Latham & Watkins guides participants in the power industry through every stage of planning, developing, investing in, permitting, and defending power transmission projects, including working with federal and state environmental and land management agencies and regional transmission operators.

Why Latham

Latham frequently represents clients in proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and state public utility commissions relating to transmission issues, as well as matters before regional transmission operators relating to market rules, transmission interconnections, and operational, scheduling and dispatch issues.

Delivering Effective Strategies

From project planning, environmental review and entitlements, equity and debt financing, to construction, and litigation, Latham assists developers, investors, lenders, and utilities in all stages of the development and financing of transmission projects. Latham also assists with other matters involving contracts, regulatory counseling, and disputes involving transmission projects.

Latham draws on more than four decades of experience advising clients across the power industry. With the largest team of full-time environmental and energy practitioners of any firm globally, Latham is well-positioned to help clients with transmission and substation projects. The practice combines project siting, development, finance, and regulatory experience to help clients navigate a complex labyrinth of regulatory bodies at every level of government. Latham’s permitting and regulatory lawyers are also seasoned litigators, and provide seamless and efficient defense against administrative appeals and courtroom challenges alike.

The firm represents a variety of key participants in the US electricity industry, including:

  • Alternative energy companies
  • Electric transmission and distribution utilities
  • Generation owners and operators
  • Private equity, infrastructure, and venture capital investors
  • Public and municipal utilities

In addition to advising on project siting, development, and financing of high-voltage transmission and substation projects, the practice has extensive FERC experience, and regularly assists developers in working through the regional transmission organization interconnection process. The firm has particular experience navigating the following statutes and regulations:

  • Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
  • Clean Water Act
  • Energy Policy Act of 2005
  • Federal Land Policy and Management Act
  • Federal Power Act
  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and state analogues
  • Endangered Species Act
  • National Historic Preservation Act and other cultural resource laws
  • National Forest Management Act
  • Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act
  • State public utility laws 
Leveraging Success

Latham lawyers have successfully advised on a range of notable environmental and energy regulatory, transactional, and litigation matters involving the electricity industry across the United States. Significant representative matters include:

  • Obtained approvals from various federal and state agencies, including the California Public Utilities Commission, US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Forest Service, for a leading Southern California utility developing a nearly US$2 billion, 170-mile renewable transmission line to bring renewable power to Los Angeles
  • Advised lenders on the initial construction and term financing, as well as the subsequent refinancing, of a US$1.1 billion, 240-mile, 500 kV transmission project located in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia. The project was financed through an innovative “project finance lite” model that Latham pioneered
  • Representing a company that owns and operates a bidirectional AC 345 kV merchant transmission facility between New Jersey and New York that allows customers to sell capacity and energy from PJM to the NYISO in a variety of FERC proceedings, including obtaining negotiated rate authorization and successfully litigating amendments to its interconnection agreement to eliminate significant PJM regional transmission upgrades charges
  • Successfully advised a Texas-based electric transmission developer on the financing of the construction and operation of 345-kV transmission lines and associated substations spanning 309 miles as part of the transmission facilities comprising the US$6.9 billion Competitive Renewable Energy Zone in Texas
  • Advised a major utility in the successful development of a first-of-a-kind conservation plan to address an Endangered Species Act issue across hundreds of thousands of miles of transmission and distribution lines in California
  • Represented a transmission developer on various matters related to the development of a series of proposed long-distance, high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission projects that would enable the delivery of 14,000 MW of wind energy from areas in the Great Plains and the Midwest to load centers in MISO, PJM and the Southeast. Work included assisting with interconnection issues in MISO and PJM and the negotiation of transmission service arrangements with anchor customers

Our Experience

Webcasts & Podcasts

Wildfire Implications on California Development: CEQA, Legislation, and More