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Elizabeth Thomas

Fax +1.206.370.6190

Ms. Thomas is a partner in the firm's Seattle office and member of K&L Gates' Energy, Infrastructure and Resources practice.

Ms. Thomas has a national practice, concentrating in a range of matters related to energy and water regulation, transactions and project development. This includes:

  • Licensing, re-licensing, and compliance for hydropower facilities
  • Counseling clients on potential mergers and asset acquisitions, with an emphasis on regulatory and environmental issues
  • Siting, permitting and development of renewable and traditional energy facilities
  • Creating, trading and using carbon credits, renewable energy credits, and greenhouse gas mitigation strategies
  • Conducting litigation involving energy facilities, water rights and rates
  • Advising clients on public policy issues

Professional Background

  • Law Clerk, Hon. A. David Mazzone, United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, 1979-80


  • Named the Best Lawyers’ 2012 Seattle Energy Law Lawyer of the Year
  • Named a Best Lawyer in America by Best Lawyers, Energy Law, 2009-2016
  • Named Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers Magazine, 2006–2007, 2010–2018

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Past Member, Legal Foundation of Washington Board of Trustees (appointed by Washington State Supreme Court), 2011-2014; President, 2014 
  • Past member Climate Solutions Board of Directors, 2005-2010
  • Chair, Energy Facility Siting Process Review Committee, 1993-1994

Speaking Engagements

  • “New horizons in corporate energy sourcing: Life—and pain points—on the cutting edge,” presented at Women in Power Conference (May 2017)
  • “New Regional Energy Needs: The Promise of Pumped Hydropower Storage,” presented at Hydropower in the Northwest Conference (October 2014)
  • “The Business of Renewable Energy - Integrating Intermittent Resources,” presented at Washington Future Energy Conference (November 2012)
  • “Looking Past Coal,” presented at Northwest & Intermountain Power Producers Coalition annual conference (September 2012)
  • “News from the Intersection of GMA and Water Rights: Kittitas County v. EWGMHB,” presented at 20th Annual Conference on Growth Management and Land Use (LSI, November 2011) 
  • “Bridging the Gap between Early and Late-Stage Financing,” presented at Midwest Cleantech 2010 Conference, September 14, 2010
  • “Implications of Greenhouse Gas Regulation by EPA, Congress and States for Public Power in the Pacific Northwest,” presented at Washington Society of Municipal and PUD Attorneys, December 2, 2009.
  • EPA Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule Telebriefing, October 20, 2009 (Sponsor: Law Seminars International)
  • 2009 NIPPC Annual Meeting - Climate Change Policy Panel, September 2009 (Northwest & Intermountain Power Producers Coalition annual conference)
  • “Energy Finance,” presented at the Recovery Act Bond Finance Opportunities in Washington State Conference (July 2009)
  • “Water and Energy: Uneasy Alliance,” presented at the ABA’s 27th Annual Water Law Conference (February 2009)
  • “Towards a Sustainable, Accessible and Equitable Energy Future,” peer exchange with the Thai Energy Regulatory Commission (October 2008)
  • “Carbon Credits: Legal Framework and Case Studies,” presented at Northwest Environmental Business Council (December 2007)
  •  “Water Issues for Energy Development,” presented at Washington Water Law Conference (LSI, June 2007)
  • Co-chair, LSI Northwest Power Supplies Conference (August 2003)
  • “Hydro Relicensing: Striking a Balance,” presented at Northwest Power Supplies (LSI, Aug. 2003)
  • “The Petition Method of Annexation: Fire Protection Dist. V. Moses Lake,” presented at The 58th Legislature – Studies in the Separation of Powers CLE Seminar (July 2003)
  • “Powering Forward,” presented at Northwest Energy Conference (Apr. 2003)
  • Co-chair, LSI Pacific Northwest Power Supply Options Conference, Sep. 2002
  • “Water for Power,” presented at Washington Water Law Conference (LSI, May 2002)
  • “Generating Facility Permitting and Regulatory Approvals,” presented at Public Construction SuperConference (ACI, Dec. 2001)
  • Co-chair, LSI Power and Water Conference, Aug. 2001
  • “Background on ESA,” presented at People, Water, Fish and Property (ULI District Council, Apr. 2000)
  • “The Clean Water Act and the TMDL Process,” presented at Washington Clean Water (LSI, Dec. 1998)
  • “Authority for Public Ownership of Telecommunications Facilities,” presented at Local Telecommunications Infrastructure (LSI, Sept. 1998)
  • “The Clean Water Act and the TMDL Process,” presented at Washington Clean Water (LSI, Dec. 1997)
  • “Permitting and Regulatory Issues in Siting New Natural Gas-Fired Power Plants:  Washington State Perspective,” presented at Natural Gas in the Northwest (Oct. 1994)
  • “What Are Washington’s Policies on Siting New Natural Gas-Fueled Generation?” presented at Natural Gas in the Northwest: Capitalizing In This Expanding Market (May 1994)
  • “What If Not Flow Control?  Solid Waste Disposal Districts,” presented at Managing All the Resources (NW Regional Solid Waste Symposium, Apr. 1994)

