Pierce Atwood's energy attorneys understand the importance of energy to successful businesses and strive to help our clients, from utilities to end use customers, reach their energy goals. Whether their goal is navigating and complying with federal and state regulations, managing the cost of energy supplies, hedging energy market risks, developing and permitting clean energy resources, or expanding transmission and pipeline infrastructure to meet regional reliability needs, our energy lawyers are there every step of the way.

Our energy attorneys represent private and public entities in the energy sector from Maine to California and from Bulgaria to Saudi Arabia. In the U.S., our clients include:

  • Regulated electric utilities
  • Gas utilities
  • Pipelines
  • State governments and regulators
  • Producers, buyers and sellers of electricity and natural gas
  • Hydropower facilities
  • Independent power developers
  • Energy marketers
  • Energy trading companies
  • Energy storage companies 

We work with clients in virtually all aspects of utility regulation, energy project development, energy procurement, mergers and acquisitions, risk management, and smart grid implementation.

Areas of Expertise

Central Maine Power Company

Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company

NextEra

PG&E Corporation

California Department of Water Resources/Energy Resources Scheduling Division

NTE Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Co.

Harvest Power, Inc.

Pierce Atwood energy lawyers have comprehensive expertise in all aspects of electricity regulation at both the state and federal levels.  We have represented transmission and distribution utilities, generators, large electricity consumers, and state agencies in state proceedings and before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on matters such as rates (traditional cost of service and alternative performance-based), merger approvals, stranded costs, regulatory compliance, transmission siting, environmental and safety requirements, RTO participation, rulemakings, and complaint proceedings.

Representative Experience

The $1.5 billion Maine Power Reliability Program was the largest transmission project in Maine's history, with approximately 350 miles of new high voltage transmission line and five new substations. Pierce Atwood was instrumental in helping CMP assess the need for the project through the ISO-New England regional transmission planning process, overseeing the studies to develop the transmission solution for that need, preparing the non-transmission alternative assessment for the project, and obtaining all federal, state, and municipal environmental and land use permits for the project.

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$1.5 Billion CMP Maine Power Reliability Program

The U.S. Agency for International Development has been working with representatives of the Libyan provisional government to restructure its electricity market to attract needed private investment. Although any recommended changes likely will not be implemented until the civil war ends, Pierce Atwood attorney Julia Weller has been asked to draft a new Electricity Market Law for Libya to introduce international best practices, establish a phased introduction of competition and create a new independent regulator. 

Drafting New Electricity Market Law for Libya

Working with our colleagues Mercados-AF we submitted two new laws to the Jamaican government. The consortium, Mercados-AF, was recently awarded two World Bank contracts to develop and implement new electricity and gas sector policies. We partnered with them to write two new energy acts. We wrote a framework for a new Electricity Act that will foster competition for new power plants on the island. We also developed the framework for a new Natural Gas Act that will govern the import, storage, sale, transmission, and distribution of natural gas – whether in the form of LNG, compressed natural gas, or locally discovered gas. The Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining of Jamaica is very pleased with the results of both projects.

Drafting New Energy Laws for Jamaica

We advised the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority of Saudi Arabia (ECRA) on a variety of legal, regulatory and related issues arising from the decision of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) to introduce 54 GW of renewable energy and 18 GW of atomic energy into Saudi Arabia by 2032, in order to reduce the use of oil for power generation, including cogenerated desalination and water storage projects. We led an international team of consultants (A.S. Azzouni Consultants, Inc.; The Brattle Group; ICF International, NTE Solutions, LLC) on this project, with respect to a variety of legal, regulatory, and market issues including an international Comparison of Markets Study, assessment of the K.A.CARE targets, interconnection, transfer pricing and related grid and market operational issues; legal review and analysis of proposed amendments to the Electricity Law; nuclear, and health and safety licensing issues; and institutional organization, structure, and authority of the regulator.

ECRA of Saudi Arabia Renewable Energy Projects

On behalf of our client Freedom Energy, we convinced FERC and ISO-New England to reinterpret an exemption under Dodd-Frank, making it possible for Freedom Energy to continue operating in the retail energy market. ISO-New England (ISO-NE) had proposed to require an entity to own physical assets in order to qualify for an exemption under Dodd-Frank as “actively participating in the generation, transmission or distribution of electric energy.” Freedom Energy is a small retail energy supplier that purchases electricity in the ISO-NE market and sells it to commercial and industrial end-users. Freedom Energy does not, however, own any physical assets. Under ISO-NE’s proposed rules, Freedom Energy would have been required to demonstrate that it held $5 million in assets in order to continue transacting in the ISO-NE markets. FERC agreed with Freedom Energy’s argument that ISO-NE’s interpretation of the “actively participating” exemption is discriminatory against retail electric suppliers and would essentially eliminate that sector since very few retail power suppliers have assets in excess of $5 million. FERC required ISO-NE to demonstrate why its proposal is not discriminatory. After FERC acted, counsel for ISO-NE contacted us to state that the ISO will agree with Freedom’s interpretation and dispense with the physical asset ownership requirement. This is a resounding victory for a small client which would have otherwise been forced out of business by ISO-NE’s requirements.

Freedom Energy FERC and ISO-NE Rule Exemption

We represent the national electric transmission company of Kyrgyzstan in negotiating all project documents related to the development of the Central Asia-South Asia (CASA-1000) Transmission Project, a 1300 MW transmission line to enable the sale of excess summer hydropower from the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The $1.3 billion project, to be financed by the World Bank and other multilateral institutions, involves construction of three DC/AC converters, over 750 km of HVDC lines and 477 km of HVAC lines. The project achieved financial close in April 2015 and construction is scheduled to start in 2016.

