Law Seminars International Presents:

The Ninth Annual Conference on Legal and Business Developments for

Renewable Energy in the Midwest

Important new policies, incentives, opportunities and challenges

October 3 & 4, 2017

Minneapolis, MN
(or anyplace you may be via webcast!)

Download PDF Brochure
Seminar Image


Who Should Order

Attorneys, industry executives, governmental officials, Tribal representatives, consumer advocates and anyone involved with renewable energy infrastructure investment, public policy, and resource development

Why You Should Order

Each year we update this program to focus on new developments and, of course, this year brings us the Trump Administration's dramatic shift from the Obama era promotion of carbon-free renewables to promotion of traditional fossil fuels. As a result, this year we'll have less focus on federal policy and more on state renewables initiatives and the demand drivers behind those initiatives.

A big part of that is the Sustainable Communities Movement as an emerging driver for renewables development. We'll feature a discussion of development trends for solar gardens and other forms of community solar.

The consistent thing that remains is the impact on Midwest electric energy markets and grid operations. You'll hear from key players on ways centralized renewables could take on more of the characteristics of base load generation.

After laying this groundwork, we'll have special addresses by Commissioner Dan Lipschultz of the Minnesota PUC and Christopher Clark from Xcel Energy on policy priorities and business pros and cons for greater utility reliance on renewables.

The program will wrap up with a very practical discussion of essential project development contracts and the challenge of making them work in harmony. We hope you'll join us for what promises to be a very interesting, timely, informative discussion.

~ Alexandra Lipsky Mertens, Esq. of Stoel Rives LLP and Daniel A. Yarano, Esq. of Fredrikson & Byron PA, Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • ~ The big picture: Special addresses on state policy priorities and business pros and cons for greater utility reliance on renewables
  • ~ Changes in the federal backdrop for development of renewable energy resources in the Midwest
  • ~ Demand drivers for new renewable resources in the Midwest and the current policy responses
  • ~ The Sustainable Communities Movement as an emerging driver for renewables development
  • ~ Development trends for solar gardens and other forms of community solar
  • ~ New developments in regional transmission and coordination of markets
  • ~ Permitting strategies and policies for energy facilities
  • ~ Energy infrastructure development on Tribal lands: Lessons from Dakota Access Pipeline
  • ~ The devil in the detail: Essential project development contracts and the challenge of making them work in harmony

What Attendees Said

  • "Fantastic conference; perfect to meet the who's who of renewable energy in the Midwest."
  • "Topics were timely and ably addressed"
  • "Speakers were well informed and engaging"
  • "Really enjoyed the program."

Agenda Day 1

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

8:00 am

Registration Opens

8:30 am

Introduction & Overview

Daniel A. Yarano, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Fredrikson & Byron PA / Minneapolis, MN

Alexandra Lipsky Mertens, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Stoel Rives LLP / Seattle, WA

8:45 am

The Federal Backdrop for Development of Renewable Energy Resources in the Midwest; Issues at the State/Federal Divide; Other Factors Affecting State Policy Flexibility

Update on developments at DOE, EPA, and the FERC under the Trump administration and in the Congress

Jason A. Johns, Esq.
Stoel Rives LLP / Portland, OR

Federal preemption; dormant commerce clause issues for state procurement policies; appellate litigation update; areas where states will have discretion to pursue policies

Stan Berman, Esq.
Sidley Austin LLP / Seattle, WA

10:15 am


10:30 am

The State Backdrop for Energy and Environmental Policy: Demand Drivers for New Renewable Resources in the Midwest and Current Policy Responses

Overview of the issues and processes involved; implications for resource planning

Betsy Engelking , Vice President
Geronimo Energy / Edina, MN

New legislative and regulatory policy developments; pending and recently decided cases at the administrative and appellate court levels

Andrew P. Moratzka, Esq.
Stoel Rives LLP / Minneapolis, MN

12:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm

State Environmental Protection Priorities: Case Study of Minnesota

Permitting concerns and policies for energy facilities including electric generation and transmission plus oil and natural gas pipelines

Richard Davis , Environmental Review Manager
Minnesota Department of Commerce Energy Environmental Review and Analysis / Saint Paul, MN

2:00 pm

The Sustainable Communities Movement as an Emerging Driver for Renewables Development

