Crowell & Moring's multi-service Energy Group offers a complete range of services to clients involved in the regulatory, policy and legal requirements affecting the energy industry throughout the U.S. Our practice has extensive capabilities and experience, particularly with respect to federal and state electric and gas regulation, infrastructure project development, financing and acquisition transactions, litigation, compliance, and enforcement matters.
There are tremendous challenges and opportunities for energy companies throughout the U.S., brought about by a plethora of state and federal environmental initiatives, various state renewable portfolio standards, new storage procurement requirements, emerging cap and trade programs in some parts of the country, a dramatic increase in distributed generation, and a rising trend of older plant retirements. Crowell & Moring's attorneys offer a unique blend of regulatory, transactional, government and litigation experience that provides clients enhanced value through strategic advice and planning for complex transactions. We work with both established and early-stage businesses to build effective strategies for succeeding in the evolving regulatory and policy landscape, including navigating the complex interplay between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), state regulatory commissions, and the independent system operators that now operate in much of the country. We also work with both traditional and non-utility companies seeking to finance and construct transmission projects throughout the U.S.
With the dramatic shifts in the regulatory, policy and electricity market landscapes, we advise on and advocate for rule changes for markets, procurement and infrastructure planning, informed by technological advances and business models of our clients. With our national focus, the Energy Group provides value to clients doing business throughout the country, helping them to navigate the complex web of market and regulatory requirements.
The firm's attorneys have considerable experience representing clients before FERC, in areas such as market development and operations initiatives, cyber and physical security, as well as FERC's implementation of open-access transmission policies and interconnection procedures, enhanced market monitoring, compliance and enforcement activities. We also counsel energy clients with respect to tax matters, federal loan programs, equipment supply and other development agreements, and on legislative and executive branch matters concerning the energy industry. We help early-stage businesses as they seek growth capital and develop their business plans. In addition, the firm represents suppliers and purchasers of water, water treatment services, and developers of large seawater desalination projects.
We are recognized as a leader in providing high-quality legal advice and services to our energy industry clients. Chambers USA has consistently ranked our attorneys among the best in the country saying that the lawyers are "very creative, industry savvy, and strategically minded," "take the view that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,'" and "look at things from our point of view and provide solutions." In addition, attorneys in the Energy Practice have been consistently recognized by Chambers Global, Legal 500, and The Best Lawyers in America. Recently, BTI Power Rankings 2016 ranked Crowell & Moring among the top 17 firms that General Counsel go to for energy work.
Renewable Energy and Storage Development
Crowell & Moring handles the unique issues confronting developers of wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass, and other renewable energy sources. We represent renewable energy project developers, merchant generators and transmission companies, marketers, investor-owned utilities, trade associations, and consumers (including institutions such as universities) in all aspects of renewable projects, including before FERC and various state public utility and public service commissions throughout the U.S. We also provide energy regulatory advice for the development, financing and operations of energy storage projects and related interconnection facilities and market products. The firm works with emerging companies to create revenue streams for new products and negotiates equipment and manufacturing agreements. California and the mid-Atlantic states continue to be laboratories for the burgeoning growth of renewables, energy storage, and cross-cutting high-voltage transmission projects. The firm's experience and stature in these types of businesses make it uniquely capable of helping companies succeed in these emerging and exciting areas.
Interconnection Services, Agreements, and Costs
The firm assists clients in the transmission interconnection process, with particular focus on negotiations and approvals of generator interconnection agreements. Our experience includes interconnection of generator clients to transmission facilities controlled by independent system and regional transmission operators, advocating on behalf of clients during amendments to ISO and RTO tariffs, and representation before FERC to obtain required authorizations for jurisdictional agreements, as well as in rulemakings and waiver filings. We also represent clients in interconnection matters associated with facilities owned by federal power marketing agencies and other agencies not subject to FERC's jurisdiction.
The firm represents independent transmission developers and utilities in all stages of large-scale transmission development with full-service capabilities in all aspects of project development, from initiation to handling litigation challenges. Our experience includes working with project developers to develop a strategy for navigating legal, environmental, jurisdictional, regulatory and political hurdles, to negotiating with financial partners and offtakers. We also work on all phases of construction, including negotiating engineering, procurement and construction contracts and handling siting and environmental permitting. The firm's litigators stand ready to handle any related commercial and environmental litigation. Crowell & Moring attorneys have substantial experience with obtaining regulatory approvals at both the state and federal levels, and have decades of experience as lawyers, in-house counsel, and non-lawyer FERC senior staff working in the transmission business.