Government of Kyrgyzstan High-Voltage Transmission Line

We won a precedent setting appeal before the Texas Public Utility Commission involving a decision of the Electric Reliability Counsel of Texas (ERCOT) on behalf of our clients West Oaks Energy and Longhorn Energy. This PUCT decision rejected a retroactive market resettlement that had been ordered by ERCOT, resulting in a $10 million price reversal for our clients and others. In this case, ERCOT adjusted settled market prices, on a retroactive basis, for the December 1, 2010 through February 1, 2011 period , claiming there had been a “significant software or data error” that justified the price change. In the appeal to the PUCT we demonstrated that in fact there was no software or data error, simply an unhappiness on ERCOT’s part with how its own market design was functioning. The PUCT, by unanimous vote, agreed with us and also agreed that while prospective rule changes are needed from time to time it is extremely harmful to market participants, and to market confidence, to try and make these changes on a retroactive basis. This decision has also led to a potential reversal of a second market resettlement that was ordered by ERCOT. In that second case, and on behalf of firm client XO Energy TX, we had challenged an almost identical retroactive market resettlement as unlawful and contrary to system protocols. This second resettlement involved over $2.7 million. At ERCOT’s request this matter is now being held in abeyance until the next ERCOT Board meeting when it will be reconsidered. We are delighted with these outcomes and believe the PUCT decision is likely to put an end to unwarranted, after the fact price changes in the ERCOT market. We believe it also establishes very important precedent for all ISO electricity markets.

Precedent Setting Appeal Before Texas Public Utility Commission

Retained to advise Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) in connection with general regulatory issues. 

Regulatory Advice to Vermont Electric Power Company

Acadia Bay LLC

Brookfield Renewable Power

Central Maine Power Company

DONG Energy

Milliken Company

NTE Energy

Ocean Renewable Power Company

Primary Power International

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 power and infrastructure projects, or transfer ownership of existing or planned facilities. Our experience includes counseling clients on the development and purchase and sale of traditional electric generation facilities such as gas-fired or dual-fuel combined-cycle facilities, transmission infrastructure, natural gas pipelines, and the latest renewable generation technologies including onshore and offshore wind, solar, biomass, bio-gas, and hydroelectric projects, as well as energy storage.

Please visit our Energy Infrastructure Project Development & Finance page for more information about our experience.

Representative Experience

The $1.5 billion Maine Power Reliability Program was the largest transmission project in Maine's history, with approximately 350 miles of new high voltage transmission line and five new substations. Pierce Atwood was instrumental in helping CMP assess the need for the project through the ISO-New England regional transmission planning process, overseeing the studies to develop the transmission solution for that need, preparing the non-transmission alternative assessment for the project, and obtaining all federal, state, and municipal environmental and land use permits for the project.

More
$1.5 Billion CMP Maine Power Reliability Program

We advised a large independent oil and gas exploration and production company that will be an anchor shipper on a new regulated crude oil gathering pipeline in the Delaware Basin of Texas and New Mexico that will move crude oil from the basin to larger trunk pipelines and on to Cushing, Oklahoma and other points.  We assisted in the negotiation of a letter of intent, a transportation service agreement including benefits for anchor shippers that will require approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC”) in a petition for declaratory order, tariff provisions, storage agreements, and other contracts.  We also advised the client on timing and options for dealing with FERC’s current lack of a quorum, which limits the agency’s ability to issue the requisite declaratory order.  In addition, we reviewed and assisted in the negotiation of downstream transportation agreements.

Anchor Shipper for New Regulated Crude Oil Gathering Pipeline

Firm client Calpine Corporation has acquired Granite Ridge Energy Center, a natural gas-fired, combined cycle plant in Londonderry, NH from Granite Ridge Holdings for $500 million. The plant provides about 2,000 MW of clean, flexible, and reliable energy to the region.

Calpine Acquisition of Granite Ridge Energy Center

Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company

Central Maine Power Company

California Department of Water Resources/CERS

Bringing together its general expertise in complex litigation and appellate practice and its specific expertise in state and federal energy law and regulation, Pierce Atwood for many years has been a "go to" firm for litigating energy-related matters in federal and state courts and before regulatory agencies. In particular, because of its long and successful history representing public utilities and other energy-related entities, Pierce Atwood attorneys in recent years have been lead litigation counsel in a series of multi-million dollar energy related lawsuits, involving:

  • Power purchase agreement disputes and rate challenges
  • Ownership and contract disputes
  • Transmission siting
  • Bankruptcy contract rejections and filed-rate doctrine disputes
  • Nuclear decommissioning and spent fuel storage issues
  • State and local tax matters

This experience has culminated in the firm successfully representing the State of California in three multi-billion dollar proceedings before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Ninth Circuits, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as well as three nuclear power plants seeking recovery of over $200 million from the DOE in the Federal Court of Claims.

Representative Experience

We successfully defended Central Maine Power Company’s standards for planning local transmission systems before the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC). In a year-long investigation into the appropriate standards for Maine’s electric utilities to use in planning their local transmission systems, we defended the standards that CMP has historically followed. The PUC Staff rejected most of CMP’s planning standards as unreasonable, but the Commission largely rejected the Staff’s view and affirmed that CMP’s planning standards reflect good utility practice, are reasonable and will help ensure that CMP’s customers have a safe and reliable transmission system. CMP is pleased with this outcome as it vindicates the Company’s position and will hopefully bring certainty to the planning of future transmission projects in Maine.

CMP Clarification of Standards for Future Transmission Projects

The United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit vacated FERC's decision to withhold over-collections payments from our clients. Agreeing with seven firm clients, the court found that FERC's directive that PJM recoup over $37 million in previously ordered refunds associated with transmission line loss overpayments was arbitrary and capricious. We argued that, because financial market participants pay transmission line loss charges, and for the period at issue also paid for the transmission system through the payment of transmission charges, they were entitled to a fair share of the over-collections paid back to all other participants. The court agreed and found unreasonable FERC's decision to deny an allocation to financial participants while they were paying transmission charges and also challenged FERC's decision to first order such payments and then almost two years later change its mind and seek to claw back the refund amounts. The Court remanded to FERC for reconsideration and explanation. Black Oak Energy, LLC v. FERC, No. 08-1386 (Aug. 6, 2013). The remand also led PJM to agree to a stay of Delaware state court proceedings initiated by PJM to collect the amounts from the three of the marketers.

