Colorado has long been a hub for energy law. But is that set to change as the U.S. shifts away from oil and gas and toward renewable energy?
John Kellogg, co-chair of the advanced energy group at Moye White, thinks there is plenty of opportunity for Denver firms to lead in renewable energy law. For starters, Colorado is rich in both wind and solar resources, and the state is home to lots of companies involved in renewable development and financing. Colorado-based organizations like the Rocky Mountain Institute and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are influential in research, development and policy, Kellogg added.
“I think Colorado will become one of the leading hubs for the renewable energy transition,” he said. Moye White has embraced the transition by establishing a separate advanced energy practice, he said.
“As a Rocky Mountain-based law firm, it’s a natural place for us to go,” Kellogg said. “And it’s been a natural transition for many of our clients, some of whom were very active in traditional energy and are now becoming more active in advanced energy.”
Many of Kellogg’s first renewable energy transactions in the mid-2000s involved property owners whose fields had caught the eye of wind farmers. In the decade and a half since then, the Denver-based firm’s advanced energy practice has expanded beyond leasing agreements to representing developers and financiers in renewable energy projects across the country.
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Denver-based Holland & Hart has about 20 attorneys who focus heavily on renewable energy transactions, while another 80 or so handle renewables-related work at least occasionally, according to partner Billi McCullough, who entered the alternative energy niche at the firm about 13 years ago.
“We have made a conscious decision over the years to represent primarily developers and independent power producers,” said McCullough. Clients include developers of wind and solar farms that sell their power to big utility companies like Xcel Energy.