Sarah M. Keane

Sarah Keane primarily focuses on state and federal regulated transactions, litigation, and policy matters involving power project development and acquisition, clean transportation, and climate change.

Sarah regularly counsels clients on pertinent legal and regulatory developments in the areas of climate change, electric vehicles, renewable energy, energy storage, and electricity grid management.  She has played a key role in major energy and air quality proceedings in Colorado in recent years, including the Colorado Public Utilities Commission’s approval of the Colorado Energy Plan and the Air Quality Control Commission’s adoption of advanced low-emission vehicle standards.

Sarah advises a wide range of project developers regarding compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and state counterpart laws.  She assists project proponents secure a range of local, state, and federal entitlements and defends those approvals when necessary.  On the transactional side, she assists with drafting and negotiating project finance and asset purchase agreements, power purchase agreements, interconnection agreements, airport consortium and operations agreements, and other project-related contracts.

Sarah was previously an attorney at two large international law firms.  While attending law school, Sarah collaborated with two faculty members to design and launch Berkeley Law’s Energy and Clean Technology Program.  She also led the cross-disciplinary organization Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative (BERC), where she co-founded Cleantech to Market – a partnership among students, scientists, engineers, and professionals that translates clean technology research into market opportunities.

Representative Experience

Regulated Transactions and Regulatory Proceedings

  • Representing environmental groups in Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) proceedings regarding implementation of climate laws
  • Representing environmental groups in AQCC rulemakings regarding the adoption of clean car standards and related litigation
  • Represented independent power producer in Colorado Public Utilities Commission proceedings considering energy resource planning and the Colorado Energy Plan
  • Acted as lead associate in negotiating and securing California state regulatory approval for independent power producer in a first-of-its-kind transaction that resulted in the early closure of five carbon-intensive power plants, and extended contracts for two efficient peaking facilities

Energy and Transmission Projects and Transactions

  • Representing independent power producer in sale of facility to utility purchaser
  • Representing solar developers in securing land use approvals for utility-scale projects in Colorado‚Äč
  • Representing solar project owner in contract dispute with utility off-taker
  • Negotiated several options and leases for solar development on behalf of Colorado landowners
  • Represented a municipal utility in multiple transactions and stakeholder proceedings regarding solar energy project development and interconnection
  • Coordinated complex environmental, permitting, and interconnection due diligence for multiple investments in project portfolios involving solar, wind, geothermal, and natural gas facilities
  • Drafted power purchase agreement, license and loan agreement, and related documents for transactions involving sale of distributed solar generation installed in multiple states

Airport and Transit Projects

  • Represented a major regional airport in negotiating a suite of agreements for new airline consortium
  • Represented transportation district in design-build procurement for a viaduct
  • Represented airport manager in comprehensive overhaul of airport lease and management agreements
  • Assisted Chicago Transit Authority in the Red and Purple Line Modernization Project as a design-build procurement


  • Represented group of citizens in complaint proceeding against local utility regarding rate restructuring, resulting in favorable settlement
  • Represented energy and water asset owner in administrative litigation under NEPA and the Endangered Species Act
  • Successfully defended challenges brought against federal permit approval for a solar project

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy, Member (2020-Present)
  • Board President, GRID Alternatives Colorado (2018–Present)
  • Advisory Board Chair, Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative (2014–2018)
  • Election Protection Steering Committee Member, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (2012–2016)
  • University of California, Berkeley Law, Energy and Cleantech Law Certificate and Environmental Law Certificate (2010)
  • Development Director, Energy Law Quarterly (2008–2009)

News & Publications


Colorado–Impacts of New Legislation and Regulation on Renewable Energy Markets
Mountain West Renewables Summit
35th Annual Airport Law Workshop
The Utility of the Future
Climate and Energy Law Symposium
California – Germany Comparative Energy Policies
BERC Energy Symposium
Lessons Learned
Conference on Intellectual Property Rights and Technology Transfer in the U.N. Climate Negotiations
The Way Forward
World Energy Justice Conference 


A Leader in Following: Colorado's Adoption of California Clean Car Standards
ABA Natural Resources & Environment Vol. 34, No. 1
Summer 2019
A Success Born of Crises: California & Renewable Energy
Navigating the Landscape of the California Renewables Portfolio
California Land Use Law & Policy Reporter


J.D., Order of the Coif, University of California – Berkeley, 2010
B.S., Stanford University, 2004

Bar and Court Admissions

United States District Courts for Northern District of California, Central District of California, and Eastern District of California