Court Orders FERC Over-collections Repaid

We represent energy companies in all types of enforcement proceedings before FERC—from investigations to trials. We also routinely provide audit and regulatory compliance training.

Enforcement Proceedings Before FERC

We won a precedent setting appeal before the Texas Public Utility Commission involving a decision of the Electric Reliability Counsel of Texas (ERCOT) on behalf of our clients West Oaks Energy and Longhorn Energy. This PUCT decision rejected a retroactive market resettlement that had been ordered by ERCOT, resulting in a $10 million price reversal for our clients and others. In this case, ERCOT adjusted settled market prices, on a retroactive basis, for the December 1, 2010 through February 1, 2011 period , claiming there had been a “significant software or data error” that justified the price change. In the appeal to the PUCT we demonstrated that in fact there was no software or data error, simply an unhappiness on ERCOT’s part with how its own market design was functioning. The PUCT, by unanimous vote, agreed with us and also agreed that while prospective rule changes are needed from time to time it is extremely harmful to market participants, and to market confidence, to try and make these changes on a retroactive basis. This decision has also led to a potential reversal of a second market resettlement that was ordered by ERCOT. In that second case, and on behalf of firm client XO Energy TX, we had challenged an almost identical retroactive market resettlement as unlawful and contrary to system protocols. This second resettlement involved over $2.7 million. At ERCOT’s request this matter is now being held in abeyance until the next ERCOT Board meeting when it will be reconsidered. We are delighted with these outcomes and believe the PUCT decision is likely to put an end to unwarranted, after the fact price changes in the ERCOT market. We believe it also establishes very important precedent for all ISO electricity markets.

Precedent Setting Appeal Before Texas Public Utility Commission

Pierce Atwood enjoys a national reputation advising clients on energy storage projects. We have extensive experience working with energy storage companies before FERC and public service commissions, and provide significant value to clients by offering a deep understanding of the regulatory process and how regulators are likely to rule on particular issues. Among our many energy storage clients, we act as outside counsel to the Energy Storage Association. Pierce Atwood’s energy attorneys, among other matters, led efforts on behalf of the energy storage industry that 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), 792 (interconnection of small generation interconnection agreements), and 841 (expansion of the storage industry into the energy, capacity and ancillary services markets). We actively work 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, including for voltage regulation, peak shaving, grid reliability and environmental value.

Our energy lawyers understand the challenges facing the energy storage marketplace, including those associated with integrating storage technologies into the grid and utility distribution systems, and how these technologies can be incorporated to help alleviate those challenges.  The firm has extensive experience working with ISOs/RTOs and utilities to ensure that new technologies satisfy reliability and other regulatory thresholds.

Advanced Technologies 

Pierce Atwood’s energy attorneys work closely 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 worked with utilities and grids to formulate and initiate pilot programs to test new energy storage technologies for incorporation into the grid or a distribution system. We work 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.

Representative Experience

We have been retained by an independent electricity transmission company to help them develop an energy storage business plan, evaluate battery vendors, prepare vendor contracts, and assist with applicable regulatory approvals and permits.

Assisting Electricity Transmission Company with Energy Storage Plan

We are assisting Via Science to provide reliability services for grid operators by collecting and analyzing data.

Data Collection & Analysis for Grid Reliability

On behalf of Beacon Power Corporation, one of our attorneys worked with ISOs/RTOs to develop tariffs for FERC’s approval that established a category of ancillary service providers for companies providing fast-responding Frequency Regulation. As a result of the implementation of these tariffs, flywheels and batteries were permitted to bid competitively for specific ancillary services.

Development of FERC Tariffs Establishing Category of Ancillary Service Providers

We represent the Energy Storage Association before FERC on matters including station power costs and wholesale distribution charges.

Energy Storage Association in FERC Matters

On behalf of Beacon Power Corporation/Beacon Power LLC, one of our attorneys worked with ISOs/RTOs to design tariffs for FERC’s approval that allow limited energy storage resources to be compensated for the mileage they perform on the grid. FERC Order No. 755 has been touted as revolutionary in the energy storage industry.

FERC Order No. 755 Allows Energy Storage Resources to be Compensated

We negotiated with a utility to ensure that our client’s compressed air technology could operate on the system.

Negotiations for Compressed Air Technology Company

We advocate for RES-Americas before FERC and state initiatives to help ensure the use of our client’s battery systems on the grid.

RES-Americas in FERC Advocacy

We advise governments, energy regulators, state-owned utilities, private investors, and multilateral lending institutions throughout the world on energy and energy-related matters, including drafting of power purchase agreements and transmission agreements; memoranda of understanding regarding infrastructure investments; cross-border trading of electricity; establishing sustainable legal and regulatory frameworks; power market design and organization; tariff and pricing methodology; competition; compliance with international best practices, including the European Union’s Third Energy Package, and privatization.

Representative Experience

With our partners from Central and Eastern Europe, our Energy attorneys are leading a legal review of sector policies addressing climate change and promoting the transition to low carbon economies.

Climate Change Policies in Central and Eastern Europe

We are working with Central Asia on creation of regional electricity and gas markets to encourage coordination of cross-border interconnection investments.

Cross-Border Interconnection Invesments in Central Asia

The U.S. Agency for International Development has been working with representatives of the Libyan provisional government to restructure its electricity market to attract needed private investment. Although any recommended changes likely will not be implemented until the civil war ends, Pierce Atwood attorney Julia Weller has been asked to draft a new Electricity Market Law for Libya to introduce international best practices, establish a phased introduction of competition and create a new independent regulator. 

