Practice FocusEnergyFacility Siting and Land UseSolar Energy SitingCalifornia Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)Energy Efficiency and Building StandardsPublic Utility RegulationCompliance & EnforcementRenewable EnergyPublic Agency RepresentationLegislationNegotiation, Alternative Dispute Resolution & LitigationEnergy TransactionsTransmission & InterconnectionConsumer RepresentationEnvironmentalCEQA / NEPALand Use/Zoning Energy RegulationAir Quality and Air EmissionsRenewable EnergyAdministrative Law
Bar and Court AdmissionsState Bar of CaliforniaAll California State CourtsUnited States Court of Appeal, Ninth CircuitUnited States District Courts (Southern and Eastern Districts)
EducationJ.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 1993M.A., Penn State University, 1986B.A. , University of California, Davis, 1984
Jeff Harris is a Partner in Ellison Schneider Harris & Donlan. Jeff’s practice focuses on power plant siting, environmental permitting and compliance as well as energy policy, regulation, and legislation. Jeff excels in developing and implementing permitting strategies for successfully licensing and constructing complex, multi-jurisdictional projects. He represents renewable and conventional energy projects in site approval proceedings before the California Energy Commission, federal agencies, and local governments.
Representative ExperienceJeff helped successfully license the largest solar thermal power plant in the California desert, numerous peaking power plants in rural and urban settings; high-voltage transmission lines through agricultural lands, open space and established communities; and the state’s most high-profile natural gas power plant in the south San Jose area.
Jeff has extensive experience in helping clients manage and navigate compliance issues arising from California’s extensive and complex environmental and energy regulatory regimes, including greenhouse gas (GHG) and carbon management obligations. He has a proven record of helping defend clients from potential enforcement actions.
Prior to entering private practice, Jeff worked for the United States House of Representatives. He was Associate Staff to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, responsible for funding all federal energy and water projects. Concurrently, Jeff served as Legislative Counsel to Congressman Vic Fazio (Ret.) on energy, water, federal lands, and endangered species issues and served as the Congressman’s liaison with executive branch agencies and the federal judiciary. This extensive political experience provides Jeff with a unique understanding of the legal, political, and regulatory interplay of California law and policy, in general, and California energy and water policies, in particular.
AES CorporationCalpine CorporationMiddle River PowerDiamond Generating Company, a subsidiary of MitsubishiTurlock Irrigation DistrictOrange County Waste and RecyclingEdgeCore Internet Real EstateNest LabsCalifornia Manufacturing and Technology AssociationEntertainment Software AssociationClearwater PortEnergy SourceControlled Thermal ResourcesCalifornia Independent Energy Producers AssociationBrightSource Energy
Industries ServedElectric generation industry including those developing and operating utility-scale wind, solar, geothermal, and natural gas power plantsLandowners and developers seeking entitlements to construct projects in compliance with CEQALarge scale electric consumers such as Stanford University and the California High Speed Rail AuthorityAwards and Professional Recognition
Chambers USA “Best Lawyers in the U.S.” (2007 to Present)
Northern California Super Lawyers (2017 to Present)
Chambers and Partners recognized Jeff in 2020 noting that he is particularly experienced in power plant siting, regulation and legislation and that he regularly appears before the CEC for both conventional energy and renewables projects in site approval proceedings.
Sacramento Magazine's List of 2020 Top Lawyers in SacramentoSpeaking Engagements
Why Is California Unique? NEPA and CEQA Issues in Siting Wind Energy Projects in California; Panelist; American Wind Energy Association; Portland Oregon, 2004. Energy in CaliforniaLaw Seminars International; Conference Co-Chair; San Francisco, California, 2007. Siting Challenges and Opportunities in California: Siting Processes California Powerplants And Electric Infrastructure (Powerplants and Transmission Lines)Panelist, Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, Quarterly Meeting, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 2012. California: The “SONGS” Remain the Same: In-State Resources, Greenhouse Gas Policy, Renewable Portfolio Standards and Opportunities in California for Wyoming WindPanelist, Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, Quarterly Meeting, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 2013. Permitting Thermal and Non-Thermal Powerplants in California, Environmental Impact Review Processes for Energy ProjectsFaculty, Law Seminars International; San Francisco, California, 2014
Community InvolvementChabot Space and Science Center (Foundation Board Member 2014-Present; Vice Chair 2019)International Children’s Resource Institute (Board Member 2012-Present)
MediaThe New York Times, "THE POWER CRISIS: THE RESULTS; The Dog Day in June The Lights Went Out" by Chris Gaither, January 12, 2001MIT Technology Review,"World's Largest Solar Thermal Power Plant Delivers Power for the First Time" by Kevin Bullis, September 24, 2013