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  1. Energy and natural resources: power
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‘One of the top energy practices in Canada’, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP provides ‘excellent and effective energy law support nationally’. The firm is particularly praised for its ‘bright and knowledgeable people’, with national electricity team lead Linda Bertoldi singled out as ‘one of the best lawyers in Canada’. Bertoldi has a broad practice covering project development, finance matters and M&A. The Toronto group also benefits from the transactional expertise of Shane Freitag, highlighted as ‘great at solving difficult issues’. Mark Rodger, who jointly chairs the Toronto regional electricity group alongside Freitag, is recommended for regulatory issues. Eminent energy litigator Randall Block QC is a key contact in Calgary, while Robert Shouldice is recommended in Vancouver. In a recent example of its ability to manage multifaceted matters, the team advised a municipality on the sale of an electricity distribution company in a complex deal that also involved significant regulatory elements.

The ‘fantastic all-round group’ at McCarthy TĂ©trault is lauded for its ‘great expertise in all key areas’. Transactional work is a key pillar of the practice, in line with its firm-wide strength, and it is also sought after for its niche expertise in wholesale market governance. In a highlight deal, Suzanne Murphy acted alongside the corporate team to advise NextEra Energy Partners on the $1.2bn sale of a portfolio of four wind and two solar generation projects to an affiliate of CPPIB. Department lead SeĂĄn O’Neill also had an active year on the renewables side, which included advising Samsung Renewable Energy on both the sale of its interest in Windsor Solar LP and on the sale of its interest Southgate Solar LP. Marc Dorion Ad E, who splits his time between Quebec City and Montreal, heads the natural resources group in Quebec and was part of the team that advised Innergex Renewable Energy on its C$1.1bn acquisition of Alterra Power. High-profile senior counsel George Vegh heads the Toronto energy regulation practice and advised on the regulatory aspects of the NextEra deal. Infrastructure and projects lead David Lever and project finance specialist Stephen Furlan are also recommended. Named partners are based in Toronto unless otherwise stated.

Stikeman Elliott LLP’s power practice is represented throughout the firm’s generous national network, with robust footholds in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary. The group, which acts for an impressive stable of energy companies, public bodies, project developers and lenders, has strong capability in both transactional and regulatory matters — the recent addition of Calgary-based Dennis Langen from Dentons adds further firepower in terms of the latter. Among its recent highlights, Toronto-based energy co-chair Glenn Zacher advised ITC Holdings on the development of the $1.5bn cross-border ITC Lake Erie Connector project. ‘Rising star’ and project finance co-head Patrick Duffy, also in Toronto, advised Atlantic Power on negotiating enhanced dispatch contracts with the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). Calgary’s Keith Miller heads the energy regulatory practice in Alberta and is advising the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) on its application to the Alberta Utilities Commission for approval of its proposed 2018 independent system operator (ISO) tariff. Key names on the transactional side include Montreal’s Erik Richer La Flùche and Toronto’s Eric Bremermann. High-profile transactional specialist Jim Harbell retired from the partnership in 2018 but continues to advise on several projects.

A ‘standout performer’, Torys LLP impresses with its ‘great understanding of business needs’ coupled with its ability to ‘leverage its commercial awareness to provide strategic business advice’. Balanced between regulatory and transactional expertise, the group is regarded as ‘a top firm for energy law in Toronto’ — it is also ‘very strong in Alberta’. The ‘strategic and knowledgeable’ Krista Hill jointly heads the team and is advising Ontario Power Generation (OPG) in relation to the Ontario Fair Hydro Plan Act, which gives OPG the authority to establish financing entities to raise debt to finance rate reductions, worth around C$1bn-C$2bn annually. Regulatory stalwart Charles Keizer jointly heads the department and, together with Crawford Smith, advised Alectra on its first post–merger rate application and request for incremental capital funding before the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). On the projects front, Keizer and the ‘smart, practical and extremely responsive’ Valerie Helbronner are advising Wataynikaneyap Power on the C$1.4bn development and financing of a high-voltage transmission line in northwestern Ontario. In Calgary, Luigi Cusano is a key contact and advises city-owned utility ENMAX on regulatory matters. Project finance head Jonathan Weisz is ‘extremely good in his field’. Named partners are based in Toronto unless otherwise stated.

Bennett Jones LLP has a prominent record in energy infrastructure deals — including generation, transmission and distribution projects — and it routinely acts on behalf of utilities, developers, lenders and regulatory boards. The department is particularly strong in Calgary, which is the seat of power and renewable energy group lead David Macaulay; he is representing key client ATCO Power Canada in commercial and contentious matters stemming from the government’s coal phase-out.  Loyola Keough, also based in Calgary, is highly regarded for energy regulation and is advising ATCO Electric on regulatory issues connected to the construction of its Eastern Alberta Transmission Line. David Bursey is a key contact in Vancouver.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP’s power practice is well represented nationally, with robust platforms in Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. M&A and project finance provide the bulk of instructions and the firm also houses a capable regulatory offering. Transactional specialist Peter Keohane is a key contact in Calgary and advised Suncor Energy on the sale of its 50% interest in the Ripley Wind Project joint venture to Acciona Wind Energy Canada. Scott Clarke, also based in Calgary, advised BluEarth Renewables on its C$600m acquisition of four renewable energy facilities from Veresen. On the regulatory side, Toronto’s Bryson Stokes advised the Ontario Ministry of Energy on the new Ontario Fair Hydro Act. Project finance specialistSĂ©bastien Vilder is recommended in Montreal.