Drafting New Electricity Market Law for Libya

Working with our colleagues Mercados-AF we submitted two new laws to the Jamaican government. The consortium, Mercados-AF, was recently awarded two World Bank contracts to develop and implement new electricity and gas sector policies. We partnered with them to write two new energy acts. We wrote a framework for a new Electricity Act that will foster competition for new power plants on the island. We also developed the framework for a new Natural Gas Act that will govern the import, storage, sale, transmission, and distribution of natural gas – whether in the form of LNG, compressed natural gas, or locally discovered gas. The Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining of Jamaica is very pleased with the results of both projects.

Drafting New Energy Laws for Jamaica

We advised the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority of Saudi Arabia (ECRA) on a variety of legal, regulatory and related issues arising from the decision of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) to introduce 54 GW of renewable energy and 18 GW of atomic energy into Saudi Arabia by 2032, in order to reduce the use of oil for power generation, including cogenerated desalination and water storage projects. We led an international team of consultants (A.S. Azzouni Consultants, Inc.; The Brattle Group; ICF International, NTE Solutions, LLC) on this project, with respect to a variety of legal, regulatory, and market issues including an international Comparison of Markets Study, assessment of the K.A.CARE targets, interconnection, transfer pricing and related grid and market operational issues; legal review and analysis of proposed amendments to the Electricity Law; nuclear, and health and safety licensing issues; and institutional organization, structure, and authority of the regulator.

ECRA of Saudi Arabia Renewable Energy Projects

On behalf of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, we headed a team of legal and technical experts in assessing the legal and regulatory framework for energy efficiency in the industrial sector of Kazakhstan, surveying the energy use of the biggest energy consumers, identifying international best practices benchmarks for energy consumption, and performing a benchmarking of the leading industrial companies in Kazakhstan.

Energy Efficiency in Kazakhstan's Industrial Sector

We represent the national electric transmission company of Kyrgyzstan in negotiating all project documents related to the development of the Central Asia-South Asia (CASA-1000) Transmission Project, a 1300 MW transmission line to enable the sale of excess summer hydropower from the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The $1.3 billion project, to be financed by the World Bank and other multilateral institutions, involves construction of three DC/AC converters, over 750 km of HVDC lines and 477 km of HVAC lines. The project achieved financial close in April 2015 and construction is scheduled to start in 2016.

Government of Kyrgyzstan High-Voltage Transmission Line

On behalf of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), we drafted a “Green Economy Law” for the Ministry of Economy and Budget Planning in Kazakhstan, which involved an assessment of Kazakhstan’s existing laws in a variety of sectors (including the Environmental Code, the Water Code, the Electricity Law, the Renewable Energy Law, the Tax Code and the Administrative Offences Code), as compared to international best practices for “green principles.” Pierce Atwood and its local lawyers in Astana and Almaty participated in meetings with stakeholders, and then proceeded to develop amendments to 22 laws and their related sub-acts. The final Green Economy Law will introduce green economy principles into Kazakhstan’s legislative framework, based on models taken from countries that are leaders in “green economy” best practices in environmental management, including water usage, waste disposal and management, air emissions, and energy efficiency.

Kazakhstan Transition to a Green Economy

For the Kingdom of Jordan, we served as lead counsel to the Ministry of Economy and the National Electric Company in the negotiation of all project documents in connection with a private investor funded and developed 375-400 MW combined cycle gas plant; significantly, due to the flexibility and cooperation of all parties, including the private investor, the government, and lenders, we were able to achieve financial close in November 2009 at the height of the global economic crisis. The plant began commercial operations in early 2012.

Kingdom of Jordan Negotiation of Project Documents

In Georgia, we advised the Ministry of Energy on a variety of issues related to promotion of hydropower investment for export of electricity to Turkey, including an assessment of the legal and regulatory framework for investment in the hydropower sector, drafting of an Information Memorandum for private investors, review of the Market Rules, drafting and negotiation of a Cross-Border Electricity Trade Agreement between Turkey and Georgia which was executed in January 2012, and development of a new market design.

Ministry of Energy of Georgia Hydropower Investment

On behalf of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), we are assisting with drafting a new Electricity Market Law for Azerbaijan, to enable Azerbaijan's transition towards compliance with European Union requirements.  NARUC is supporting the Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan on drafting the new law and creating a new market model for its electricity. The working committees set up by the Acting Minister of Energy include representatives from the Ministries of Energy and Economy, the two key utilities, other governmental agencies, the US Embassy and the USAID Mission.

New Electricity Market Law for Azerbaijan

Unitil

Enbridge, Inc.

Independent Oil & Gas Association of West Virginia

Macquarie Energy

Maine Natural Gas Corp.

Downeast LNG

Whiting Oil & Gas

If the watchword of the 1990s was natural gas "from Austin to Boston," the catchphrase for the next millennium must be "Canonsburg, Pennsylvania to the world." Pierce Atwood's natural gas energy practice helps natural gas trading companies, marketers, producers, pipelines, local distribution companies (LDCs), end-users and LNG developers take full advantage of the vast promise of the Marcellus shale. We provide comprehensive and practical advice to help our clients manage regulatory and public policy risk as well as develop effective strategies for success in the competitive aspects of the gas industry.

Federal Issues (FERC, DOE, and CFTC)

  • Rates and tariffs
  • Transportation and capacity release requirements
  • Enforcement investigations, self-reports, no-action letters, Hot-Line complaints
  • Compliance training and manuals
  • Certificates and abandonment
  • Reporting requirements
  • Hinshaw and intrastate pipelines
  • Gathering and processing
  • Import and export authorizations
  • Clearing and exchange-trading regulations and exemptions

 

State Issues

  • Rates and tariffs
  • Facilities siting, safety and environmental impact
  • Cast iron pipeline replacement
  • New distribution projects
  • Jurisdictional determinations
  • Fuel supply
  • Government relations

 

Transactional Matters

  • Purchase and sale agreements – NAESB and ISDA
  • Hedging plans and agreements
  • Transportation and storage agreements
  • Interconnection agreements
Representative Experience

Advising Encino Acquisition Partners (Encino Energy) on agreements for the sale and transportation of Encino's natural gas for compliance with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requirements. Encino acquired the Ohio Utica Shale assets of Chesapeake Energy.