The firm's Energy Group represents developers, contractors, fuel suppliers, lenders, investors, and customers in connection with all aspects of energy and infrastructure project development, finance and operation. Our attorneys have served as project counsel in the development and financing of numerous facilities, including a large desalination facility and utility-scale solar generating facilities in California. Crowell & Moring attorneys have also served as buyer's counsel in the acquisition of two natural gas pipeline systems, including related bridge and capital market financing, and as counsel for a major U.S. energy company in its acquisition and development of over 30 solar projects. We also negotiate and draft acquisition and merger agreements, structure partnerships and joint ventures, and supervise due diligence investigations.
We provide the full gamut of energy regulatory services and appear regularly before FERC, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, numerous state utility regulatory commissions, and other federal and state regulatory agencies. Among other matters, we advise and assist our clients in connection with:
- Obtaining approval of transmission and sales tariffs
- Contested rate cases (with experience representing both customers and regulated service providers)
- Market power studies and triennial updates
- Dispositions of FERC jurisdictional assets
- Negotiations and approvals of reliability must-run (RMR) contracts
- The rules and pricing for station power delivery service
- Developing tariffs for reactive power compensation
- Exempt wholesale generator status approvals
- Qualifying facility certification
- Regulation of distributed generation and demand response
- Local distribution company bypass
- Stranded cost recovery
- Franchise exclusivity
- Eminent domain and utility rights of way issues
- Retail access rules
- Public notice and electronic bulletin board requirements
- Standards of conduct and codes of conduct
- Interlocking directorates
- Prudence issues
Compliance, Investigations, and Enforcement
Crowell & Moring is at the forefront of the energy industry's response to improper market practices and implementation of rigorous compliance programs. We have extensive experience in representing clients in internal and regulatory investigations and in designing and implementing compliance programs and codes of conduct which conform to best industry practices. Our attorneys have conducted internal investigations of alleged non-compliance with market rules and trading and price reporting practices, and have represented clients and obtained favorable settlements in investigations by FERC, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and other federal and state enforcement authorities.
Market Development and Implementation
Crowell & Moring is a leader in electric power industry restructuring and is actively involved in every region of the country. The firm participates in the formulation of the laws, rules, and policies that govern restructured power pools, energy and ancillary services markets, transmission planning and operations, independent system operators, and regional transmission organizations. We counsel clients and represent them in both regulatory and judicial proceedings on all types of electric power matters, including issues related to the transition of the electric power sector from a tightly regulated, vertically integrated industry to one of unbundled and competitive markets and, in some cases, back to a more regulated market.
Crowell & Moring has extensive experience in energy-related litigation and settlement negotiations. FERC and state commissions increasingly are relying on administrative litigation and evidentiary hearings to resolve a broad spectrum of energy industry issues, ranging from traditional rate cases, to proposed market design changes, to allegations of non-compliance with market rules. In addition to complex regulatory litigation before agencies and in trial and appellate courts, the firm represents clients in securities claims, class action suits, antitrust actions, bankruptcy proceedings, environmental matters, takings claims, contract disputes, construction litigation and arbitration, insurance coverage, and stockholder litigation.
Environment and Natural Resources
Our strong environmental law experience complements the services we provide to our energy projects. Our attorneys have considerable experience with all environmental and natural resources laws applicable to energy projects, including those governing air and water emissions, wildlife protection, hazardous waste, mineral rights and health and safety. Firm attorneys counsel clients on matters including obtaining and defending permits, challenging regulatory actions, and enforcement litigation. Our firm has overseen the negotiation for and creation of the largest habitat conservation bank in the U.S. to protect a species affected by wind and transmission development projects in Wyoming, working with the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as local regulatory agencies, business coalitions and legislators to develop the project.
Our tax lawyers provide U.S. federal and state tax experience in connection with virtually all aspects of our Energy practice. We have significant experience in structuring transactions to take advantage of the federal, state, and local tax credits and other incentives available to energy projects, including alternative energy and carbon capture and sequestration projects. Our work includes both the development and operational stages, and minimizing adverse tax consequences. We regularly advise on mergers, reorganizations, financing transactions, and other commercial activities. We work extensively on the U.S. income tax issues associated with international transactions by energy companies, including the potential benefits of deferral of taxes on non-U.S. operations, maximizing foreign tax credits, and transfer pricing planning and defense.