Successful completion of energy, infrastructure and transmission projects requires diverse and experienced legal talent. Our group includes attorneys with experience in state and federal funding, real estate transactions, including eminent domain, environmental review and permitting at the federal, state and local levels, public and project finance, project design and management, and utility contracting. The firm also has a strong background with public-private partnerships, and has a long history of helping government and the private sector collaborate on projects. We employ a creative, problem-solving approach that helps clear regulatory and funding hurdles before they delay a project.
Power Purchase Agreements and Negotiations with Utilities
We have represented utility companies and independent energy developers in generation and distribution project development, and in negotiation and development of power purchase agreements (PPA). Examples include the Acquila Network MOU, the Calpine-Mankato Energy Center, and the Siemens Combustion Turbines Settlement.
We are currently representing EnXco Inc., a major wind farm developer, in negotiations with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) over a PPA for phase II of 360 megawatts of wind power. We are also assisting Mohave Sun Power in preparing its response to LADWP's RFP for solar projects including transmission line capacity. And we represent Wind Power de Mexico de S.A. (WP) in negotiations with Sempra Generation concerning WP's shared ownership of Sempra's planned new transmission line from Baja Mexico into California. We are also handling PPA negotiations with various utilities in California on behalf of WP and its planned 1500 MW of wind power to be exported from Baja Mexico. We are leading discussions between WP and ENEL and Macquarie Bank concerning partnerships with WP throughout Mexico.
We also have experience working on energy issues within utilities. Les Lo Baugh, a senior attorney in our Energy Group, served as general counsel for Niagara Mohawk Power Company providing electric and gas distribution and operating transmission and generating facilities throughout most of the state of New York. As corporate counsel, Les was responsible for handling regulatory proceeding at the state and federal level related to transmission and distribution activities, such as the renegotiation of contracts, strategic planning, PPAs, the sale of over 70 generation plants (fossil fuel, hydro, and nuclear), the reorganization of the company’s transmission, distribution and corporate services, Native American tribal disputes and environmental matters.
Several of our attorneys have worked on issues related to the location of transmission lines. Cathy Gale, a member of our team in Denver, served as the attorney for Denver with respect to the $345 million land acquisition for Denver International Airport (DIA). As part of the land acquisition program, Cathy worked on all of the legal aspects concerning the relocation of a major electric transmission line, as well as the relocation of a number of gas transmission lines. She was also involved in the negotiation and documentation of Denver's franchise agreement with Public Service of Colorado.
The firm has also represented an independent electric transmission project company with regard to eminent domain issues in the state of New Mexico. Our work includes analysis of existing legal authority for transmission company eminent domain, discussions with a state transmission authority and drafting of proposed eminent domain legislation. In addition, a senior member of Brownstein served as the principal attorney for Southern Pacific Railroad in negotiations for the shared use of right of ways by telecommunications and public transit agencies throughout California.
Federal Agency Counsel
Two Brownstein attorneys have served as senior federal agency counsel. David Bernhardt was the Solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior for over three years in the prior Administration, and spent the preceding five years leading teams of Interior lawyers in a variety of capacities. David has extensive experience concerning the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, federal permitting, federal rights of way issues, and other issues that often arise in infrastructure development in the western United States.
Until two years ago, John Herrick was the Chief Counsel for the Department of Energy's Golden field office, where he oversaw the operations of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the implementation of DOE's alternative energy portfolio. He also acted as a Federal Ethics Official and understands the conflict of interest and other ethical considerations that are essential to manage federal contracting actions.
John is a noted expert in the field of federal fiscal law and the use of appropriated funds. He was DOE's chief fiscal law counsel for five years, and was the author of numerous Comptroller General fiscal law opinions as an attorney with the Government Accountability Office. He was guest lecturer in fiscal law at the U.S. Army's JAG School in Charlottesville, Virginia, and has published a scholarly work on this topic in the Public Contract Law Journal.
Brownstein offers a public finance team with experience in public financing, tax, securities, business advisory, secured transactions, real estate and infrastructure development. We represent issuers, borrowers, underwriters and other participants in various types of transactions involving bonds and other securities issued by state and local governments, agencies, authorities and districts. Our team brings a diverse skill set to a wide spectrum of projects, including general governmental borrowing, airports, metropolitan districts and special districts, public improvement districts, hospitals and health care facilities, roads and highways, utilities and energy generators, and industrial development projects.
John Herrick has over 20 years of experience in energy project financing and has structured transactions valued at more than $4 billion in energy infrastructure projects under public-private partnerships with the federal government. Projects he has overseen include the $55.5 Ormesa Geothermal energy production facility near East Mesa, California, the $2.2 billion Great Plains Synthetic Fuel Facility in North Dakota, the $147 million New Energy Company ethanol facility in South Bend, Indiana, and the $125 million Range Fuels Biorefinery in Soperton, Georgia. In addition, he devised and teaches Renewable Energy and Project Finance Law, the first class of this kind taught in any American Law School, and has spoken at numerous legal and industry forums on this topic.
As an example of Brownstein's project finance expertise, Brownstein has been for the past nine years the lead counsel in the structuring, strategy and development of the first new liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving and regasification facility to be constructed in the United States in more than 25 years. In 2005, Brownstein served as lead counsel to Freeport in a $383 million private placement note issuance to a group of nine institutional investors. The funds from the notes were used, together with previously arranged financing provided by ConocoPhillips, to fund the construction of Phase I of the terminal. In 2009, following commercial start-up of Phase I of the terminal, we acted as lead counsel when Freeport issued an additional $70 million of private placement notes to the investors holding the 2005 $383 million notes. The Freeport project has been called one of the largest such transactions in the history of the liquefied natural gas industry.