Agreements for Natural Gas Sale & Transportation

We advised a large independent oil and gas exploration and production company that will be an anchor shipper on a new regulated crude oil gathering pipeline in the Delaware Basin of Texas and New Mexico that will move crude oil from the basin to larger trunk pipelines and on to Cushing, Oklahoma and other points.  We assisted in the negotiation of a letter of intent, a transportation service agreement including benefits for anchor shippers that will require approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC”) in a petition for declaratory order, tariff provisions, storage agreements, and other contracts.  We also advised the client on timing and options for dealing with FERC’s current lack of a quorum, which limits the agency’s ability to issue the requisite declaratory order.  In addition, we reviewed and assisted in the negotiation of downstream transportation agreements.

Anchor Shipper for New Regulated Crude Oil Gathering Pipeline

We represented an energy provider in a commercial agreement to sell compressed natural gas (CNG) to commercial customers and a related $6 million convertible preferred equity investment in the CNG supplier.

Compressed Natural Gas Sales in Maine

Working with our colleagues Mercados-AF we submitted two new laws to the Jamaican government. The consortium, Mercados-AF, was recently awarded two World Bank contracts to develop and implement new electricity and gas sector policies. We partnered with them to write two new energy acts. We wrote a framework for a new Electricity Act that will foster competition for new power plants on the island. We also developed the framework for a new Natural Gas Act that will govern the import, storage, sale, transmission, and distribution of natural gas – whether in the form of LNG, compressed natural gas, or locally discovered gas. The Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining of Jamaica is very pleased with the results of both projects.

Drafting New Energy Laws for Jamaica

We successfully obtained from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) two key waivers of its capacity release rules for a large independent oil and gas producer client.  FERC requires that shippers on natural gas pipelines that seek to transfer pipeline capacity in connection with a large transaction or exiting the natural gas supply business seek a waiver of the capacity release rules and policies to ensure that there are no inadvertent violations. 

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FERC Waivers of Capacity Release Rules

We represented the Independent Oil & Gas Association of West Virginia, Inc. in a successful resolution of a contentious multi-party settlement of Texas Eastern Transmission's revised natural gas quality specifications. This settlement secured the flexibility and standards needed for Marcellus Shale gas and traditional Appalachian supplies to meet pipeline specifications.

IOGA West Virginia Resolution of Multiparty Settlement

As development of the Marcellus shale natural gas formation accelerated in 2010, Texas Eastern Transmission, a major interstate pipeline, and its large utility customers began to develop new quality specifications for natural gas shipped on the pipeline. Although Appalachian natural gas has long included high concentrations of ethane, and that gas previously met pipeline quality specifications and posed no threat to pipelines or consumer equipment, the large utilities wanted the ethane removed from the gas stream – at the producer's cost. The principal market for ethane is the petrochemical manufacturing region in Texas and Louisiana and there is no existing pipeline or other reasonable means of shipping the ethane. Representing long-time gas producer association clients Independent Oil & Gas Association of West Virginia, Inc. and Independent Oil & Gas Association of Pennsylvania, Pierce Atwood led the efforts to forge a multiparty settlement of the quality specifications at FERC. Pierce Atwood's efforts avoided costly litigation and secured the producers and pipelines upstream of Texas Eastern significant flexibility and gas quality standards that ensure Marcellus shale gas and traditional Appalachian supplies will meet pipeline specifications and flow to critical northeastern market.

Multiparty Settlement Ensures Gas Flows to Northeastern Markets

We represented Xpress Natural Gas (XNG) in expanding access to compressed natural gas throughout the State of Maine and elsewhere in New England. Pierce Atwood assisted XNG in obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals and environmental permits for compressed natural gas production facilities in Baileyville and Eliot, Maine. These facilities receive natural gas from major pipelines, condition and compress it, and then dispense it into tank trailers made of composite materials. The trailers are then trucked to customer locations throughout Maine and elsehwhere, where the CNG is used primarily as boiler fuel. These were the first facilities of their kind in New England, and allow consumers who are not presently served by a gas utility to take advantage of this abundant, clean burning, economic and domestically produced energy resource. Our attorneys successfully led XNG through the process of obtaining approvals from the Public Utilities Commission. We drafted and obtained a town zoning ordinance amendment and other local approvals, and successfully navigated permit or exemption issues before the Department of Environmental Protection, the Maine Fuel Board, and the State Fire Marshal. We were also successful in determining that the facility was not subject to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission jurisdiction.

Permitting for CNG Facilities

Aroostook Wind Energy Project

Boralex Industries, Inc.

DONG Energy

Fox Islands Wind, LLC

Ocean Renewable Power Company

Primary Power International

Southwest Windpower

 

Our interdisciplinary Renewable Energy Team brings together expertise in all aspects of renewable energy project development to assist developers, power producers, and investors throughout the United States and internationally. Whether the renewable source is wind, solar, hydro, tidal, biomass, or biogas, our lawyers have experience in the core areas that make or break a renewable energy project:

Impacting Policies & Regulations

We partner with our clients to shape policies and regulations that support the advancement of renewable energy. For example, we represent a large national trade association, which is active on policy formation surrounding alternative fuels and biofuels laws and regulations. We also represent the National Energy Storage Association as well as a number of storage companies on a variety of federal and state issues that affect their businesses.

