Energy Law

Energetic ideas powered by those leading the charge.

The energy industry in northern New England faces enormous changes and challenges in response to international, federal, state, and local policy initiatives, including the “90% renewable energy by 2050” goal of Vermont’s Act 174 of 2016, and the sustained efforts in New Hampshire as embodied in the 10 Year State Energy Strategy to escape from among-the-highest-in-the-nation costs. The threats posed by climate change have created new opportunities and incentives for changing the way electricity is made and delivered, and to transform fossil-fuel-dominated areas such as heating and transportation.

Despite an array of incentives, energy companies committed to accelerating the regional power grid’s transformation to renewable energy generation, storage solutions, and transmission improvements face an ever-increasing array of obstacles. A demanding environment necessitates experienced, resourceful counsel to ensure that investments in energy-related business transactions are realized, and that new facilities can be built with the support of stakeholders, regulators, and the courts. Of equal important, experienced energy attorneys must keep up with changes in technology as much as shifts in the law.

Energy partners.

For over half a century, DRM energy attorneys have helped to achieve clients’ objectives in energy-related commercial transactions, infrastructure siting projects, governmental affairs, and administrative and judicial litigation. Beyond legal ingenuity and a deep bench of talent, DRM’s success and reputation can be attributed to its sustained engagement in the formulation of energy policy initiatives in the region, working directly through clients, and indirectly through trade associations, educational institutions, and community organizing.

Our lawyers follow emerging New England regulatory and power markets issues. We make it a point to understand the most recent energy market and regulatory developments at the federal, state and local levels in order to provide our clients with the full menu of legal services in the emerging renewable energy, storage, transmission, generation, efficiency, and RPS markets.

Recent Accomplishments

Infrastructure Siting

  • Secured regulatory approvals and real estate rights for one of Vermont’s largest solar facility—the 20 MW Coolidge Solar Project in Ludlow—as well as for multiple net-metering systems on “preferred sites,” including facilities within capacity-constrained areas.
  • Worked with teams to obtain certificates of public good for the first stand-alone battery storage systems in Vermont.

Transactional

  • Represented Vermont utility in the purchase of fourteen hydroelectric facilities in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts, including transfer of licenses through the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission.
  • Played critical role in transfer of several prospective solar facility sites scattered throughout New Hampshire and Vermont to national renewable energy company.
  • Provided due diligence and corrective action steps in sale of several fully-developed net-metering facilities in Vermont to Fortune 100 investment company.
  • Successfully negotiated a 26-year power purchase agreement among Vermont utilities and Hydro-Quebec, and led the team of 20 Vermont utilities to obtain state regulatory approvals.

Litigation

  • Successfully set state Supreme Court precedent concerning the “grandfathering” effect of net-metering rules for solar facilities and established key tenets of administrative law affecting Public Utility Commission practice.
  • Developed and implemented strategy to successfully reframe Vermont law standard for ‘necessity’ in eminent domain cases involving condemnation of utility easement over public property.
  • Adjudicate on behalf of electrical distribution utility on extent and scope of Act 250 permit amendment jurisdiction for line extensions in order to avoid negative precedents.

Governmental Affairs / Regulatory

  • Negotiated key agreements with State of Vermont to secure and transfer real estate rights for 113 conservation area necessary to support conditions in certificate of public good for Georgia Mountain Community Wind facility.
  • Represented advanced manufacturing client before the General Assembly to negotiate a change in Vermont’s energy efficiency program and required assessments in order to allow manufacturers to make more effective and cost-effective efficiency investments on site.
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