Trends in development of local energy policies; special regulatory issues for municipalities and municipal utilities pursuing renewable energy resources

Richard Heinemann, Esq.
Boardman & Clark LLP / Madison, WI

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

Regional Transmission and Coordination of Markets: Opportunities for Centralized Renewables to Take on More Base Load Generation

Potential opportunities arising from the way the timing of intermittent renewable generation varies across the region and between solar and wind

Beth H. Soholt , Executive Director
Wind on the Wires / St. Paul, MN

Regional and interregional transmission system planning: MISO's planning for transmission and generation to ensure system reliability, enable market efficiency, and meet state and federal energy policies

Kari Valley, Esq. , Senior Corporate Counsel
MISO / Eagan, MN

Pros and cons from a utility resource planning perspective

Philip J. (P.J.) Martin , Director, Resource Planning
Xcel Energy / Minneapolis, MN

5:00 pm

Continue the Exchange of Ideas: Reception for Faculty and Attendees

Sponsored by Fredrikson Byron PA and Stoel Rives

Agenda Day 2

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

8:30 am

Solar Gardens and Other Forms of Community Solar

Update on who is doing what around the region: Opportunities and challenges

Darrick Moe , President & CEO
Minnesota Rural Electric Association / Maple Grove, MN

Amanda Rome, Esq. , Lead Assistant General Counsel
Xcel Energy / Minneapolis, MN

9:45 am

Energy Infrastructure Development on Tribal Lands: Lessons from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)

The impact on tribal receptivity to energy projects; lessons for approaching Tribes and obtaining Tribal consent; opportunites in Tribal preferences for renewables over fossil fuel projects

Troy A. Eid, Esq.
Greenberg Traurig LLP / Denver, CO

10:30 am


10:45 am

Special Addresses: Impact of State Policy Priorities and Business Pros and Cons for Greater Utility Reliance on Renewables

Renewables development and integration into grid operations: The broad range of issues including adaptation to disruptive technologies, ratepayer participation in pilot projects, cost recovery for storage; viability of, and alternatives to, net metering

The Hon. Dan Lipschultz, Esq. , Vice-Chair
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission / St. Paul, MN

Supplier perspective on market realities and the current incentives and disincentives for renewables development

Christopher B. Clark, Esq. , President
Xcel Energy / Minneapolis, MN

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

Deal Making Workshop: Essential Project Development Contracts and the Challenge of Making Them Work in Harmony

Direct sales to customers: Market opportunities in the region; essential elements and potential pitfalls in a direct sale Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

Charlie Daum , Managing Director, Business Development
Altenex LLC / Minneapolis, MN

Permitting: Current challenges and tips for keeping your contract terms up to date for contracts with permitting specialists

Eric Hansen, PE, PG , Director, Environmental Services
Westwood Professional Services / Eden Prairie, MN

Ensuring harmony: Transactional coordination, risk allocation, and financing for project development; special issues for repowering projects

Erik E. Malinowski, Esq.
Fredrikson & Byron PA / Minneapolis, MN

3:30 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Alexandra Lipsky Mertens, Alexandra Lipsky Mertens, Program Co-Chair, is a partner at Stoel Rives LLP. She focuses on energy finance matters, advising energy developers on the acquisition, development, financing, and sale of energy projects.

Daniel A. Yarano, Daniel A. Yarano, Program Co-Chair, is Co-Chair of the Energy Practice Group and chair of the Renewable Energy Group at Fredrikson & Byron PA. In the renewable energy market, he focuses on the wind, solar and biomass energy sectors and energy transmission.

Stan Berman Stan Berman is a partner at Sidley Austin LLP where he represents electric utilities and other electric industry participants in complex high-stakes litigation and appeals at FERC, state regulatory commissions, and in the courts. Previously, he was the Assistant General Counsel in charge of the Office of Hydroelectric and Electric Litigation at the FERC.

Christopher B. Clark Christopher B. Clark is President of Xcel Energy - Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Previously, he was Regional Vice President of rates and regulatory affairs - Minnesota. Prior to joining Xcel Energy, he worked as an in-house attorney for Alliant Energy.

Charlie Daum Charlie Daum is Managing Director for Business Development at Altenex LLC. Previously, he was a founding member of Geronimo Energy, a leading wind and solar developer. He has worked in many areas of the energy business, specializing in origination, PPA structuring, M&A and all aspects of project development.