Environmental Permitting & Licensing

Successful completion of a project often requires understanding the environmental laws and regulations and the political influences that affect how a project proceeds through the permitting and siting process. In some cases, we work with clients to amend the applicable law or local ordinances so their projects may proceed. We also assist clients with obtaining local, state, and federal permits, permitting compliance, license renewals and modifications, and the acquisition, creation, and sale of greenhouse gas allowances/carbon credits. When a project's useful life comes to an end, we also assist with license surrender and decommissioning.

For example, we have experience helping owners of hydropower projects address fish passage and endangered species issues, achieve desired results in complex stakeholder negotiations as part of FERC licensing, and obtain state water quality certifications. We have also assisted in permitting all aspects of biomass electrical generation, biomass-fired co-generation at industrial facilities, and landfill gas-to-energy facilities. Learn More>

Regulatory Compliance

Our energy attorneys are experienced practicing before federal agencies and grid operators including:

  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
  • Independent System Operators and Regional Transmission Operators (NYISO, ISO-NE, PJM, MISO, CAISO, ERCOT)
  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

We also have extensive experience in numerous states and regulatory agencies on issues affecting renewable energy facilities.

Innovative Project Finance

Our team coordinates with developers, investors, and lenders to design financing strategies that maximize tax incentives and renewable energy credits. We also advise on a wide array of corporate and commercial structures, and we work with our clients to identify and analyze project risks up-front, prepare and review letters of intent, term sheets, and other documentation, and ensure compliance with federal and state regulatory requirements. Additionally, we have helped clients obtain key U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loans, state grants, and incentives for renewable energy projects.

Negotiating Agreements

From small-scale wind development projects to large biogas development projects around the globe, we help our clients to negotiate power purchase and interconnection agreements.

Learn more about our work in the Energy, Utilities, and Renewables Industry.

Representative Experience

Represented Brookfield Renewable Power in matters concerning the Ripogenus and Penobscot Mills, including judicial appeals of FERC license orders. We obtained a favorable ruling in Conservation Law Foundation v. FERC, 216 F.3d 41 (D.C. Cir. 2000).

Brookfield Renewable Power in Ripogenus and Penobscot Mills Matters

Represented Central Maine Power Company and Milliken Company on hydropower redevelopment, off-take licensing, project finance and related activities.

CMP and Milliken Company on Hydropower Redevelopment and Related Activities

Represented a community-based wind farm in obtaining state regulatory approval for a long-term electricity contract.

Community-Based Wind Farm State Regulatory Approval for Long-Term Electricity Contract

Represented investor in all aspects of converting a defunct paper mill into a biomass facility, including development, financing, power sale, fuel purchase, and renewable energy credits.

Converting Defunct Paper Mill into Biomass Facility

We are advising Cornell University, a private New York educational institution, on a number of solar PV and geothermal power projects it is installing in New York, as well as on general energy and policy matters affecting its energy sustainability program. Cornell is the largest energy user in New York State.  Cornell is also a founding member of the Coalition of Renewable Energy Users and Developers (CORE), an ad hoc group of New York renewable energy users and developers.

Cornell University Solar PV & Geothermal Power Projects

Assisting Mountain Gardens, LLC, a solar PV developer, in connection with the development of two 2 MW (each) brownfield community distributed solar projects located in Newburgh, New York.

Development of Brownfield Community Distributed Solar Projects

We represent and advise landfill owners in the development of gas-to-energy sites where methane is extracted from the landfill and used to generate electricity.

Development of Gas-to-Energy Sites

We are assisting Ørsted (formerly DONG Energy), a Danish energy company and one of the world's leading developers of off-shore wind generation facilities, in connection with the development of Bay State Wind, its proposed off-shore wind farm southwest of Martha's Vineyard.

Development of Offshore Wind Farm

Working with our colleagues Mercados-AF we submitted two new laws to the Jamaican government. The consortium, Mercados-AF, was recently awarded two World Bank contracts to develop and implement new electricity and gas sector policies. We partnered with them to write two new energy acts. We wrote a framework for a new Electricity Act that will foster competition for new power plants on the island. We also developed the framework for a new Natural Gas Act that will govern the import, storage, sale, transmission, and distribution of natural gas – whether in the form of LNG, compressed natural gas, or locally discovered gas. The Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining of Jamaica is very pleased with the results of both projects.

Drafting New Energy Laws for Jamaica

We advised the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority of Saudi Arabia (ECRA) on a variety of legal, regulatory and related issues arising from the decision of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) to introduce 54 GW of renewable energy and 18 GW of atomic energy into Saudi Arabia by 2032, in order to reduce the use of oil for power generation, including cogenerated desalination and water storage projects. We led an international team of consultants (A.S. Azzouni Consultants, Inc.; The Brattle Group; ICF International, NTE Solutions, LLC) on this project, with respect to a variety of legal, regulatory, and market issues including an international Comparison of Markets Study, assessment of the K.A.CARE targets, interconnection, transfer pricing and related grid and market operational issues; legal review and analysis of proposed amendments to the Electricity Law; nuclear, and health and safety licensing issues; and institutional organization, structure, and authority of the regulator.

ECRA of Saudi Arabia Renewable Energy Projects

We represent Fox Islands Wind LLC, the developer and operator of an innovative island community wind project, in all aspects of its business, including environmental permitting, real estate, litigation, corporate, and compliance matters.

Fox Islands Wind General Representation

Represented Fox Islands Wind, LLC in the development of an innovative initiative supported by the island's consumer-owned electric cooperative, nonprofit institutions, and private investors, which included the receipt of federal production tax credits.

Fox Islands Wind Innovative Initiative

Helped devise and negotiate innovative project development loan and equity option agreements between a private equity fund and a renewable project developer to secure, fund and ultimately develop renewable projects.

