Christopher B. Berendt concentrates his practice in the design and operations of the energy and environmental markets. He counsels clients on matters ranging from regulatory development and market strategy to advanced commodity and service procurements (retail and wholesale) and project/portfolio developments and financings. He is focused on the rise of distribution level resources.
Working with clients at all stages of energy and sustainability project development, Chris counsels on screening, structuring, and developing and financing projects for hosts, developers and investors. He also assists clients undertaking advanced energy commodity, service and equipment procurements.
Chris has assisted with pioneering efforts in the pooled origination, financing and securitization of clean energy project portfolios and to employ smart grid and microgrid technologies as dynamically managed load and onsite generation is becoming an asset in the power markets. He is a founder of, and counsel to, the Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC) and represents leading microgrid development projects.
In recent years Chris has supported a number of leading clean tech deals, including a Project Finance Magazine Deal of the Year for 2012 and a Bond Buyer Deal of the Year for 2013. Chris was named to the CleanTech 100 by LMG Clean Technology & Renewable Energy, the peer reviewed guide to the top 100 attorneys in the United States who practice in the clean technology and renewable energy space.
Further, he has represented some of the largest compliance entities and offset developers working in the carbon markets and on their design since inception . Chris has lectured on market regulatory and transactional issues for many years, most recently presenting on DER integration at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and automated contract systems/blockchain technology at the MIT Media Lab. Chris started his career on Capitol Hill, drafting energy and environmental market design legislation, and has testified before Congress.
Chris has more than 15 years of experience working in the energy and environmental markets. For example:
- Prior to returning to private practice, he served as Vice President at Pace Global Energy Services, LLC, a Siemens Company, in Fairfax, Virginia. He has helped lead development, offtake and financing for myriad clean energy projects, including wind, biomass, biofuel, landfill gas, natural gas, IGCC/CCS, cogeneration / combined heat and power as well as PV array generation. Further, he provided distributed energy resource / asset support to Pace’s leading C&I and MUSH energy management programs.
- Counsels clients on the design of the electricity markets, including the latest developments of wholesale and retail power supply options, onsite generation and metering, microgrid and distributed generation frameworks, energy storage, demand response, the energy, ancillary service and capacity markets as well as emissions market positioning for energy assets.
- Assists clients in wholesale liquid fuel rack, wet-hosing and travel center transactions (including biofuels) as well as in the CNG/LCNG markets.
Chris is counsel to, and a founder of, the MRC. Much of his regulatory practice is focused on new tariff design to recognize and compensate microgrids and other advanced distributed energy resources. As microgrids increasingly competitively provide standard products to ISOs/RTOs and custom, localized distribution grid support products to utilities, Chris is helping clients improve market access and gain enhanced measures of resource performance. For microgrid development, finance and operations, Chris’s transactional practice serves clients that include some of the world’s most advanced operating, grid-integrated microgrids as well as master developers building the next generation of microgrids.
Chris counsels clients in the industrial, financial and energy sectors in the design and execution of carbon strategy, inventories, supply chain and product positioning, regulatory and legislative positioning, voluntary frameworks development, green investments and complex compliance transactions and enforcement proceedings as well as green business development and integration. For example:
- 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.
In the renewable energy markets, Chris has counseled clients on RPS, RES and CES regulatory positioning and design since the state and federal policy arenas began consideration of these frameworks. For example:
- 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.
Chris worked on Capitol Hill in the early years of climate and clean energy framework development. For example:
- 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.
Since working on the Hill, he has been asked to return and brief Congressional Committees and staff on a range of energy market design, clean energy and climate change issues. He has testified before Congress, including in front of the full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on energy and environmental market design legislation.
Awards Methodology (www.drinkerbiddle.com/content/awards)
Chris is the creator and host of the Hot Air Show taped in Washington, D.C., at American University's Washington College of Law.
- District of Columbia
- 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
- 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)