‘Among the best globally for nuclear law’, Gowling WLG also shines in the renewable and conventional power areas. On the nuclear side, Ahab Abdel-Aziz is ‘forceful when needed and vastly experienced’; he acted for Rusatom Overseas on the negotiation of four contracts with the Nuclear Power Authority of Egypt to construct four nuclear reactors, worth over $30bn. Paul Harricks heads the energy group and advised Entegrus on the acquisition of unregulated fibre assets and the acquisition and merger of two regulated electricity distributors. On the regulatory side, Ian Mondrow advised Entegrus Powerlines on various matters. Other senior names include Paul Murphy (‘a standout global lawyer on nuclear financing issues’), renewable energy lead Thomas Timmins and Calgary-based regulatory expert James Smellie. Named partners are based in Toronto unless otherwise stated.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s comprehensive national practice benefits from experienced teams in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. The firm’s sector focus is equally broad, with conventional power, renewable energy and climate change all notable areas of expertise. On the transactional front, Ottawa-based Andrew Pritchard advised a hydroelectricy client on various acquisitions in Canada and the US. In Calgary, David A. Eeles and John P. Carleton are acting for an electric system operator a major renewable electricity procurement program. In another regulatory highlight, Montreal partners Éric Dunberry and Marie-Christine Hivon are advising a hydroelectricy client on regulatory applications. In Vancouver, Matthew D. Keen is a ‘rising star’.

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s power practice, which is active across the gamut of commercial, financing, corporate and regulatory matters, ‘ranks among the best in Ontario’, according to some. It also has an increasingly strong presence in Calgary, which was further strengthened by the arrival of Craig Spurn from McCarthy TĂ©trault. Toronto-based Rocco Sebastiano heads the department and is advising Bruce Power on the C$13bn Bruce Power Major Component Replacement Program, as part of the refurbishment of the Bruce Power Nuclear Generating Station. Toronto’s Jacob A. Sadikman ‘knows the power sector inside out’ and advised TransCanada on the C$540m sale of its Ontario solar portfolio to Axium Infinity Solar LP. Richard King, also in Toronto, is recommended for regulatory issues and led the regulatory advice to Hydro One in its $6.7bn acquisition of Avista.

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP’s group, which is ‘among the best for complex commercial and finance matters’, is distinguished by its ‘strong expertise and very talented lawyers’. In particular, Toronto-based Nicholas Williams combines ‘incredibly deep experience’ with ‘excellent knowledge of the electricity industry’; he and Montreal’s Franziska Ruf advised PSP Investments on several strategic initiatives with Pattern Energy Group, including the acquisition of a 9.9% interest in Pattern Energy. Toronto-based environmental specialist Sarah Powell is active on the regulatory side.

The ‘good and solid team’ at Dentons ‘works seamlessly across global markets’. In an example of its cross-border capability, the Canadian energy department (with a team including Calgary-based M&A co-head William Jenkins, Toronto-based power lead Vivek Bakshi and Calgary’s David Lefebvre) acted alongside the Berlin and Los Angeles offices to advise Enbridge on the C$1.7bn sale of a 49% interest in certain North American power assets and a 49% interest in two German offshore wind projects to CPPIB. On the regulatory front, Calgary partners Bernard J Roth and Laura K. Estep are ‘experienced counsel’.

FASKEN’s national energy group is led jointly by Ron Ezekiel and AndrĂ© Turmel from Vancouver and Montreal respectively. The team also draws upon the senior expertise of energy regulatory expert and managing partner Peter Feldberg, who splits his time between Calgary and Toronto. Feldberg, together with Vancouver’s Robert Lonergan, is advising BC Hydro on the regulatory and Aboriginal law aspects of its flagship Site C Clean Energy Project. On the transactional side, Ezekiel advised Teck on the C$1.2bn sale and leaseback of a partial interest in a hydroelectric facility to a regulated utility.

Vancouver-headquartered Lawson Lundell LLP is best known for its prominent record in regulatory matters and it also brings to bear a robust record in transactional work. In a recent example of the latter, energy and environmental specialist Lana Shipley advised BC Hydro on the acquisition of Teck’s C$1.2bn interest in the Waneta Hydroelectric Generating Facility. Senior counsel Chris Sanderson QC remains a sought-after name in the regulatory space and litigator Jeff Christian is also highly regarded.

Toronto firm Aird & Berlis LLP attracts strong praise for its ‘excellent commercial expertise’, with Ron Clark highlighted as a ‘leader in his field’. The department also draws upon the specialist experience of litigators Fred Cass and Dennis O’Leary, who together chair the energy group.

Energy and infrastructure are key pillars of Lavery, de Billy’s offering and the firm possesses a broad practice, with robust skill sets in project development, project finance, joint ventures and M&A. Montreal-based Dominique BĂ©lisle is recommended for project development and financing.

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