Innovative Project Development Loan and Equity Option Agreements for Renewable Projects

On behalf of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), we drafted a “Green Economy Law” for the Ministry of Economy and Budget Planning in Kazakhstan, which involved an assessment of Kazakhstan’s existing laws in a variety of sectors (including the Environmental Code, the Water Code, the Electricity Law, the Renewable Energy Law, the Tax Code and the Administrative Offences Code), as compared to international best practices for “green principles.” Pierce Atwood and its local lawyers in Astana and Almaty participated in meetings with stakeholders, and then proceeded to develop amendments to 22 laws and their related sub-acts. The final Green Economy Law will introduce green economy principles into Kazakhstan’s legislative framework, based on models taken from countries that are leaders in “green economy” best practices in environmental management, including water usage, waste disposal and management, air emissions, and energy efficiency.

Kazakhstan Transition to a Green Economy

Pierce Atwood helped guide NTE Carolinas, an affiliate of NTE Energy, in its $605 million financing deal for construction and operation of Kings Mountain Energy Center.  

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NTE Energy Financing for North Carolina Project

Represent NTE Energy in connection to its hybrid renewable biomass power generation projects. We have assisted with all aspects of development, financing and off-take agreement negotiations for projects in Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Indiana and Washington.

NTE Energy Hybrid Renewable Biomass Power Generation Projects

We serve as general counsel to Ocean Renewable Power Company, LLC, a developer of tidal energy technology and projects. Our work includes successful applications for FERC and state environmental authorizations for product trials in Western Passage off the Maine coast, a program that is now implemented in Alaska and Canada.

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Ocean Renewable Power Company General Counsel

Represented Patriot Renewables before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection in successful defense of DEP permit issued for the 24 MW Canton Wind Project, and in the appeal of the DEP permit to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which upheld the DEP permit in an order issued on February 3, 2015.

Patriot Renewables Successful Defense of Maine DEP Permit

We represented Xpress Natural Gas (XNG) in expanding access to compressed natural gas throughout the State of Maine and elsewhere in New England. Pierce Atwood assisted XNG in obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals and environmental permits for compressed natural gas production facilities in Baileyville and Eliot, Maine. These facilities receive natural gas from major pipelines, condition and compress it, and then dispense it into tank trailers made of composite materials. The trailers are then trucked to customer locations throughout Maine and elsehwhere, where the CNG is used primarily as boiler fuel. These were the first facilities of their kind in New England, and allow consumers who are not presently served by a gas utility to take advantage of this abundant, clean burning, economic and domestically produced energy resource. Our attorneys successfully led XNG through the process of obtaining approvals from the Public Utilities Commission. We drafted and obtained a town zoning ordinance amendment and other local approvals, and successfully navigated permit or exemption issues before the Department of Environmental Protection, the Maine Fuel Board, and the State Fire Marshal. We were also successful in determining that the facility was not subject to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission jurisdiction.

Permitting for CNG Facilities

We are advising the Coalition of Renewable Energy Users and Developers (CORE) before the New York Department of Public Service, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and other State agencies and offices on several key issues and policy matters that affect the use, development and financing of renewable energy and sustainability projects in New York.

Policy Matters Concerning Renewable Energy & Sustainability Projects in New York

We successfully represented Cornell University before the New York Supreme Court, Fourth Department, in a dispute with the Town of Seneca, New York over the Town's efforts to impose a property tax assessment on Cornell based on the installation of a third-party owned solar PV system on Cornell’s tax-exempt property to provide power to the university under a power purchase agreement (PPA). In a precedent-setting decision, the court found that the third-party owned facility was not assessable as an “improvement” to the land and, if the facility were a permanent attachment to the university land and therefore real property, it would be exempt from taxes pursuant to Cornell University’s education exemption. The decision is the first time a New York court has addressed the question of whether solar and wind facilities are assessable as real property.  The decision has significant implications for solar and wind development in New York.

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Precedent-Setting Decision Overturning Solar Tax Assessment

Represented Brookfield Power, Madison Paper, FPL Energy, and BayCorp in the purchase and sale or financing of hydro projects in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, including regulatory approvals and qualifying facility recertifications.

Purchase, Sale and Financing of Hydro Projects

Represent developer, owner and operator of renewable gas facilities in all aspects of negotiating and documenting the siting, supply, off-take and financing of their renewable energy projects, which produce biogas, pipeline-grade methane and carbon sequestration credits from livestock and food industry waste streams by utilizing an advanced anaerobic digestion technology.

Renewable Gas Facilities Development of Renewable Energy Projects

Represented an owner/developer in conjunction with all aspects of a major commercial facility roof top PV installation in California, which at the time was the largest project of its type there. This work included negotiation of Cal ISO grid integration protocols, negotiation with the local utility with which the project interconnects, working with the California PUC on permits and tax credits, and advice regarding federal tax credits, together with associated commercial and financial advice.

Roof Top PV Installation at Major Commercial Facility

Representing Great Bay Renewables in connection with royalty investments being made in both renewable energy projects and renewable energy developers.

Royalty Investments in Renewable Energy Projects

Representation of Great Bay Renewables, Inc. in connection with its acquisition by Altius Renewable Royalties Corp., a subsidiary of Canadian company Altius Minerals Corporation.

Sale of Great Bay Renewables to Canadian Company

Representation of Southbridge Business Center in connection with 15-year oversight of 3.2 MW combined cycle electric/ steam/hot water/chilled water system for plant landlord and owners of serviced hotel and industrial park. Managed successful workout when plant operator failed.

Southbridge Business Center in Oversight Combined Cycle System

Negotiated electricity, capacity, and REC contracts on behalf of state agency.

State Agency Negotiation of Electricity, Capacity, and REC Contracts

Massachusetts counsel for Yankee Atomic in decommissioning outdated nuclear plant, including restoration of integrated dam components after removal of nuclear plan foundations, arrangements for safe storage of fuel rods and preservation of roadway with capacity for future removal of fuel, site closure and post-closure monitoring plans.

