Christopher B. Berendt

Partner

Overview

Christopher Berendt is an energy transactional and regulatory attorney. Chris focuses on project development and finance and strategic energy procurement in the wholesale and retail markets. Pioneering clients come to Chris to structure, paper and close advanced energy transactions, including the development of microgrids, renewable energy and storage, cogeneration, EV/alternative fuel fleets, and large-scale aggregated procurement of energy commodities and services. With more than 20 years of experience, including on Capitol Hill and as an executive in the private sector, Chris has in-depth knowledge of the design and operation of the energy and environmental markets.

Clean Energy Project Development & Finance

Chris’s project development and finance work focuses on renewable energy (power and fuels), cogeneration and fuel cells, energy storage and energy efficiency, as well as other cleantech infrastructure projects. He represents hosts and offtakers as well as developers, service providers, and investors. Over the years, he has worked on projects of all sizes, and for the last several he has have been focusing on microgrids and other advanced distributed energy resources. Chris combines his project development and energy management experience representing corporations in onsite and offsite renewable energy projects. Chris often serves as transaction/commercial counsel helping form and quarterback project deal teams. His years of business experience in the development, finance, and operations of clean energy projects complements his work as counsel for those same activities. He has supported a number of award-winning projects, include Project Finance Magazine and Bond Buyer deals of the year.

Commercial Energy & Environmental Transactions

Chris leads large-scale retail and wholesale energy commodity and service transactions, for large energy users (industrial, commercial, institutional, transportation, natural resources) and operating energy projects. For example, he runs transactions for:

  • Electricity (energy, capacity and ancillary services)
  • Steam
  • Renewable Energy Certificates / Green power
  • Natural gas, including CNG/LNG/CLNG
  • LPG/Propane
  • Renewable Natural Gas
  • Biofuels (solid and liquid)/RINs
  • Liquid fuels
  • Operations and maintenance
  • Energy and asset management
  • Energy-as-a-service
  • Performance contracting services
  • Voluntary Carbon Offsets/Credits
  • Compliance Carbon Allowances and Offsets
  • Other Environmental and Energy Commodities

M&A, Corporate Energy & Environmental Strategy

Chris works with the M&A, corporate and securities teams to assist investors with diligence, strategy and disclosure in the cleantech and sustainability sectors. Prior to returning to private practice, Chris was a vice president at the management consultancy and energy management firm Pace Global Energy Services in charge of energy and environmental strategy. At Pace, he advised executive teams and boards of major electric and gas utilities, midstream companies, independent power producers, large commercial and industrial energy users, and natural resource companies — often helping clients look ahead over the changing regulatory and technology landscape to new markets and business lines. Today, Chris uses that experience to counsel clients on identifying and building new project and PO/SO pipelines, establishing and executing go-to-market strategies and diligence investment targets in the clean energy and environmental markets. Chris is skilled at parsing trends, guiding clients through the value impacts of market designs and conditions, and assessing the strength of commercial relationships and agreements.

Electricity Market Design

Chris’s clean energy practice includes electricity market design. Chris works with state PUC and FERC dockets and engages in state and federal legislative design aimed at grid modernization. In this capacity, Chris draws on experience working as an analyst on Capitol Hill. He represents and serves on the board of the Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC), a group Chris cofounded to advance microgrids as a resource category.

Environmental Markets, Sustainability and Climate Change

Chris’s practice has long focused on environmental markets, climate change and sustainability. He has worked on compliance and voluntary environmental market design, including developing legislation, regulations, standards, and protocols, since the inception of environmental markets as a regulatory flexibility mechanism. His work focuses on the carbon and renewable energy certificate markets, and he has conducted nearly every type of environmental attribute/ instrument/commodity transaction. He has co-chaired drafting committees for the ABA, ACORE, and EMA creating Model/Master/Standard Agreements. He is experienced with ESG program development, climate risk disclosure, product and service environmental performance claims and substantiation. Chris assists clients with GHG inventory and program development, as well as offset project development.

Chris has briefed congressional committees and staff and has testified before Congress on energy and environmental market design legislation.

Representative Experience

  • Assists clients in wholesale liquid fuel rack, wet-hosing and travel center transactions (including biofuels) as well as in the CNG/LCNG markets
  • Developed complex GHG inventories and compliance cost recovery mechanisms for supply chains and distribution networks
  • Experienced in counseling carbon offset project developers, investors and offtakers on pre-compliance, compliance and voluntary market transactions for all US project categories, protocols and standards
  • Developed origination pipeline business models for clients and advised on the creation of some of the largest domestic landfill gas and forestry carbon project portfolios
  • Advised on projects and for companies that have won numerous awards for energy and climate innovation
  • Advised buyers and sellers on primary and secondary market REC transactions in every major state RPS in the country
  • Recognized for many years as an industry leader for his development of best practices as well chairing the drafting of standard agreements for the REC markets
  • Experienced as project counsel for renewable energy and clean energy developments of all types
  • Helped draft the first pieces of market-based climate change legislation introduced as well as multiple clean energy focused bills
  • Experienced in advising transacting clients on legislative and regulatory strategies, structuring contracts to anticipate the design and development of future federal, state/regional and international energy and environmental regimes

Faculty Positions; Select Educational Efforts

  • MIT Media Lab — Occasional Guest Lecturer for Computational Law Course
  • Princeton Woodrow Wilson School — Guest Lecturer
  • Host and Creator of the Hot Air Show — American University Washington College of Law

Personal Interests

Scouting, archery, gardening and bee keeping.

Credentials

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

Education

Vermont Law School
J.D. magna cum laude Vermont Law Review, Editorial Board, Environmental Editor

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business
Executive Leadership Acceleration Program

Kenyon College
B.A. Synoptic Major

Insights & Events

Leadership & Community

Pro Bono

Chris assists Catholic Energies in planning and structuring clean energy projects.

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association (ABA)/Environmental Markets Association (EMA)/American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), Environmental and Energy Trading Working Group, Co-Chair
  • ABA, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, Energy Market and Finance Committee, Founding Vice Chair (Past Co-Chair); Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Ecosystems Committee, Environmental Attributes and Renewable Markets (Past Vice Chair, Special Issues); Renewable & Distributed Energy Resources Committee (Past Vice Chair)
  • ACORE Climate Change Committee, Founding Co-Chair
    • ACORE Leadership Council (Past Member)
    • ACORE Smart Grid Working Group (Past Member)
    • ACORE Power Generation & Infrastructure Advisory Committee (Past Member)
  • EMA Market Oversight Committee (Past Member)
  • Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Climate, Energy and Environment Policy Committee (Past Appointed Committee Member)
  • Microgrid Resources Coalition — Co-Founder, Board Member, Executive Committee, and Co-Counsel

Civic Activities

  • Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts
  • Loudoun County Food Bank
  • Lutheran Church

Honors

  • International District Energy Association and the Microgrid Resources Coalition, 2018 Chairman Awards
  • CleanTech 100 | LMG Clean Technology & Renewable Energy

Awards Methodology

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