Overview

Stephen J. Humes is a partner in Holland & Knight's New York office and practices environmental, energy, public utility and infrastructure law. He has substantial experience advising clients on renewable energy project finance and development, especially grid scale and net metered solar photovoltaics, offshore wind and geothermal. For decades, he has advised clients on energy regulatory and environmental issues, including those associated with conventional and renewable power plant development, cogeneration, liquefied natural gas and pipeline facilities, geothermal and other utility facility siting matters. His energy-related environmental experience includes advising on environmental justice and climate change issues. Mr. Humes guides clients through state and federal administrative proceedings, including advancing rate cases in administrative litigation and defending clients in enforcement actions. He also counsels clients on a full range of state and federal environmental compliance and enforcement matters and handles energy and environmental issues effectively in corporate M&A transactions, including acquisitions and divestitures of power plants. Mr. Humes also advises and trains lawyers on cybersecurity matters of concern for the energy industry, including compliance with state and federal energy regulatory and reliability requirements and standards.

At a time of steadily increasing public and private support for investments in renewable and sustainable energy projects as a response to global climate change, Mr. Humes is a key member of the firm's Green Bank Financing Practice and International Energy Project Finance Team, supporting investments in North America and beyond. State sponsored green banks are growing rapidly to offer government assistance in stimulating private capital investments in clean energy and Mr. Humes provides energy regulatory and transactional advice in support of such transactions. Typical clean energy project finance transactions that Mr. Humes supports include solar PV from utility scale to residential, wind farms, geothermal projects in the Caribbean and Latin America, and distributed thermal energy storage projects that offset peak day electric demand. Mr. Humes has supported projects financed by major state green banks, International Finance Corporation, private equity providers and tax equity investors.

Mr. Humes represents independent power producers, exempt wholesale generators, PURPA- qualifying facility owners, retail electric suppliers, and electric and gas utility companies in transactions and administrative regulatory proceedings before such agencies as the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, Connecticut Siting Council, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, New York State Public Service Commission, ISO New England, New England Power Pool and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He has also advised competitive energy companies and the companies that finance them throughout the New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions.

Mr. Humes advises property owner and developer clients regularly on alternative energy facility development, including obtaining regulatory approvals, interconnection and other siting issues for solar PV, wind, bio fuels, geothermal, biomass and cogeneration. He frequently negotiates power purchase agreements, EPC agreements, and other financing and transactional documents in support of renewable energy project finance and development.

His representative experience illustrates the sophistication of legal matters handled efficiently and effectively for clients:

  • provided regulatory support for a 32 MW solar photovoltaic project, the largest solar project of its kind in the Northeast
  • represented project developer of multistate solar PV projects, including negotiating PPAs, EPCs, easements and supply chain agreements
  • provided regulatory and transactional support for 17 MW solar PV project in Mexico
  • administered general transactional and project finance counsel for 72 MW geothermal project operating successfully in Nicaragua
  • provided chief regulatory counsel for electric utility rate cases for owners of three natural gas fired power plants before the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (formerly the DPUC)
  • negotiated power purchase agreement and related documents for the development of the largest hospital-based solar installation in New Jersey
  • advised private equity-backed venture on solar PV regulatory strategies in New Jersey and other Northeast states in support of new business launch and conducted power purchase agreement negotiations for solar project developments undertaken upon launch
  • advised independent power producer on acquisition of 20 MW utility-scale solar PV project in the Mid-Atlantic region
  • advised clients regionally on identifying and qualifying for federal, state and local funds and incentives to support the development of renewable energy, energy efficiency and distributed generation facilities
  • advised major state green banks on energy regulatory and renewable energy project finance matters to support solar PV, wind farm, biomass and biogas transactions
  • counseled utility client in New Jersey on large scale solar PV project financing and development strategies
  • advised bio fuel ventures on project finance and development strategy and plant siting
  • counseled commercial real estate clients on negotiating agreements for solar and other renewable energy facilities and transactions involving renewable energy certificates
  • represented merchant generation client in competitive RFP procurement process conducted by the Connecticut utility regulators, contract negotiations, community and stakeholder outreach, and Connecticut Siting Council process in support of a new 130 MW peaking generation facility under development in Connecticut
  • assisted owner of private water utility, sewage treatment plant and golf course development concerning SPDES permit enforcement and corporate transactions in New York’s Hudson River Valley
  • mediated natural gas procurement dispute successfully in energy litigation between a large group of institutional natural gas customers and a competitive energy supplier in New Jersey
  • arbitrated construction dispute between geothermal project development in Nicaragua and international drilling contractor
  • successfully represented respondents before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in New England and Mid-Atlantic regions in Clean Air Act environmental enforcement proceedings relating to motor vehicle idling and hazardous air pollutants
  • represented major wireless telecommunications carriers in cell tower development proceedings before Connecticut Siting Council and in litigation, including arguing the first state supreme court case to be heard nationwide on a key issue (See Zhang v. Omnipoint, 272 Conn. 627, 2005) – whether historic electric utility easements permit wireless antenna installations) and successfully litigated other important wireless facility siting issues (See Corcoran v. Connecticut Siting Council, 284 Conn. 455, 2007)
  • responded to several major oil spills in the New York and Boston areas involving barge incidents on behalf of responsible parties and their insurers, in environmental cases governed by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws
  • assisted international energy company in identifying federal, state and local permitting issues and requirements in connection with major projects to develop marine LNG terminal facilities
  • advised international investors in power plant facilities in multiple transactions on due diligence in support of power plant acquisitions or divestitures
  • counseled property owners and energy facility operators on transactional and compliance issues pursuant to the Connecticut Transfer Act and New Jersey Industrial Site Recovery Act

Mr. Humes was appointed in 2009 by then Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell as the only privately practicing attorney to serve on the Connecticut Electric Vehicles Infrastructure Council, which produced a final report in September 2010, that made many regulatory and public policy recommendations to encourage the deployment of next generation plug-in hybrid vehicles in the state.

He is a frequent speaker on climate change, renewable energy, distributed generation and clean energy project development and finance issues and contributes actively to the production of cutting-edge continuing legal education programs presented nationally by the American Bar Association and by other energy and business organizations nationwide.

Experience

Credentials

Education
  • Quinnipiac University School of Law, J.D.
  • Fairfield University, B.S., Biology, Communications
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Connecticut
  • New York
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Memberships
  • Section, Division and Forum Coordination of the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, Chair of the Special Committee, 2014, 2015
  • American Bar Association, Task Force on Policy and Coordination within Environment, Energy and Resource Law Section, Co-Chair
  • American Bar Association, Standing Committee on Environmental Law, 2008-2011; Acting Chair, 2011
  • American Bar Association, Business Law Section Committee on the Environment, Energy & Natural Resources, Past Chair
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Connecticut Bar Association, Public Utility Law Section, Environmental Law Section, Past Chair
  • Rebuilding Together Hartford, Inc., Past President
  • Edison Electric Institute Legal Committee, Associate Member
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Environmental Law, Litigation - Environmental, 2011-2020
  • Who's Who Legal: Environment, 2016
  • Who's Who Legal, 2011
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Environment Law, 2011
  • Chambers USA Guide to Leading Lawyers, "Leaders in their Field," 2009, 2010
  • International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers, 2009

Publications

Speaking Engagements

News