In the News

Andrew Connor Leads Dykema Team that Helps Constellation Energy Complete Deal to Design, Build and Operate 27-Megawatt Biogas Co-Generation Power Plant for Los Angeles Sanitation’s Hyperion Facility

Complex 10-Year Agreement Results in New $130 Million Power Plant; Will Be Fully Operational in Late 2016

February 13, 2014

A team of Dykema attorneys, led by Andrew Connor—Chicago-based member in Dykema’s Corporate Finance practice—helped client Constellation,  a subsidiary of Exelon Corp., sign a deal to design, build and operate a 27-megawatt biogas co-generation power plant at the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation’s Hyperion treatment facility. The agreement was approved by the Los Angeles City Council on January 30, 2014.

The Dykema team—which included Jay Berlinsky (Chicago-based senior counsel, Corporate Finance) and two Los Angeles-based attorneys: Jason Grinnell (senior counsel, Real Estate) and Vivian Lee (associate, Litigation)—first began work on this project in early 2011, when Constellation enlisted the services of the firm to help in its preparation of the response to the LA Bureau of Sanitation request for proposals.

Led by Connor, the Dykema team—employing a cross-discipline, integrated approach—guided the development of what eventually became (at Dykema’s recommendation) a two-part agreement: one part covering EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) and the second addressing operations and maintenance of the facility, once completed. The agreement calls for Constellation and its subcontractors to develop and operate this facility for 10 years, with an option to extend the arrangement for an additional five years.

Connor notes that this project was as interesting and gratifying as it was complex. “The technology behind this power plant—which will cost $130 million to construct—is truly state-of-the art. It uses digester gas—a by-product of the wastewater process already in place at Hyperion—to produce electricity and steam. The steam will power a steam turbine to produce additional electricity, before then being used in the sewage treatment operation.”

He adds, “It was a pleasure drawing upon the talents of other Dykema professionals. Jay’s experience working with developers of energy facilities, and his understanding of the complexities of development and financing, was particularly helpful at the onset of this assignment. And Jason and Vivian provided useful insights in terms of understanding the California state and Los Angeles municipal ordinances and policies that this agreement needed to navigate successfully.”

The Constellation power plant will help lower emissions and provide a new energy source for Hyperion, one of the world’s 10 largest wastewater treatment facilities. In announcing the deal, Los Angeles Sanitation’s chief operating officer, Traci Minamide, said this new plant will “secure for our city a new energy source that is reliable, efficient and sustainable.”