Ed Zaelke, Dino Barajas Among Top Lawyers in Wind Industry per Legal Power List

(Washington, D.C.) – Akin Gump global finance practice head Ed Zaelke and cross-border transactions partner Dino Barajas have been named by A Word About Wind to its inaugural Legal Power List of the top 100 lawyers working in the wind energy space. AWAW selected honorees through a combination of industry nominations and research.

Additionally, Mr. Zaelke was one of two feature interviewees for the Legal Power List issue. Among the topics he covered:

  • The mood in the U.S. wind industry after passage of the production tax credit (PTC): “Very positive. The industry has struggled for years with these one- or two-year production tax credit extensions, and we hadn’t had a long-term PTC since 1992. The five-year extension of the PTC in December means we have an opportunity to drive down costs further by investing more in research and development.”
  • Challenges to windpower in the United States: “Trying to site wind farms is becoming more difficult. We are an industry that is interested in saving the planet and we must be sensitive to wildlife. And there is also transmission. We now have private companies like Clean Line Energy trying to bring transmission to windy areas. That’s not an easy process as our population centres are not where the wind blows hard. Getting power from Wyoming to Los Angeles takes you 1,500 miles of transmission lines, and nobody likes transmission lines as they don’t produce many jobs or much revenue for landowners.”
  • The significance of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs): “I think they will continue to play an important role. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some pushback from the utilities losing out to the wind companies as a result of these corporate PPAs. My sense is that utilities are willing to battle for market share with the power producers and likely to ask for stronger state regulation over corporate PPAs. These utilities have a lot invested in their systems and will be very protective regarding generation.”

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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