Siting and Transactions 

  • Hydro One: acquisition of investor-owned electric and gas utility, including proceedings to obtain approval from five state commissions
  • Consortium of investors: acquisition of investor-owned electric and gas utility
  • Microsoft: obtain regulatory approval and negotiate related documents to purchase power for headquarters from third party supplier
  • Represent proposed purchaser of utility in merger proceedings before several state public utility commissions.
  • Microsoft: negotiations with Puget Sound Energy and proceedings at Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) to enable self-supply of sustainable power.
  • TransAlta: representation in proceedings at WUTC and related matters pertaining to sales of coal transition power.
  • Independent power producers: representation in WUTC rulemaking proceedings.
  • Transportation companies: advice on WUTC regulation of motor carriers, ferries, railroads, solid waste collection companies and pipeline carriers
  • Tractebel/GDF Suez: EFSEC siting and development of the 520 megawatt gas-fired Chehalis Generation Facility.
  • Energy Northwest: siting of the Pacific Mountain Energy Center, a proposed 680 megawatt integrated gasification combined cycle generation facility.
  • Westcoast/EPCOR/Capital Power: siting and development of the 249 megawatt gas-fired Frederickson Generation Facility.
  • Capital Power: siting and development of the proposed Clover Creek Generation Facility.  
  • Represented purchaser of Washington combined electric and gas utility with respect to regional, state and local legal and regulatory matters.
  • Represented seller of 520 MW natural gas-fired generating facility to Northwest and Rocky Mountain states investor-owned utility.
  • Represented purchaser of privately held company owning all or portions of 13 cogeneration projects located in California, Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey and North Carolina.
  • Represented independent power producer in sale to Washington investor-owned utility of nearly one-half interest as tenant in common in 250 MW natural gas-fired generating facility.
  • Represented independent power producer in purchase from federal agency of partially completed natural gas-fired electric generating facility in Washington.
  • Represented owner of coal-fired electric generating facility in transactions providing for sale of output, phased decommissioning and related matters.
  • Represented independent power producers in rulemaking proceedings.


  • PPL Montana, LLC v. State of Montana, 565 U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 1215 (2012).
  • Okeson v. City of Seattle, 159 Wn.2nd 436, 150 P.3d 556 (2007).
  • Fire Protection District v. City of Yakima, 122 Wn.2d 371, 858 P.2d 245 (1993).
  • Taxpayers of Whatcom County v. Whatcom County, 66 Wn.App. 284, 831 P.2d 1140 (1992).
  • City of Tacoma v. State of Washington, 117 Wn.2d 348, 816 P.2d 7 (1991).
  • State Dept. of Ecology v. State Finance Committee, 116 Wn.2d 246, 804 P.2d 1241 (1991).
  • Hite v. Grant County PUD, 112 Wn.2d 456, 772 P.2d 481 (1989).
  • Peoples’ Org. For Washington Energy Resources v. Wash. Utils. & Transp. Comm’n, 104 Wn.2d 798, 711 P.2d 319 (1985).


  • City of Seattle: FERC relicensing, license implementation and compliance for the Boundary hydroelectric project.
  • PPL Corporation: FERC relicensing, license implementation and compliance for the Wallenpaupack hydroelectric project in Pennsylvania.
  • PPL Montana: FERC relicensing for the Mystic hydroelectric project.
  • Klickitat PUD: permitting and development of the proposed JD Pool pumped storage hydroelectric facility.
  • Alcoa Power Generating, Inc.: litigation over ownership of the bed of the Yadkin Project in North Carolina; advice relating to relicensing and 401 water quality certification.
  • PPL Montana: litigation over ownership of the beds of the Missouri-Madison Project and the Clark Fork Project.
  • Capital Power: FERC headwater benefits for the Curtis Palmer project in New York; project acquisition, compliance and disposition.
  • Boralex: FERC headwater benefits for South Glens Falls and Hudson Falls projects (NY).
  • TDX Power: permitting of the proposed Chackachamna project.
  • Private developer: advice on potential PPP with municipality to develop hydropower at existing dam in Pennsylvania.
  • Private licenses and developers (multiple): due diligence and structuring advice on potential acquisition of existing and proposed projects throughout the U.S.
  • Washington municipality: advice on potential addition of hydropower generation to existing water supply system.
  • Washington municipality: advice on licensing and reservoir management agreement.