The U.S. energy industry today is faced with a number of key concerns: regulatory change, commodity price fluctuations, financing needs, and investor confidence.
In the past decade, the U.S. energy industry has evolved from a monopoly structure subject to extensive regulation, to a disaggregated structure governed by both regulation and competition. While the business needs of the industry have changed, the governing legal structure is a matrix of New Deal legislation, "energy crisis" legislation, and 1990s efforts to inject market competition. Add to this the cyclical nature of energy commodities, the need for major investments in plant and equipment, and extensive distribution networks that cross state lines, and energy companies are in need of sound legal advice.
McKenna Long & Aldridge (MLA) clients include industrial and commercial companies in all sectors of the industry: electric and gas utility services, independent power production, power and energy services, marketing and national trade associations, as well as major energy consumers.
We help clients find their way through the tangle of today's complex environment, assisting them with the business, contractual, financing and regulatory aspects of this complex and specialized industry.
On the heels of the California energy crisis, we recognized that numerous companies were in dire need of counsel with a specialized knowledge of energy contracts, markets, and dispute resolution, and we have assisted numerous commercial and industrial energy consumers in California with their energy contracts and procurement strategies.
We have represented an array of interests in the electric utility industry over the years. Clients include investor-owned utilities, cooperatively owned utilities, and industrial concerns that are both producers and consumers of electricity. Our representation of these clients includes counseling with respect to the clients' financial, business and regulatory interests, as well as representation before various regulatory agencies, courts and alternative dispute resolution forums.
As federal and state policy makers, legislators, and regulators propel the industry into a more competitive environment, our representations have shifted to assisting clients facing increasing and rapidly changing challenges in their day-to-day commercial transactions and operations and their long-term business and strategic planning.
Our strong grasp of the vital issues in the natural gas industry, particularly the interests of local distribution companies (LDCs) that are the final link in the natural gas delivery chain, has led to significant success advocating those interests in litigation before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and state public utility commissions.
As counsel to LDCs in such matters, we also provide advice outside the context of formal litigation, including representation in the negotiation of service contracts with upstream suppliers and downstream customers. This role has expanded in recent years as a result of regulatory changes at both the federal and state level that have led to difficult competitive challenges for LDCs. We work with clients in developing effective responses to those challenges, while staying within regulatory bounds.
Legal and economic changes and population growth have created new opportunities and need for the development of electric power projects throughout the country. Our Merchant Power team brings years of experience in the energy industry and an understanding of government and community interests to clients who seek to build electric power plants. Our team efficiently addresses environmental, real estate, tax, regulatory, finance and governmental affairs issues to enable new plants to be brought on line on time and to maximize the long-term economic contribution of such plants to their owners.
Every power project poses an array of state and local issues. We provide an experienced response to those issues, as well as providing a broad scope of legal service required in the siting, permitting, development and financing of projects.
The substantial legal, regulatory, and economic challenges that arise today in the alternative energy field impact the environment, capital markets, traditional ratemaking, cost-effectiveness, and capital infrastructure. Our attorneys help clients navigate the intricacies associated with alternative energy sources and development, including biomass, wind, tides and waves, solar, fuel cells, geothermal, solid waste, and coal gasification technologies.
MLA’s Alternative Energy and Emerging Technologies practice is comprised of attorneys and professionals with experience in environment, energy, real estate, finance, government affairs, and government contracts. Our regional, national, and international experience in the environmental, energy, real estate, finance, government affairs and government contracts arenas positions us to support virtually every alternative and renewable fuel endeavor.