Practice Areas


Carolyn focuses her energy practice on electric utility matters, hydroelectric licensing, emerging renewables, and federal siting and eminent domain, representing clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), state utility commissions and in federal court proceedings.  Over the past two decades, Carolyn has been involved in most of the key FERC proceedings affecting the electric utility industry such including open access transmission, mergers, generation interconnection, RTO formation and governance issues and more recently, transmission incentives, cost allocation issues, reliability and demand response and smart grid.  Carolyn’s clients include municipalities, trade associations, state commissions and individual developers.

Most recently, Carolyn, along with Scott Hempling of NRRI co-authored a report for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) entitled Renewable Energy Prices in State Feed In Tariffs: Federal Law Constraints and Possible Solutions.


Carolyn helps emerging energy technology companies, from marine renewables to smart grid to position themselves in new markets and take advantage of opportunities in the green economy.  To this end, she tracks and advises on legislative and regulatory developments, participates in regulatory rule-makings, facilitates access to agency staff, assists with federal marketing efforts and drafts, develops and reviews power purchase and joint venture agreements.  Carolyn has assisted hydroelectric developers and marine renewables companies secure preliminary permits, licenses and new licenses from FERC (including the first marine renewables license issued by FERC); reviewed and negotiated stakeholder settlement agreements and developed a roadmap to commercialization for a major ocean thermal energy conversion (OREC) company.  Carolyn can also assist marine renewable and offshore wind developers in navigating the just-released MMS rules for leases on the OCS; she participated in MMS’ rulemaking on alternative energy leases on the Outer Continental Shelf drafting hundreds of pages of comments and briefing MMS staff.  Carolyn is also familiar with the Coastal Zone Management Act and emerging marine spatial planning initiatives both in the United States and overseas.

An internationally recognized expert on marine renewables, Carolyn is a frequent speaker or panelist at major industry conferences such as the American Wind Energy Association, the Global Marine Renewable Energy Conference and numerous others.   She has testified before congressional committees on coastal zone management and marine spatial planning and marine renewables siting, conducted workshops for Hill staff and state legislatures, and presented at consortia sponsored by the National Academy of Science, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the Minerals Management Service. Carolyn’s energy practice has been featured in the Washington Legal Times, ABA Journal, Maryland Daily Record and Lawyer’s Weekly (Canada), and Carolyn has been quoted in publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe.  Carolyn’s blog, is widely followed by congressional and regulatory staff, coastal community leaders and others in the renewable energy industry.


Complementing her regulatory and strategic planning expertise, Carolyn has extensive appellate experience, having handled more than thirty appeals (a majority, energy related). She is the only attorney to have successfully vacated not just one, but two, six-figure civil penalties issued by the FERC.  See Bluestone v. FERC, 74 F.3d 1288 (D.C. Cir. 1995)(vacating $206,000 civil penalty) and Clifton Power Corporation v. FERC, 88 F.3d 1258 (D.C. Cir. 1996)(vacating $122,000 penalty). To learn more about Carolyn’s FERC appellate practice, visit Carolyn has also handled appeals involving professional malpractice, MSPB/reduction in force and employment claims and Section 1983.


Carolyn gained experience with federal eminent domain through her work in FERC hydroelectric licensing, and has since expanded her federal eminent domain practice to pipeline certifications under the Natural Gas Act and federal transmission siting issues. Carolyn conducts workshops for businesses and stakeholders impacted by federal siting and is one of a handful of attorneys nationally who has successfully defended against a pipeline’s eminent domain action in federal court. Carolyn also thwarted a major utility company’s plans to develop a marina along an already congested cove located within a hydroelectric project boundaries.


In contrast to many other regulatory attorneys, Carolyn has cultivated litigation skills, including administrative hearings, jury trial experience, federal court motions practice and multi-party litigation in federal court in Section 1981 and 1983 involving employment discrimination, selective enforcement, equal rights, First Amendment and other constitutional violations and excessive force and eminent domain matters.   To serve clients with complex matters, Carolyn maintains affiliations with highly experienced litigation firms throughout the country.


Carolyn is a thought leader on social media and its impact on the energy industry. She advises on both the legalities and implementation of social media applications for regulators, utilities, landowners, developers and stakeholders.

Click here for information about how we work and bill .