The Basics of Renewable Energy Finance

September 21, 2018 8:30 am — 5:30 pm
New York, NY (and webinar)



CLE Conference co-sponsored by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, the New York State Bar Association Environment and Energy Section, the New York City Bar Association International  Environmental Law Committee, the New York City Environmental Law Leadership Institute, and the Energy Bar Association.

ELI is also a proud sponsor of Climate Week NYC !

This conference served as an introduction to the basics of renewable energy finance for environmental and energy lawyers whose work touches on this area. The program explored core legal concepts and documents.


PART A:  The Basics of  Renewable Energy Finance

8:30 am


9:00 am

Introductory Remarks: Michael B. Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Profesor of Professional Practice, Columbia Law School

9:10 am

Panel 1:  Demystifying Terminology and Concepts in Renewable Finance and Fundamentals of Key Legal Documents; Introduction to International Energy Finance

This panel covered key legal documents for a financeable project, purpose and parties to the documents, how the documents interact with one another as well as drafting tips. Key documents discussed included Power Purchase Agreements; Energy Performance Contracts; Engineering, Procurement and Construction Agreements; Operations & Maintenance Agreements; Subordination, Non-Disturbance Attornment and Consent Agreements; and Consent and Assignment Agreements. Panelists introduced the capital stack, and discussed the basics of renewable energy in the international arena.

10:35 am

Panel 2:  Ratemaking 101 and Introduction to the Electric System and Basics Regarding Rate Components and Types of Rates

This panel covered fundamentals of the electric system and components of rates, identities and roles of key actors, important differences between restructured and non-restructured markets and types of utility rates. Panelists discussed generation (energy v. capacity), transmission, delivery, sales and marketing, and surcharges and taxes, as well as fixed charges vs. volumetric, demand (peak vs. coincident), and standby rates.

  • Ted Kelly, Assistant Counsel, New York Department of Public Service

  • Mary Krayeske, Associate Counsel, Consolidated Edison Inc.

  • Romany Webb, Climate Law Fellow, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School

12 noon

Lunch & Keynote:  John Pendergrass,  Vice President Programs & Publications, Environmental Law Institute

PART B:  The Basics of Renewable Energy Regulation, Rates and Pricing

12:45 pm

Panel 3:  ISOs, RTOs, and the Wholesale Market

Experts on this panel introduced the role of ISOs and Regional Transmission Organizations in bulk power system operations, markets and planning, and will discuss the fundamentals of the Federal Power Act. This panel provided a basic introduction aimed at those unfamiliar with energy markets, including an introduction to RTO and ISO roles in operating power systems and markets for energy, capacity and ancillary services.  Panelists will also highlight their roles long-term transmission system planning, public policy considerations, and interconnection. Panelists discussed single-state and multi-state dynamics, comparing and contrasting the New York ISO’s role with that of ISO New England, a regional RTO serving Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and most of Maine, and discussed the role of consumer advocates in the process. 

2:25 pm


2:35 pm

 Panel 4:  Financial Incentives for Renewable Energy Projects

This panel covered various financial incentives for renewable energy projects, including federal and state tax-based incentives as well as non-tax based incentives.

3:25 pm

Panel 5:  Evolutions in Ratemaking

Panel 5 covered the developments in renewable energy ratemaking system, including  performance-based ratemaking, energy efficiency, demand response, as well as diverse methods applied to distributed generation, such as net metering, buyback rates, feed-in tariffs, value of solar and value of distributed energy resources. This panel discussed trends in New York as well as approaches being adopted around the country.

  • Tamara Dzubay, Clean Energy Finance Specialist, Environmental Law & Policy Center

  • Ted Kelly Assistant Counsel, New York Department of Public Service

  • Elizabeth Stein, Senior Manager, New York Clean Energy Law & Policy, Environmental Defense Fund

4:15 pm

Panel 6:  Community Engagement & Participation in Renewable Energy Projects

Community engagement is a critical component to a successful renewable energy project. This discussed community participation in rate cases, at the grassroots level, and in between.

5:05 pm

 Closing Remarks:  Caitlin McCarthy, Director, Associates Program, Environmental Law Institute



Speaker presentations are available above.


Panel 1:

Panel 2:

Panel 3:

Panel 4:

Panel 5:

Panel 6:


Information Regarding New York CLE Credits:

Columbia Law School has been certified by the New York State Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Board as an Accredited Provider of CLE programs. Under New York State CLE regulations, this live classroom and live simultaneous transmission transitional and non-transitional CLE Program will provide 8 credit hours that can be applied toward the Areas of Professional Practice requirement. This CLE credit is awarded only to New York attorneys for full attendance of the Program in its entirety. Attorneys attending only part of the program are not eligible for partial credit. Attendance is determined by an attorney's sign-in and sign-out, as shown in the Conference registers. On final sign-out, attorneys should also submit their completed Evaluation Form, provided at the Conference. Please note the NYS Certificates of Attendance will be sent to the email address as it appears in the register unless otherwise noted there.


  1. All in-person attendees seeking credit must sign in when they arrive and out when they leave, noting the times at which they have done so.  Credit will not be issued to attorneys who do not comply with the sign-in procedure. Attendees will also have to fill out an evaluation form which will be provided at the event site.
  2. Webinar attendees: a panelist or moderator will read out a code in the middle of each panel session which the attendees participating via webcast must record on their affirmations next to each session number. Download the AFFIRMATION form HERE so that you have it available during the event.
  3. IMPORTANT : Webinar attendees must return hard copies of both the AFFIRMATION FORM and the EVALUATION FORM to: Columbia Law School, Box B12, 435 W. 116th Street, New York, NY 10027. These documents should be completed and mailed by Tuesday, September 25th in order to facilitate the timely completion of the CLE process.
  4. Once all forms are received, it takes approximately 4-6 weeks to process and distribute CLE certificates. Contact Jessica Watt at with questions regarding CLE certificates.