Clean Energy

SMW represents non-profit, governmental, and private company clients in diverse areas related to the promotion of a sustainable energy future.

Renewable Energy

The firm's work on renewable energy and distributed energy resources includes distributed generation, energy storage, electric vehicles, demand response, and energy efficiency. The firm participates in regulatory proceedings at state public utility commissions and other state and federal regulatory bodies on behalf of clients interested in renewable energy rulemakings, rate-setting, programmatic development, and project siting, as well as adjudicated disputes. As part of this practice area, the firm also drafts and reviews renewable energy agreements, including power purchase agreements, interconnection agreements, leases, and easements. The firm’s regulatory and transactional experience includes the following policy areas:

  • Interconnection and Renewable Energy Integration
  • Community and Shared Renewable Energy
  • Net Metering
  • Grid Modernization
  • Renewable Energy Permitting and Project Development

Examples of SMW's renewable energy work include:

  • California Rule 21 interconnection procedures: The firm is currently engaged in the California Public Utility Commission’s interconnection proceeding, with a focus toward appropriately incorporating energy storage into California’s existing interconnection procedures and further streamlining the review of distributed generators. These cutting-edge improvements are expected to drive changes to other states’ interconnection procedures. The firm is also active in interconnection proceedings in various other states including New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, and South Carolina.
  • Minnesota Community Solar Gardens program: After launching its immensely popular Community Solar Gardens (CSG) program in 2014, Minnesota has continued to wrestle with certain programmatic elements, including identifying appropriate grid locations for and interconnection of the solar gardens. SMW is participating in the Public Utility Commission’s CSG and grid modernization proceedings in an effort to ensure the CSG program is successful.
  • Massachusetts Grid Modernization Plans: The investor-owned utilities in Massachusetts released their required Grid Modernization Plans in 2015. The firm is engaged in reviewing these plans and ensuring that they adequately address the integration of distributed resources into the utilities’ distribution systems and planning.
  • Power Purchase Agreements: SMW negotiated a mutually beneficial electric service agreement with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to provide electric power to the new Transbay Transit Center Project.
  • Ground Leases: The firm represented Marin Clean Energy, a joint powers agency energy aggregator, in ground lease negotiations with Chevron to construct a photovoltaic electric power generation facility on an urban brownfield site.

Siting Proceedings

SMW has also successfully represented environmental groups and local and tribal governments in California Energy Commission and California Public Utilities Commission siting proceedings. On behalf of the Environmental Health Coalition, the firm helped convince the CEC to reject a poorly-sited natural gas plant. Representing Save Southwest Riverside County, the firm helped convince the CPUC to reject, on economic and reliability grounds, a 500-kilovolt transmission line proposed by San Diego Gas & Electric Company. SMW is currently representing the Colorado River Indian Tribes in siting proceedings to document the significant cultural harms that result from siting of utility-scale renewable projects in the Mojave desert. The firm also represents the City of Oxnard in proceedings before the CPUC and the CEC in opposition to a proposal to build a new gas-fired power plant on the City’s coastline.