Robert H. Edwards, Jr.Legal
Mr. Edwards is a Partner and Co-Team Leader of Kilpatrick Townsend’s Energy, Project Finance and Clean Technologies Practice resident in the Washington, DC office. His significant expertise in project finance and structuring, his experience in accessing cost share grants, DOE and USDA loan guarantees and his knowledge of global commodities markets allows Mr. Edwards to provide value added solutions to emerging companies in the energy space. In the electric sector, he has been extensively involved in smart grid, distributed generation, high voltage transmission projects and the digital technologies supporting the transformation of the electric grid.
During his career, Mr. Edwards has served as lead counsel on more than $10 billion in energy, infrastructure and auto industry project financings. He has represented utilities, independent power producers, and investors in acquisition and divestiture of domestic and international energy projects, including buyers and sellers in competitive auctions for share interests in project financed projects, and asset acquisitions of generating plants and other energy assets. Mr. Edwards is experienced in domestic and international renewable energy projects, and emerging issues relating to climate change and renewable energy policies in the United States and abroad. He has advised utility clients on developing strategies for compliance with state mandated renewable portfolio standards. Mr. Edwards has also advised biofuels and oil and gas clients on the changing regulatory frameworks affecting their industries and as to the administration and implementation of energy regulations, laws and policies.
Following 20 years of private practice focused on the energy and infrastructure sectors and two years of senior level U.S. Government Service at the Department of Energy, Mr. Edwards joined JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMorgan) in June 2011 in the roles of Executive Director – Commodity Finance/Global Commodities Group (GCG) and Energy Finance/Office of Environmental Affairs. Prior to joining JPMorgan, Mr. Edwards served as Deputy General Counsel for Energy Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy (senior Presidential appointee “Non-Career Senior Executive Service”) from June 2009 to June 2011. In this role, he supervised and managed a staff of 40 lawyers and provided legal and policy advice to DOE senior leadership. Mr. Edwards’ Office served as the senior legal advisors to the following DOE Offices: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, and the Office of Fossil Energy. The foregoing offices were responsible for deploying the majority of $36.7 billion in appropriations allocated to the DOE under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the “Recovery Act”). The deployment by the DOE of the Recovery Act funds from 2009 to 2011 represented the single largest investment by the Federal Government in renewable and clean energy projects in the history of the United States. These cost share investments, loan guarantees and tax incentives provided critical funding to this emerging sector during the financial crisis. Further, working with DOE leadership and the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Mr. Edwards led several critical negotiations with the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the White House regarding taxation of Recovery Act grants resulting in IRS Rulings which were critical to the effective deployment of grants supporting the $3.4 billion Smart Grid Investment Grant Program. He worked closely with the Office of Electricity and leading utilities to disburse the Smart Grid cost share grants which resulted in the installation of millions of smart meters and significant upgrades to the electric grid across the United States. In addition to these accomplishments, Mr. Edwards worked closely with the DOE Loan Programs Office. Working with the financing team from the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, Mr. Edwards served as DOE lead counsel on the $5.9 billion loan to the Ford Motor Company and was the lead counsel and architect of the innovative financing structure implemented in the $465 million loan to Tesla Motors.
Previously, Mr. Edwards was a Partner with an international law firm on its Energy and Project Finance Team and a member of its Climate Change Law and Policy Practice. Prior to practicing law, Mr. Edwards worked as a management consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton and in finance at The First Boston Corporation (now Credit-Suisse) in New York City.
Mr. Edwards has significant international energy experience. He drafted the new electricity law for Sierra Leone, and on behalf of the Government negotiated a restructuring of the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangements for the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Project. Mr. Edwards was a lead lawyer representing the Government of Tanzania on the Songo Songo Gas to Electricity Project and representing the Government of Uganda on the Bujagali Falls Hydroelectric Project. From 2001 to 2002, Mr. Edwards spent eight months in Manila, Philippines representing the Private Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Company (PSALM) and the Government of the Philippines on the privatization of its transmission system and the restructuring of its electric sector. PSALM was created by the Government of the Philippines as a private sector entity charged with the management and disposition of the electric transmission system and selected power generation assets owned by the Government of the Philippines. Mr. Edwards has also advised the governments of Albania and Romania on the restructuring of their electric sectors and the privatization of their electric distribution systems.
Early on in his legal career, Mr. Edwards was an international trade lawyer with an international law. During this time, he represented foreign clients before the International Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce in anti-dumping cases. Mr. Edwards also defended clients involved in U.S. Customs Audits and investigations under the U.S. Canada Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA and various U.S. Customs import programs.
In 2014, Mr. Edwards served as the Chairperson of Energy Storage USA 2014, the only event in the United States focused exclusively on the commercialization of storage, to help bring technology to market and win lucrative projects. Mr. Edwards is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and The Bretton Woods Committee. He is actively involved in senior level working groups on global clean energy finance and North American and Western Hemisphere energy issues. During his career, Mr. Edwards has been active in civic and community initiatives including serving on the Board of Directors for more than 10 years with Project 2000 Inc. (a Washington, DC program focused on early education of inner city African American Males), service on Boards of Trustees (The Landon School, Holton-Arms School, The Harbor School), and energy related commissions for Montgomery County, Maryland. Mr. Edwards is also active with the Harvard Alumni Association, having served as Co-Chair for the Washington, DC Schools and Scholarships Committee for five years and is currently a member of The Committee for the Happy Observance of Commencement.
Mr. Edwards graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in economics from Harvard University. He earned a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School where he served as an Associate Managing Editor of the Stanford Journal of International Law. He is conversant in French.
Mr. Edwards was recognized as a 2016 Washington, D.C. “Super Lawyer” for Energy & Natural Resources by Super Lawyers magazine.