Power Generation

Latham & Watkins guides participants in the electricity industry through every stage of financing, developing, and operating power generation projects, including negotiating agreements as well as representing clients globally in proceedings and investigations before national, federal, and state environmental, energy, and land management agencies.

Power Equipment Station
Developing Effective Strategies

Latham advises clients across the electric generation spectrum, on all aspects of energy generation projects globally, whether projects are located on private, state, federal, or American Indian lands. The firm represents clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and other national and state public utility commissions, state siting authorities, Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs), and Independent System Operators (ISOs).

Latham lawyers help clients navigate:

  • Citizen suits
  • Compliance and inspections
  • Criminal and civil enforcement actions
  • Energy regulatory matters, including investigations and enforcement actions by regulatory authorities
  • Environmental review, permitting, and entitlements
  • Generation development agreement negotiations (including interconnection, transmission, operation, and maintenance agreements)
  • Litigation
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • National, federal, and state government approvals
  • Project development, financing, and siting
  • State energy regulatory commission matters
  • Trading agreement negotiations (including power purchase agreements) 

Latham draws on experience with all types of generation resources, including natural gas or coal-fired facilities, as well as renewable wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, or waste-to-energy facilities The firm also advises clients actively involved with a variety of battery and other storage technologies.
Latham regularly advises the following types of clients involved with generation projects around the world:

  • Developers
  • Energy and asset managers
  • Government agencies
  • Investors
  • Lenders
  • Marketing companies
  • Operation and maintenance providers
  • Owners
  • Trading companies
  • Underwriters
  • Utilities

Latham draws on insight and strong working relationships with regulators, as the firm has worked on every single federal power plant regulation in the US since 1998.

Understanding the Spectrum of Power Resources

Latham can leverage lawyers across the globe with the right experience in different types of generation resources, including the following:

Coal or Gas-Fired
Latham has advised in some capacity on most of the major natural gas and coal-fired generation projects owned by independent power producers in the US and on many owned by utilities. This work includes advising on project finance or another financing transaction, a merger or acquisition transaction, project siting and government approvals, an environmental or energy regulatory compliance matter, or an enforcement, litigation, or arbitration proceeding. Latham lawyers have particular experience with air quality, water quality, endangered species, and coal ash issues.

Latham provides clients with a sophisticated understanding of ownership, operation, and development of onshore and offshore wind power projects, drawn from more than three decades of experience advising on nearly 250 separate projects, including repowering of existing projects. Latham lawyers have deep experience with avian and endangered species issues, crafting innovative solutions to challenging issues, a proven track record of securing permits and approvals that have historically been difficult to obtain, and negotiating commercial solutions to enforcement actions. Latham also assists clients with the unique interconnection and transmission issues that wind projects have faced with RTOs across the country.

Latham assists clients with environmental review, project siting and government approvals, corporate and financing matters, as well as solar specific matters such as drafting and negotiating installation agreements, and operation and maintenance agreements.
Latham has developed particular experience with several solar technologies including photovoltaic, thin-film, and concentrated solar technologies.

Latham has extensive experience with developing and financing utility scale storage systems, including battery, pumped water, and pumped air technologies, particularly to supplement other intermittent renewable resources. Latham lawyers represent clients on a variety of energy regulatory and markets matters relating to the regulatory treatment of and incentives for energy storage technologies before FERC, state public utility commissions, as well as RTOs.

Latham has advised on more than 100 geothermal power transactions, around the world, including in the leading geothermal regions: the US, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The firm also helps clients navigate environmental review and project siting, as well as securing governmental approvals.

For decades, Latham has advised on hydroelectric project developments, FERC licensing and relicensing proceedings, and a variety of hydroelectric issues raised in acquisitions and financings.

Latham lawyers have extensive experience with some of the largest hydroelectric systems in the US, including those involving the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Bonneville Power Administration. Recent experience also includes advising on transactions in countries across four continents, including in the US, Canada, Bolivia, Brazil, Norway, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Laos, China, and the Philippines.

Biomass and Waste-to-Energy
Latham has advised clients with environmental review, project siting and government approvals, corporate and financing matters on biomass and waste-to-energy projects, both in heavily regulated jurisdictions including the US and Europe, as well as in the developing world.

The firm has significant experience advising on nuclear projects. A full description is available here.

Leveraging Experience

Because the firm has advised on so many power generation projects, Latham lawyers have experience with almost every possible issue that could arise in the course of project siting, permitting, operations, regulation, corporate transactions, environmental enforcement actions, challenges to agency action, and commercial litigation. A sample of representative matters includes:

  • Represented a developer in its development of a 200-MW wind generation facility in California. Obtained multiple agency approvals and negotiated agency agreements regarding federal, tribal, private, and State of California lands, including analysis of county, CEQA, NEPA, and California Public Utilities Commission issues. Successfully defended the client’s approvals in federal district and appellate courts against lawsuits challenging agency approvals.
  • Advised a UK-based power generation business to negotiate contracts to develop, finance, construct, and operate a lignite-fired generation facility in Kosovo.
  • Advised a utility-scale solar developer, on land use and other regulatory clearances required to build a 320-acre photovoltaic solar farm. Also advised on a large generator interconnection agreement and transmission-related matters for an interconnection transmission (gen-tie) line located on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management to connect the solar project on private land to the grid.
  • Advised an independent power producer on the development and financing of an 850-megawatt natural gas fired peaking plant, including defense of project approvals against challenges in state and federal court, ultimately prevailing at the Ninth Circuit so the US$1 billion project could proceed.
  • Represented a US power generation business in an extensive case-specific regulatory proceeding evaluating potential thermal discharge impacts under Clean Water Act Section 316(a) related to a coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts. Subsequently represented a private equity firm in its acquisition of the plant, in all environmental issues related to that plant, and throughout the private equity firm’s divestiture of the plant several years later.
  • Represented an energy company on the financing for two grid-level battery storage projects in Southern California and Arizona as part of its US$2 billion repowering project, including the largest grid-level project in the US.
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