Troy A. Eid Troy A. Eid co-chairs the American Indian Law Practice Group at Greenberg Traurig, LLP focusing on environmental enforcement, and energy and natural resource development. He formerly served as United States Attorney for the District of Colorado.

Betsy Engelking Betsy Engelking joined Geronimo Energy as Vice President in January 2012 and currently leads the Company's policy efforts. Previously, she was Director of Resource Planning for Xcel Energy, where she developed and implemented long-range power supply plans. She has also held positions with Great River Energy and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

Eric Hansen, PE, PG is Director of Environmental Services at Westwood Professional Services. His primary focus is on renewable energy and power delivery projects, including regulatory analysis, environmental due diligence, field application of remediation technologies, geo-engineering design, environmental remediation, and power line routing

Richard Heinemann, Richard Heinemann, Boardman & Clark LLP, provides legal services to municipalities and local governments throughout the upper Midwest. He advises clients on utility asset transfers, power supply and power purchase agreements, and renewable energy project development. He also serves as general counsel for three municipal electric joint action agencies and two intergovernmental commissions.

Jason A. Johns Jason A. Johns is a partner at Stoel Rives LLP. His experience includes the negotiation of major facility contracts, such as interconnection, transmission, and power purchase agreements, the prosecution of disputes at FERC, and counseling and defending clients on issues related to regulatory compliance.

The Hon. Dan Lipschultz, The Hon. Dan Lipschultz, Vice-Chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, was in private practice before being appointed to the commission. Before that, he served as Assistant General Counsel for a telecommunications carrier and as lead counsel in the Minnesota Attorney General's Residential Small Business Utilities Division and in the Public Utilities Division representing the Commission.

Erik E. Malinowski Erik E. Malinowski is a shareholder at Fredrikson & Byron PA. His practice focuses on the development and financing of renewable energy projects, helping his clients obtain and negotiate power purchase agreements, hedging or swap arrangements, project investment and finance documents, and project sale and acquisition agreements.

Philip J. (P.J.) Martin Philip J. (P.J.) Martin is Director of Resource Planning and Bidding for Northern States Power Company-Minnesota. Previously, he was a Portfolio Director and Energy Trader at ACES Power Marketing, engaged in trading and wholesale portfolio management activities on behalf of electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, IPPs, banks, and other customers.

Darrick Moe Darrick Moe is President & CEO of the Minnesota Rural Electric Association. He began his career in as an electrical engineer with Western Area Power Administration and has served on power system reliability committees for NERC, MRO, WECC, and the North American Transmission Forum.

Andrew P. Moratzka Andrew P. Moratzka is Chair of the Energy Development Practice Group at Stoel Rives LLP. He represents iron mines, paper companies, refineries, steel manufacturers and other large industrial customers in electric and gas rate cases and various regulatory matters at the state and federal level.

Amanda Rome Amanda Rome is Lead Assistant General Counsel at Xcel Energy and serves as regulatory attorney for its northern jurisdictions in five states. Previously she practiced commercial litigation at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP in Minneapolis and at Winston & Strawn LLP in Chicago.

Beth H. Soholt Beth H. Soholt is Executive Director of the non-profit Wind on the Wires (WoW) organization. Its members include non-profit environmental organizations, Tribal representatives, wind developers, wind turbine manufacturers, and businesses that provide goods and services to the wind industry.

Kari Valley Kari Valley is Senior Corporate Counsel at MISO. She serves as Director of State Regulatory Affairs for MISO's North Region. She previously served as Assistant General Counsel for Excel Energy and as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Minnesota.


Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 14 WI CLE credits; 12 CLE credits are pending for MN, ND, and OR. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.

Webcast Options

Video Replays allow you to time-shift your content. The streaming and Vodcast options have navigation tools and search capabilities that allow you to quickly find the portions most important to you. The Vodcast option also allows you to plug a flashdrive into your laptop and make effective use of in-flight plane time.

Audio Podcasts are perfect for making more effective use of the time you spend commuting.

Video Streaming System Validation

To make sure that your internal network will not block assess to the live or on demand webcast, please click here to test compatibility.

To make sure your network will not throttle the stream, please click here to test to check for a proxy server.. All should report false.


Webcast Screenshot

Webcast Presentation Focus

Webcast Screenshot

Webcast Speaker Focus