As Congress and the Obama Administration emphasize a more efficient utilization of natural resources, the American Bar Association (ABA) has created a new group to address green energy.
Called the Renewable Energy Committee, the organization’s goal is to improve research and scholarship in solar, wind and other natural resources and to make programs available that would benefit both the legal profession and U.S. public.
Tapped to chair the committee is Jonathan Wilson, a corporate attorney at Atlanta-based Taylor English Duma LLP (taylorenglish.com). Wilson, a 15-year member of the ABA’s Public Utility Section—which focuses on the communications and energy industries—also founded the section’s Internet Industry Committee in 1996. As a founding chair of the Renewable Energy Committee, he plans to:
• Recruit at least 100 members by spring 2010.
• Hold regular Web-based seminars on renewable energy.
• Build a nationwide database of state-level renewable incentives.
Wilson’s first role as chairman was to lead a three-day panel discussion in Aspen, Colo. during the week of Oct. 5. Topics included energy tax credits, “smart grid” technologies, emissions regulation, cap-and-trade, and renewable energy portfolio standards. Attending the roundtable were attorneys from major Wall Street and D.C. firms, several electrical co-ops, PPL Corp. (NYSE: PPL), Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) and more.
“The strong interest in this committee shows something has definitely changed in the public utility industry,” Wilson said. “Everybody recognizes the value of energy independence and renewable energy. But the questions are: How big a role should renewables play? How should the government be involved? How can companies take advantage of incentives? We’ll be addressing these crucial questions and more in the Renewable Energy Committee.”
Wilson is a member of Taylor English’s Business Transactions, Corporate & Taxation group and has deep experience in transformative technologies. As a former counsel for several pioneering Web companies in the mid 1990s, Wilson sees the renewable energy market in a similar place now as the Internet industry was then.
“The emergence of the World Wide Web re-shaped the world 16 years ago,” Wilson said. “Green energy promises to be that next revolution.”
Membership in the Renewable Energy Committee is limited to members of the ABA’s Public Utility Section. To become a member, contact section staff director Sue Koz at 312-988-5604 or kozs[.]staff.abanet.org.