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William D. Kissinger

Partner, Bingham McCutchen LLP
Consultant, Bingham Consulting LLC

As of November 24, 2014 practicing with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Since 2003, William Kissinger has focused his practice on energy matters in California and nationally along with related environmental issues. He developed this practice after spending two years working as senior deputy legal affairs secretary to Gov. Gray Davis and serving as the primary legal contact for the Office of the Governor with Cal EPA, Cal Health and Human Services Agency, and the Resources Agency. Bill also served as a member of the Governor’s Energy Task Force, responsible for shaping California’s strategy in responding to the electricity crisis. He was California’s lead negotiator in the effort to renegotiate the multibillion-dollar energy contracts the state entered into in early 2001. His efforts resulted in greatly improved contract terms with future savings to the state in excess of $5 billion over the life of the contracts. Bill was also a member of the California Electricity Oversight Board, after being appointed by Gov. Davis in 2002.

Bill previously spent four years working in senior positions in the federal government. From 1997–2000, he served as special assistant to the legal adviser for the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. From 2000–2001, Bill served as senior adviser for international economic policy at the White House National Economic Council. Bill began his legal career with McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen in 1989 after clerking for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for a year. He became a partner in the Environment and Litigation Groups in 1995, with a practice focused on hazardous waste litigation and tort law matters.

Bill’s practice includes energy and environmental matters. He represents conventional and renewable energy companies, municipalities and publicly owned utilities. Bill’s energy practice includes representing parties in litigation arising out of the purchase and sale of electricity as well as providing advice on regulatory matters involving the California Independent System Operator, the California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Recognized by Chambers USA, Bill is described as “a wealth of knowledge and contacts” by his energy clients. Bill serves as a member of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board after being appointed by Governor Brown in 2012. He is also a consultant in Bingham Consulting.


  • Energy-Related Matters
    • Assisted in passage of California legislation to enable 800 MW gas-fired power plant to complete California Energy Commission (CEC) licensing process
    • Negotiated first of its kind multiparty interconnection agreement for Arizona-based 500 MW photovoltaic solar project involving two adjacent balancing authorities (CAISO and APS)
    • Represented California municipal public utility in section 206 proceeding before Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) against an investor-owned utility arising out of the breach of interconnection agreement
    • Represented independent power plant developer before California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for approval of power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
    • Appeared on behalf of two Mexicali-based combined cycle power plants in CPUC proceedings related to the acquisition by San Diego Gas & Electric Co. of resources to meet grid reliability criteria
    • Prosecuted American Arbitration Association arbitration arising out of dispute relating to purchase of electricity by California Department of Water Resources from Sempra Generation
    • Represented party before CPUC seeking approval of the sale of the 1,050 MW Mountainview Power Project to Southern California Edison
    • Participated in California Independent System Operator (CAISO) sponsored stakeholder process relating to the management of transmission congestion and the proposed development of additional congestion management zones
    • Appearances before FERC relating to challenges of proposed CAISO tariff amendments and associated compliance filings
    • Represented InterGen Services Inc. before the CPUC proceedings relating to the development of various transmission upgrade projects
    • Renegotiated on behalf of the California Department of Water Resources Power Purchase Agreements with Allegheny Energy Supply, CalPeak, Constellation Power Source, Edison Mission Energy, El Paso, GWF Energy LLC, High Desert Power, PGE Trading, Williams Energy Marketing & Trading; renegotiated contracts resulted in more than $5 billion in savings to the state of California
    • Led U.S. delegation on behalf of the State Department to successfully conclude negotiations with Canada on the sale of Canadian electricity into the wholesale energy markets
  • Environmental Matters
    • Advised California Department of Water Resources on environmental permitting related to emergency levee repairs along Sacramento River
    • Plaintiff’s counsel in multiparty cost recovery action pending in U.S. District Court Hawaii
    • Represented former property interest holder within Hylebos Superfund site, Tacoma, Wash.
    • Established new precedent under California Right-to-Know statute that provided additional protection to commercial trade secrets
    • Extensive involvement in all phases of Superfund litigation and remediation, including U.S. v. Stringfellow, U.S. v. Allied, U.S. v. Bunker Hill
  • Other Matters
    • Advised party seeking to do business with state of California on state procurement practices
    • Acted as lead plaintiffs’ counsel in multiparty litigation involving tort law claims of first impression under California law; successfully negotiated multimillion-dollar settlement for client; efforts recognized by California Lawyer magazine


  • Energy Procurement Proceedings, Law Seminars International: Energy in California, San Francisco (September 2014)
  • Is it Time for a Higher Renewables Portfolio Standard in California?, Bingham Energy Breakfast, San Francisco (May 2014)
  • A Conversation With CPUC Commissioner Michael Picker, Bingham Energy Breakfast, San Francisco (April 2014)
  • Renewable Energy and Public Policy in California, Bar Association of San Francisco, San Francisco (April 2013)
  • Practical Aspects of Generator Interconnection Processes — Murphy’s Law and Interconnection: When Things Go Wrong, 14th Annual Conference on Energy in California, Law Seminars International, San Francisco (November 2012)
  • Deal-Making Trends, 13th Annual Conference on Energy in California, San Francisco (November 2011)
  • Raising the Green Bar: Preparing Our Students for the Transforming Environmental Law Profession, AALS Annual Meeting, Association of American Law Schools, San Francisco (January 2011)
  • Transmission in California, Canada/U.S. Energy Transactions, Law Seminars International, Vancouver, Canada (October 2010)
  • The Future of U.S. Energy and Environmental Policy, Boalt Hall All-Alumni Reunion, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, Calif. (October 2010)
  • Navigating California Environmental Restrictions on Energy Imports From Coal-Fired Plants, Coal in the West Conference, Law Seminars International, Denver (March 2007)


  • Board Member, San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board (Governor Brown Appointment)
  • Board Member, Grid Alternatives
  • Board member, China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance
  • Board member, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
  • Conference of California Public Utility Counsel
  • Energy Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Pacific Council on International Policy
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area

Awards & Honors

  • Best Lawyers, Energy Law (2009–2015)
  • Best Lawyers, Energy Regulatory Law (2015)
  • Chambers USA, Energy: State Regulatory & Litigation, California (2011–2014)
  • Super Lawyers, Northern California (2005, 2011–2014)
  • Best Lawyers, San Francisco Energy Law Lawyer of the Year (2012)
  • Certificate of Excellence awarded by Attorney General Bill Lockyer (2003) for “extraordinary advocacy for California energy consumers”
  • U.S. Department of State Superior Honor Award (2000) for outstanding contribution to negotiations resolving claims of the People’s Republic of China against the United States arising out of the Chinese Embassy bombing in Belgrade, Yugoslavia
  • 1996 “California Lawyer of the Year” based on advocacy in a pro bono action against the assault weapon manufacturer used in mass shooting in San Francisco high-rise building
  • The Jack Berman Advocacy Center of the American Jewish Congress 1996 Community Service Award
  • Margaret Sanger Community Sanger Service Award Planned Parenthood Association of San Mateo (1992); recognized for successful prosecution of claims for injunction relief against Operation Rescue on behalf of Planned Parenthood healthcare clinic
  • Notes and Comments Editor, Ecology Law Quarterly (past)

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