, “Cutting Across the Sectors; Holistic and Integrated Infrastructure Development for Africa,” USAfrica Business Expo (September 2019)
  • “The View from the Swamp – Government Influence and Regulations of the Grid in a Trump Administration,” Weidmann Electrical Technology Annual Technical Conference (September 2017)

Practice Areas

Representative Experience
  • Lead U.S. transactional counsel for large international IPP’s acquisition of 1 GW wind development in Mexico with export of power into the United States
  • Lead transactional counsel to a large municipally-owned gas utility in a complicated public-private partnership to optimize LNG storage and gasification facilities
  • Represent landowner in the ongoing development of a 400-MW solar generation facility in New Mexico, including negotiation of underlying JV membership interest in the development company and sophisticated joint bidding and revenue sharing agreement
  • Represent municipally-owned international airport in designing and implementing a microgrid powered by natural gas generating units and solar facility, fully islanding the airport making it 100% resilient to utility outages
  • Serve as outside counsel for developer with plans to build, own, and operate an approximately 35-MW solar facility in Massachusetts
  • Served as U.S. general counsel to a South American renewable generation developer entering the U.S. market, providing guidance on market analysis, interconnection, site selection, offtake agreements, finance structures, and network introductions/vetting for all aspects of project development
  • Led a team of attorneys in support of a large international IPP developing a large scale wind generation project in California, handling joint development, BLM easements, exclusive development, land concessions, and financing
  • Represent several renewable developers in projects to acquire existing generation facilities in Puerto Rico
  • Lead transaction counsel for an acquirer of solar projects in Puerto Rico, including evaluation of site control, EPC, financing, and local law
  • Lead transaction counsel for an independent power producer in designing and implementing the first power generation project in Afghanistan since before the Soviet occupation, involving introduction of advanced financing and procurement models and sophisticated power purchase agreements to the country 
  • Outside counsel for renewable developer with plans to build, own and operate ~100 MW solar facility in ISO-NE territory
Representative Experience
  • Advise natural gas utility client on Contribution in Aid of Construction agreement to upgrade facilities necessary to serve substantial new customer in service territory
  • Successfully obtained state and federal regulatory approval for minority owner of three nuclear generating facilities for the sale of its interests to majority owner
  • Counsel large industrial clients in Puerto Rico on potential distributed generation development to mitigate risk of utility outages, including a microgrid with islanding capability for entire campus and nearby government buildings
  • Represented a microgrid solar distributed energy project developer in negotiating an offtake arrangement with a large Mid-Atlantic-based casino in which the casino would purchase all the generated electricity from the facility to serve its operations and those of its retail restaurant and shopping tenants
  • Represent a consortium of five colleges in drafting and negotiating a series of virtual solar power purchase agreements using a sophisticated contracts-for-differences model tied to ISO-NE liquid hub daily rates
  • Negotiate power, LNG and natural gas purchase agreements on behalf of multiple corporate and industrial off takers
  • Negotiate on behalf of state power agency a series of renewable energy credit purchases, standard and virtual PPAs and NOx/Sox Allowance purchases