Developing energy projects requires in-depth understanding of the federal and state regulatory frameworks underlying the projects. Our energy regulatory lawyers have the expertise to address the many issues that arise in acquiring, developing, operating and financing energy projects. At Pierce Atwood, our clients benefit from knowing that within a single law firm they have access to a team of accomplished energy lawyers to help them obtain the requisite federal and state regulatory approvals, navigate and satisfy applicable federal and state regulations, and assess the impacts and risks of federal and state regulatory and policy developments.
Pierce Atwood offers a deep bench of attorneys who have served in senior policy positions at state and federal regulatory agencies, including the former Chair of FERC’s Cogeneration and Small Power Production Task Force, Chief of Staff and General Counsel of the Massachusetts DPU, FERC’s Supervisory Attorney for Gas & Oil Litigation, FERC Commissioner Assistants, and state public service commission attorneys. Our energy attorneys regularly practice before federal agencies, including the FERC, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. We also have extensive experience before numerous state regulatory agencies, including California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Pierce Atwood’s 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 renewable and conventional fuel generation plants. In addition, our attorneys have negotiated contracts with electric and natural gas utilities and Independent System Operators (ISOs).
Pierce Atwood has conducted due diligence for the full array of regulatory, environmental, real estate, tax and other issues that affect the risk and credit profiles of energy projects. Our attorneys assist our clients to identify and characterize risk, structure and renegotiate deal terms and contractual provisions, set up and manage data rooms, and prepare disclosure schedules. Our energy lawyers partner closely with attorneys in our Business, Environmental, Land Use, Real Estate, State and Local Tax, and Litigation practice groups to address the range of issues that affect their projects.
We have substantial experience in obtaining approvals, exemptions and waivers under Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, as amended (PURPA) and the Federal Power Act; in obtaining certificates under the Natural Gas Act for gas pipeline and storage facilities; in guiding developers of crude oil pipelines through the open season, declaratory order, and tariff processes; and in complying with state and federal gas and power marketing regulations. We pride ourselves in our ability to assist our clients in structuring their projects to exempt them or minimize the impacts of FERC and state jurisdiction.
Transmission & Distribution
Our energy and infrastructure lawyers regularly represent major developers and users of electric transmission facilities, both AC and DC, including within ISO-New England, Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM), Midwest ISO (MISO), New York ISO (NYISO), California ISO and Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). We represent our clients on all aspects of development, including regulatory authorization, environmental permitting and siting, real estate, land use, eminent domain issues, and construction contracting and dispute resolution. With the advent of FERC Order 1000, our attorneys have 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.
Fuel Supply & Transportation Agreements
For power plants, biomass and biogas producers, LNG, and similar energy projects, we work with energy project developers, lenders, EPC contractors and other clients in drafting and negotiating interconnection, gas transportation, fuel supply, and physical and financial hedging agreements, including bi-lateral agreements, NAESB and ISDA Master Agreements, and exchange-traded agreements. Our experienced energy lawyers help our clients permit clean energy resources, and expand transmission and pipeline infrastructure to meet reliability needs.
Our regulatory attorneys have a wide range of experience in obtaining 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 and shippers 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 through declaratory orders or no-action letters, or volume commitments and prorationing preferences.
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.
Wholesale Market Rules
Pierce Atwood energy attorneys have extensive experience working in and with FERC and ISOs and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) 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; and 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 attorneys regularly advise clients regarding market rules governing selling and trading in the PJM, ISO-New England, NYISO, California ISO, MISO and ERCOT regional markets.
Impacting Policies & Regulations
Power projects typically involve important federal and state regulatory policy issues, contracts with regional electric or natural gas utilities, and dealing with ISOs. Pierce Atwood has a long and distinguished history of representing clients before state and federal energy regulators and helping to shape relevant energy policies. We also partner with our clients to collaborate with similarly situated companies to shape policies and regulations that support the advancement of renewable energy. For example, we represent a large national trade association that is active on policy formation surrounding alternative fuels and biofuels laws and regulations. The firm is lead outside counsel to the national Energy Storage Association on a variety of federal and state issues affecting the energy storage resources, and represents the Coalition of Renewable Energy Users and Developers (CORE), a coalition active in shaping renewable energy and storage policies in New York.
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.