Energy & Renewables
On behalf of our clients, we also appear before the public utilities commissions of Oregon and Washington, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Bonneville Power Administration, local boards, and state and federal courts.
We combine our industry expertise with knowledge in multiple areas of law to advise energy clients on matters including:
- Energy generation, transmission and distribution
- Facilities development, construction, safety and operations
- Financing and taxation
- State and federal incentive programs
- Environmental and land use matters, including air permitting and waste-energy issues
- Public policy and government relations
- Coal and gas supply contracts
- Labor and employment matters
- Litigation and alternative dispute resolution
Tonkon Torp Guides Unique Renewable Energy Project Through Key Phases
Tonkon Torp has worked on the project at key stages throughout its lifespan. Led by David Petersen, the firm first helped the original developer obtain land rights and evaluate title issues. In 2013, the developer and Tonkon Torp began a four-year process to secure the project’s site certificate from the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council.
Albina Head Start Turns on First Solar-Powered Building with Assist from Tonkon Torp
When Albina Head Start learned it was awarded a Blue Sky Fund grant to install a rooftop solar array on one of its buildings, it turned to its long-time pro bono legal partner, Tonkon Torp. The nonprofit organization knew that it would need legal guidance to ensure that it could meet the terms laid out in the grant’s detailed and binding Memo of Understanding.
Tonkon Torp Obtains First-of-its-Kind Site Certificate for Oregon Wind Facility
After obtaining land rights for a 500 megawatt wind energy facility, Tonkon Torp helped Wheatridge file and process the first wind energy project presented to the Siting Council without a specific transmission corridor identified. Find details and more featured cases here.
Tonkon Torp Brings Attorney Power to Renewable Energy Transaction
Tonkon Torp client Enel Green Power North America (EGPNA) is the North American subsidiary of one of the largest corporations in the world, the Italian electricity company Enel S.p.A. Here's how we helped EGPNA in a renewable energy acquisition.
Solar Project Sale Shines Light on Tonkon Team
Tonkon Torp represented our long-standing client, Obsidian Renewables, in sale of the Black Cap Solar II project to PSEG Solar Source, a New Jersey-based utility. Find details and more featured cases here.
Tonkon Torp Represents Vestas in Acquisition of UpWind Solutions
Tonkon Torp represented its client Vestas, the world's largest manufacturer of wind turbines, in the acquisition of UpWind Solutions, Inc., an independent service provider for wind power plants in nine US states. The $60 million acquisition furthers Vestas's strategic objectives for its North America service business.
Ninth Circuit Victory Assures Electricity Rate Stability
Representing Portland General Electric (PGE), Tonkon Torp appellate lawyers successfully argued for the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to uphold a settlement by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Find details and more featured cases here.
Real Estate Counsel for Eastern Oregon Wind Projects
Represented client as real estate counsel for funding and construction of 16 wind turbines in eastern Oregon. The project included three rounds of funding from lenders and investors which involved negotiation on the real estate provisions of the various financing agreements. Negotiated the acquisition of appropriate easements from various property owners and advised on real estate and interconnection issues with the buyer of electricity produced by the facilities. Final funding involved coordination of multiple levels of affiliated and unaffiliated companies for running various aspects of the facilities. Funding and construction concluded in December, 2020.
Site Certificate for Oregon Wind Facility
Represented client to obtain a site certificate from the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council to construct a 500 MW wind energy facility in Morrow and Umatilla Counties. The project faced stiff opposition from Umatilla County, some local landowners and a local anti-wind coalition. The project presented unique issues related to energy transmission, as the available corridors to connect the project to the interstate transmission grid were constrained and presented considerable development challenges. After a five-year process, including a contested case before an administrative hearings officer that was resolved by a successful motion for summary judgment over the opposition of the Department of Energy, the Council issued a site certificate authorizing construction of the facility.
Eastern Oregon Wind Projects Acquisition
Represented private equity firm in $200 million acquisition and development of five utility-scale wind projects in Eastern Oregon for sale of power to prominent Idaho utility.
Acquisition of UpWind Solutions
Represented Vestas, the world's largest manufacturer of wind turbines, in the $60 million acquisition of UpWind Solutions, Inc., an independent service provider for wind turbines in nine US states.
Public School Solar Rooftops
Represented public utility in the negotiation of license agreements for the installation of solar facilities on several Portland area school buildings.
World's Eighth-Largest Photovoltaic Solar Facility
Provided legal services in connection with the financing of EDF Renewable Energy's 143.2 MW Catalina Solar Project, which became operational in August 2013. When it opened, the facility in Kern County, California was EDF's largest PV facility in the U.S. and the 8th largest PV facility in the world.
Powerex Corporation v. Department of Revenue
Filed amicus brief on behalf of a regulated utility before the Oregon Supreme Court to determine the nature of electricity as "tangible personal property" for purposes of Oregon corporate excise tax.
Clean Air Act Permitting for Renewable Energy Projects
Prepared an analysis of air permitting requirements applicable to the construction of a hybrid gas-wind power generating facility in Oregon.
