Sarah Johnson Phillips
Sarah Johnson Phillips is an associate in the firm's Energy Development practice group, where she focuses on energy project development, buying, selling and financing energy projects, and energy regulatory matters. She advises large wind and solar project developers on permitting and real estate matters, including obtaining major project permits, negotiating leases and easements, and title work. She also has particular experience working on distributed solar and community-shared solar projects, including negotiating offtake agreements, leases, financing arrangements, M&A transactions, interconnection agreements, and regulatory matters. In addition, Sarah works with large energy consumers on a range of regulatory issues and proceedings affecting ratepayers and regularly appears before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
Prior to joining Stoel Rives, Sarah served as a Minnesota Justice Foundation-sponsored law clerk at Farmers' Legal Action Group and a researcher for the Carbon Capture and Sequestration Regulatory (CCSReg) Project at the University of Minnesota. Prior to law school, Sarah worked for five years in the renewable energy nonprofit sector in Minnesota, concentrating on energy policy, community wind energy and climate change issues.
- Represented project developers obtaining permits and regulatory approvals in Minnesota and North Dakota for large wind energy projects.
- Drafted and negotiated wind and solar project leases and easements for projects ranging from rooftop solar projects to 200 MW wind projects in many states.
- Analyzed title reports, advised on title curative work, and negotiated title insurance policy endorsements for large wind projects in Midwest.
- Drafted and negotiated power purchase agreements, leases, renewable energy credit (REC) sale agreements, and interconnection agreements for distributed generation projects in many jurisdictions.
- Represented solar clients in a range of financing, tax equity, and M&A transactions.
- Assisted client in making a tax equity investment in a 100 MW wind project
- Represented large energy consumers on regulatory matters such as utility rate cases, utility resource plans, and other regulatory issues, including Xcel Energy’s 2014-2015 Minnesota rate case, Minnesota Power’s 2015 integrated resource plan, and Minnesota’s Clean Power Plan implementation process.
- Advised on project structures and regulatory frameworks for clients developing distributed solar energy projects, including community solar shared programs and net metering policies.
- Performed environmental, regulatory, and real estate due diligence clients acquiring or investing in wind energy, solar energy, biomass energy, industrial sand mining and agricultural processing facilities.
- Corporate Secretary, Wind on the Wires
- Member, National Mentoring Committee, Women of Wind Energy
- Member, Minnesota State Bar Association
- Member, Hennepin County Bar Association
- Member, Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy Law Section, Minnesota State Bar Association
- Regular contributor to the Stoel Rives Renewable Energy & Climate Policy Law Blog
- "Carbon capture and storage policy in the United States: A new coalition endeavors to change existing policy," (co-author), Global Environmental Change, Volume 21, Issue 2, May 2011, Pages 313-323
- "Twisting in the Minn. Wind," Law360, May 20, 2011
- "A Guide to Community Solar: Utility, Private and Non-profit Project Development," (co-author) National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Nov. 2010
- "Enhanced Oil Recovery as Carbon Capture and Sequestration," (co-author), White Paper, prepared for the California Carbon Capture and Storage Review Panel, Aug. 10, 2010
- "State Regulation of Geologic Sequestration: 2010 Update," (co-author), Proceedings of Ninth Annual Conference on Carbon Capture & Sequestration, Pittsburgh, PA, May 10 -13, 2010
- "State Policy on Geologic Sequestration," (co-author), CCSReg Project, Sep. 25, 2009
- "Community Wind Tool Box," Windustry, first published Dec. 15, 2006
- "Harvest the Wind: A Wind Energy Handbook for Illinois," (co-author), Jan. 1, 2004
- University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., 2009, cum laude
Symposium Editor, Minnesota Journal of International Law
Dean's List, 2007-2008
- Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, M.S. in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy, 2009
- Carleton College, B.A., geology, cum laude
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