To view a specific area of our Energy & Utilities Practice Group, click on the links to the right.
For many years our attorneys have represented companies in the energy sector. We have performed a wide variety of services, including:
- negotiating and drafting contracts for construction of a 600 MW pumped storage hydro-electric facility and more than 1000 MWs of combustion turbine generation
- negotiating and drafting power supply contracts with many of the industry’s largest power marketers
- negotiating and drafting power supply contracts with renewable energy developers
- resolving claims against equipment manufacturers
- resolving disputes under power supply contracts
- representing clients before the FERC, RUS, and the Georgia PSC
- obtaining certification of natural gas marketers from the Georgia PSC
- negotiating and drafting contracts for natural gas and coal transportation and supply
- negotiating and drafting operation and maintenance contracts for gas-fired combustion turbine plants
- negotiating and drafting pole attachment agreements
- drafting of utility-related legislation
- negotiating the purchase and sale of utility-related businesses
- formation of cooperative entities and subsidiaries
Renewable Energy Projects
Interest in renewable energy projects, such as wind, biomass, and solar, continues to increase among both utilities and developers. Many states now have renewable portfolio standards that require utilities to obtain power from renewable energy resources, and new federal and state tax incentives are making the development of such projects increasingly profitable. The possibility of a national portfolio standard will only increase the need for renewable energy projects.
Our firm has assisted utilities in negotiating and drafting power purchase agreements with renewable project developers. Our attorneys are experienced with all facets of such power purchase agreements and can assist with reviewing and drafting. Our firm also assisted with the formation of a ‘green power’ cooperative with the purpose of obtaining renewable energy resources for its members.
Our attorneys can also assist companies in developing renewable energy projects. Determining whether a particular renewable energy project is desirable requires an analysis of multiple economic and technical factors, including available federal and state tax incentives, state regulation in the chosen geographic location, and transmission and interconnection considerations. Contact must be made with power companies to evaluate their interest in the project. Once the project is underway, financing documents must be reviewed, necessary permits must be obtained, and interconnection and power purchase agreements must be negotiated. Our firm can assist with all of these necessary steps, as well as the many other steps that must be taken to develop a successful renewable energy project.
Electric Cooperatives: G&T and Distribution Cooperatives
We have extensive experience working with G&T and distribution cooperative clients on projects involving power plant construction and the procurement of electricity and gas supplies. Our experience includes, for example, negotiating and drafting ‘all-requirements’ and ‘partial requirements’ power purchase agreements with investor-owned utilities and power marketers on behalf of individual electric cooperatives and groups of cooperatives. Our attorneys have performed a wide variety of services for our cooperative clients, including negotiating O&M and fuel supply contracts for gas-fired facilities, forming new cooperative organizations, and assisting with ‘green energy’ projects for a group of cooperatives seeking to offer their consumers a renewable energy resource alternative. Read more about our Electric Cooperative Practice.
Pole Attachment Agreements
A cooperative’s poles and rights-of-way are among its most valuable assets. Sharing these poles and rights-of-way with telecommunications and cable television companies has presented urgent issues for many cooperatives. We have negotiated up-to-date pole attachment agreements for our cooperative clients, counseled them on how to obtain reasonable contract terms and compensation, and advised cooperatives on how to get more out of their relationships with the companies attaching to their poles.
Contracts Between a Cooperative and Its G&T
Our firm was founded in 1996 by Charles T. Autry, who had served as general counsel to one of the nation’s largest G&Ts for more than seventeen years. Since 1996, that G&T has undergone extensive restructuring of itself and of its members’ rights and obligations. As a result, we bring unique expertise relating to questions regarding contracts and relationships between distribution cooperatives and G&T cooperatives.
Diversification and New Services
An increasing number of cooperatives are seeing opportunities to expand the services they offer. Just as rural consumers had difficulty getting electric service in the 1930’s, today they may encounter similar difficulties obtaining quality service for internet access, home security, propane supply, medical evacuation, and other services. Many cooperatives offer additional services through a wholly or partially owned subsidiary of the cooperative. Such expansion requires careful consideration of the form of the new entity, its governance, whether the cooperative will be the sole owner, possible contracts with third parties, applicable state and federal laws and many other factors. Someday, the cooperative may decide to spin-off or sell its interest in the company, triggering a new round of critical decisions. Our firm has assisted many cooperatives in connection with creating and divesting subsidiaries or affiliates engaged in a variety of businesses, such as construction and the distribution of propane or natural gas.
Utility Cooperatives and Cooperative Taxation
We advise telephone cooperatives, telecom cooperatives, broadband cooperatives, along with others, in connection with cooperative law and cooperative taxation issues. Read more about our Cooperatives Organizations Practice and Cooperative Taxation Practice.