Water Rights Contested Case Defense
Represented hydro-power producers in water rights contested case proceedings before the Oregon Department of Water Resources and appellate courts.
Eastern Washington Wind Projects
Provided real estate counsel to the developer in the development and sale of over 1,250 MW of wind energy on over 100 parcels in eastern Washington. The operating projects are now a part of the renewable energy portfolio of a major Washington utility.
Timberland Wind Leases
Assisted utility scale wind developers to negotiate leases for development of privately owned commercial timberlands in Washington and North Carolina.
National Solar Practice
Provided real estate and title counsel to national renewable energy developer for potential utility-scale solar energy projects in 12 states.
Oregon Solar Highway
Counseled major Oregon utility on corporate, tax, finance and real estate issues surrounding three pioneering solar energy projects in the greater Portland area, including the first two installments of the Oregon Solar Highway, which seeks to use highway rights-of-way and rest stops for solar energy generation.
Local Financing Counsel
Served as Oregon counsel for consortium of national lenders to complete due diligence for construction financing of utility-scale Eastern Oregon wind project.
Real Estate Finance Opinion Practice
Provided legal opinions to national lender for loans secured by landowner payment stream under wind energy leases in Oregon and Washington.
Represented developer of three major biofuels refineries in the western United States.
Association of Public Agency Customers v. Bonneville Power Administration
Represented PGE in this dispute concerning BPA's 2012 Residential Exchange Program settlement. The program allows investor-owned utilities to obtain the benefit of low-cost BPA generated power for residential and small farm customer load. We intervened on the side of BPA to defend the settlement. It upheld on appeal, the settlement fixes exchange benefits for the next 18 years.
Dreyer v. Portland General Electric Company, 341 Or 262 (2006)
Obtained a writ of mandamus from the Oregon Supreme Court resulting in abatement of consolidated class actions related to the Trojan nuclear power plant.
Puget Sound Energy, Inc., PacifiCorp and the City of Seattle v. Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County, Washington, King County Superior Court Case No. 01-2-22126-4SEA
We intervened in this dispute concerning power sale contracts related to the Priests Rapid Hydroelectric Project on the Columbia River. We defeated the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction against Grant County PUD. Our efforts led to summary judgment in defendants' favor.
Tonkon Torp was lead counsel for a former executive officer and board member of Enron in dozens of federal and state court lawsuits in more than 20 states. We represented our client in civil lawsuit proceedings involving the Department of Labor and SEC, and a myriad of other proceeds obtaining favorable settlements to resolve all the proceedings before trial.
Oregon Trail Electric Consumer Cooperative, Inc. v. Catalyst Energy, et al
Represented Oregon Trail Electric Consumer Cooperative, Inc. in a PURPA contract dispute.
Wholesale Electricity Antitrust Cases I and II and the People of the State of California v. Portland General Electric Company, et al
Defended a utility in a variety of litigation arising out of the California energy crisis.
PPM Energy, Inc. v. Black Hills Power, Inc.
Represented an energy marketing company in arbitration claims for breach of an energy exchange agreement. The client was awarded $1.7 million in damages and favorable declaratory relief. The award was reduced to judgment in District Court, Jefferson County, Colorado.
BPA v. WPPSS, 956 F2d 1497 (9th Cir)
Represented Portland General Electric Company in litigation concerning the allocation of costs among twinned nuclear power plants.
Midway-Sunset Cogeneration Company v. Southern California Gas
Achieved judgment valued at more than $9 million for a breach of contract case involving a cogeneration facility.
PGE v. Warm Springs Tribes, U.S. District Court
On behalf of Portland General Electric Company, we overturned a $225 million arbitration award regarding PGE's obligations to the Warm Springs Indians.
PGE v. AMAX, Inc., 909 F2d 1577 (9th Cir)
This was one of several proceedings against AMAX concerning PGE's long-term coal supply agreement for the Boardman electric generating plant.
California Solar Development Purchase Options
Negotiated options to sell over 4,800 acres in California's Central Valley for a 700 megawatt potential solar energy project. If built, the projects will generate enough electricity for 300,000 homes.
Oregon Solar Projects
Represented the developer in the development, construction and sale of 7.3 megawatts of solar energy projects in Eastern Oregon, including Oregon's largest operating solar facility, the 5 MW Outback project.
Renewable Project Finance
Assisted global renewable energy developer with due diligence to prepare three renewable projects for the capital markets in advance of pending expiration of applicable federal tax credits.
Champlin/GEI Management Company, Inc. v. Huseby
Defeated motion for temporary restraining order filed against executive in federal court based on alleged breach of noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreement.
Represented Portland General Electric before the Oregon Public Utility Commission in proceedings concerning rate treatment of the company's unamortized investment in the Trojan Electric Power Plant.
Columbia River People's Utility District v. PGE, 40 F Supp 2d 1152
Defeated PUD's claim that agreement concerning utility's exclusive service territory violated federal antitrust law.