J. Michael Childers

Partner

Atlanta
Business Phone: 404.885.3657
Business Fax: 404.885.3900

michael.childers@troutmansanders.com

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Mike Childers has a unique combination of experience as an outside counsel representing clients on a wide range of transactional and environmental matters and as an executive manager of the environmental, health and safety (EH&S) function of an international power generation company and a large heavy civil construction company engaged in the business of building roads and bridges.

Mike’s transactional practice focuses primarily on electric utilities and independent power producers and covers a wide range of transactional representation for such clients. Mike has significant experience with project development and construction of many types of power plant projects, specifically including clean coal, gas-fired, and a special emphasis in more recent years on utility scale renewable projects such as solar, wind and biomass. Mike’s expertise on these projects is comprehensive and includes joint venture and teaming agreements, all types of construction contracts with many different pricing structures, major equipment procurement contracts, power purchase agreements, and O&M agreements. Mike also has represented electric utilities and independent power producers with respect to the purchase and sale of energy assets, including gas-fired power plants and renewable projects such as solar, wind and biomass. Mike’s representation of electric utilities and independent power producers also includes substantial experience with complex long term service agreements for gas-fired power plants and comprehensive transactional support to the supply chain organization, including procurement and construction contracts for major retrofit projects and fuel conversion projects.

Mike’s transactional practice also includes the representation of other commercial clients on distributed generation projects, including fuel cells and ground mounted and rooftop solar. These representations cover a wide range of transactional subject matter, including construction contracts, power purchase agreements, lease agreements, and service agreements.

Mike’s work on energy projects and other large industrial projects frequently spans the duration of the project, from the RFP stage through the completion of construction and commissioning, including legal advice and support on disputes with contractors and vendors on matters such as change orders, delays, inefficiency claims, performance guarantees, warranties, liquidated damages, force majeure claims, and defaults. Mike brings significant practical knowledge and experience into the preparation and negotiation of major project contracts such as construction and procurement agreements, including on all key commercial terms such as warranties, performance guarantees, change order provisions, pricing structures, delay provisions, delay and performance liquidated damages, force majeure and unforeseen site conditions, insurance, performance security, liens, confidentiality, dispute resolution, and defaults.

Mike also has been the Vice President of EH&S for the domestic and international operations of a large merchant energy company with substantial coal and gas-fired generation assets. The scope of Mike’s functional responsibility in this job encompassed all aspects of the EH&S function, including compliance, governance, policy and advocacy, strategic planning, acquisitions, permitting and environmental external affairs. Mike also was the Vice President of EH&S for a large heavy civil construction company engaged in road and bridge projects and was responsible for all EH&S governance, compliance programs, new project permitting, and legal issues.

Recent Representative Matters

Recent Project Development

  • Provided comprehensive legal support to an electric utility client on all procurement and construction matters for a multi-billion dollar clean coal (IGCC) electric generating plant, including the drafting and negotiation of multiple construction contracts; the drafting and negotiation of procurement agreements for all major equipment for the gasification unit, the combined cycle unit, the chemical processing and recovery unit, the carbon dioxide capture system, the nitrogen plant, and the wastewater treatment facility for the project; and the development and negotiation of a complex long term service agreement for the combined cycle unit. This representation included legal advice and support on all disputes with contractors and vendors, including matters such as change orders, delays, inefficiency claims, performance guarantees, warranties, liquidated damages, force majeure claims, and defaults.
  • Represented an independent power producer with respect to a turnkey EPC agreement for a 100MW biomass power plant in Texas. Representation included strategic advice and legal support in resolving all disputes with the contractor.
  • Represented a manufacturing client in the preparation and negotiation of a turnkey EPC agreement for a large specialty steel manufacturing facility in Alabama.
  • Served an electric utility client in a project general counsel role for the development of a multi-billion dollar electric generating plant project in Nevada. Project legal matters included EPC contracting and major equipment procurement, permitting, water rights, rail agreements, and development agreements with city and county governments.
  • Represented an electric utility in the installation of utility scale PV solar projects at multiple military bases in Alabama, including the preparation and negotiation of turnkey EPC agreements.
  • Represented an independent power producer in the negotiation of the construction contract and equipment procurement contracts for a proposed utility scale PV solar project in Texas.
  • Represented a national retailer in its rooftop solar program, including the preparation of a form construction and power purchase agreement and the negotiation of such agreement with rooftop solar providers across multiple states and Puerto Rico.

Other Recent Transactional Experience

  • Represented an electric utility in the drafting and negotiation of multiple carbon dioxide offtake agreements with oil companies for the carbon dioxide from the carbon capture system for an IGCC power plant.
  • Represented an electric utility holding company in the preparation of a form long term service agreement for combustion turbines at its four utility operating company subsidiaries and in the negotiation of the long term service agreement with the OEM across multiple gas-fired units at the four operating companies.
  • Provided comprehensive transactional support on a routine basis to the supply chain organization of an electric utility holding company which supports four utility operating company subsidiaries and an independent power producer subsidiary, including frequent support negotiating construction and equipment procurement contracts, design and engineering contracts, and various types of service contracts; support with contract disputes; counseling on RFP and bid issues; and other strategic advice.
  • Represented a national retailer in the negotiation of a leasing arrangement and service agreement for a fuel cell system for its primary U.S. distribution center supporting online sales.

Environmental Experience

Through the combination of his executive positions and outside counsel experience, Mike has substantial experience with all major environmental regulatory programs applicable to power plants and to construction projects, including laws and regulations governing air emissions, water intake and wastewater discharge, solid and hazardous wastes, wetlands, stormwater, and storage of hazardous materials. Mike has provided legal support for obtaining air, water and waste permits for power plants and construction projects and as an EH&S executive managed the overall permitting program and led strategic planning on emerging air and water laws and regulations. Mike has significant experience managing and providing legal support on environmental enforcement actions, including multiple new source review enforcement matters as an EH&S executive for the merchant energy company, and as an EH&S executive for the construction company the implementation of a significant enforcement agreement with EPA’s Office of Suspension and Debarment across the company’s construction business, which consisted of over twenty projects in eleven states at the time. In both of the executive roles, Mike developed and implemented the company’s EH&S policy and a comprehensive, written environmental management system consistent with ISO 14001 across all operations and developed corporate environmental awareness training programs implemented across all operations. He also managed all EH&S legal issues, including management of outside counsel, and internal investigations concerning EH&S issues.

Mike also has represented clients on environmental cleanup work under Superfund and various state cleanup laws and brownfields laws, including negotiating consent orders with agencies and private party cleanup and cost recovery agreements.

Professional and Community Involvement

  • State Bar of Georgia
  • Past Affiliation: Past Chairman, Environmental Committee of the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA), January 2002 – December 2003

Professional Experience

  • Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP, 2016 – present
  • Partner, Balch & Bingham LLP, 2006 – 2015
  • Vice President, Environmental, Safety & Health, Balfour Beatty, Inc., 2004 – 2006
  • Vice President, Mirant Corporation/Southern Energy, Inc., 2000 – 2004
  • Partner/Associate, Troutman Sanders LLP, 1990 – 1999

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Education

  • University of Georgia, J.D., cum laude, 1990
  • Auburn University, B.S., cum laude, 1986

Bar Admissions

  • 1990 Georgia