Yankee Atomic Nuclear Plant Decommissioning

Representative Experience

The $1.5 billion Maine Power Reliability Program was the largest transmission project in Maine's history, with approximately 350 miles of new high voltage transmission line and five new substations. Pierce Atwood was instrumental in helping CMP assess the need for the project through the ISO-New England regional transmission planning process, overseeing the studies to develop the transmission solution for that need, preparing the non-transmission alternative assessment for the project, and obtaining all federal, state, and municipal environmental and land use permits for the project.

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$1.5 Billion CMP Maine Power Reliability Program

Advising Encino Acquisition Partners (Encino Energy) on agreements for the sale and transportation of Encino's natural gas for compliance with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requirements. Encino acquired the Ohio Utica Shale assets of Chesapeake Energy.

Agreements for Natural Gas Sale & Transportation

We advised a large independent oil and gas exploration and production company that will be an anchor shipper on a new regulated crude oil gathering pipeline in the Delaware Basin of Texas and New Mexico that will move crude oil from the basin to larger trunk pipelines and on to Cushing, Oklahoma and other points.  We assisted in the negotiation of a letter of intent, a transportation service agreement including benefits for anchor shippers that will require approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC”) in a petition for declaratory order, tariff provisions, storage agreements, and other contracts.  We also advised the client on timing and options for dealing with FERC’s current lack of a quorum, which limits the agency’s ability to issue the requisite declaratory order.  In addition, we reviewed and assisted in the negotiation of downstream transportation agreements.

Anchor Shipper for New Regulated Crude Oil Gathering Pipeline

We have been retained by an independent electricity transmission company to help them develop an energy storage business plan, evaluate battery vendors, prepare vendor contracts, and assist with applicable regulatory approvals and permits.

Assisting Electricity Transmission Company with Energy Storage Plan

Represented biomass facilities in regulatory challenge to allocation of REC credits in Rhode Island.

Biomass Facilities in Regulatory Challenge To Allocation of RECs in Rhode Island

Represented Brookfield Renewable Power in matters concerning the Ripogenus and Penobscot Mills, including judicial appeals of FERC license orders. We obtained a favorable ruling in Conservation Law Foundation v. FERC, 216 F.3d 41 (D.C. Cir. 2000).

Brookfield Renewable Power in Ripogenus and Penobscot Mills Matters

We advised Burgess Biopower on all aspects of financing the redevelopment of a shuttered paper mill into a state-of-the-art 75 MW biomass power plant located in Berlin, New Hampshire, which will burn waste biomass and sell power to the grid. The financing involved several sources of funds, including $63.5 million of new markets tax credit financing with allocation from six CDEs. The project also involved a $90 million section 1603 cash grant in lieu of an investment tax credit or production tax credits. The balance of the project was financed by $200 million of rated bonds provided by a consortium of financial institutions. We also advised with respect to EPC agreement, off-take power purchase agreement with PSNH and all project related agreements.

Burgess Biopower New Hampshire Mill Redevelopment

Pierce Atwood acted as real estate and environmental permitting counsel for Calpine Corporation in its $530 million acquisition of the 809 MW Fore River Generating Station in North Weymouth, Massachusetts from Exelon Corporation in 2014. Pierce Atwood attorneys from the Real Estate, Energy, Environmental and State and Local Tax practice groups worked seamlessly to analyze and resolve the many complex land use, tax, and environmental issues. The initial bid preparation through purchase agreement negotiation was accomplished in 15 weeks. Our work included analysis and management of complex tidelands, former coal ash disposal, dual fuel delivery requirement, and management of active MassHighway bridge relocation through the center of project site.

Calpine Acquisition of Fore River Generating Station

Firm client Calpine Corporation has acquired Granite Ridge Energy Center, a natural gas-fired, combined cycle plant in Londonderry, NH from Granite Ridge Holdings for $500 million. The plant provides about 2,000 MW of clean, flexible, and reliable energy to the region.

Calpine Acquisition of Granite Ridge Energy Center

With our partners from Central and Eastern Europe, our Energy attorneys are leading a legal review of sector policies addressing climate change and promoting the transition to low carbon economies.

Climate Change Policies in Central and Eastern Europe

Represented Central Maine Power Company and Milliken Company on hydropower redevelopment, off-take licensing, project finance and related activities.

CMP and Milliken Company on Hydropower Redevelopment and Related Activities

We successfully defended Central Maine Power Company’s standards for planning local transmission systems before the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC). In a year-long investigation into the appropriate standards for Maine’s electric utilities to use in planning their local transmission systems, we defended the standards that CMP has historically followed. The PUC Staff rejected most of CMP’s planning standards as unreasonable, but the Commission largely rejected the Staff’s view and affirmed that CMP’s planning standards reflect good utility practice, are reasonable and will help ensure that CMP’s customers have a safe and reliable transmission system. CMP is pleased with this outcome as it vindicates the Company’s position and will hopefully bring certainty to the planning of future transmission projects in Maine.

CMP Clarification of Standards for Future Transmission Projects

Lead counsel to Central Maine Power Company in its sale to FPL Energy of its entire generation portfolio, including 27 hydroelectric facilities totaling 373 MW.

CMP Sale of Generation Portfolio to FPL Energy

Represented a community-based wind farm in obtaining state regulatory approval for a long-term electricity contract.

Community-Based Wind Farm State Regulatory Approval for Long-Term Electricity Contract

We represented an energy provider in a commercial agreement to sell compressed natural gas (CNG) to commercial customers and a related $6 million convertible preferred equity investment in the CNG supplier.

Compressed Natural Gas Sales in Maine

Pierce Atwood represented Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. in obtaining approval from the Maine Public Utilities Commission of Consolidated’s acquisition of FairPoint Communications, Inc.  The all-stock transaction was valued at approximately $1.3 billion including debt and based on present equity value. 

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Consolidated Communications Acquisition of FairPoint Communications