Sophie A. Akins is a partner of Best Best & Krieger LLP and leader of the firm’s Renewable Energy practice group, specializing primarily in solar and renewable energy projects, proceedings before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and public contract issues. She also provides general governance advice to public entities.
From 2007-09, Ms. Akins worked on a little over 14% of the State’s public agency solar projects, including but not limited to, solar projects for the Poway Unified School District, Rancho California Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Valley Center Municipal Water District, the Zone 7 Water Agency and Dixon Unified School District.
Ms. Akins also represents a number of renewable energy firms and assists them with contracting, procurement and general advice. Ms. Akins regularly drafts renewable energy contracts, such as Power Purchase Agreements, and resolves solar project construction defect and performance issues.
In 2010, Ms. Akins successfully represented a coalition of San Diego County Water Districts and School Districts before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), defeating San Diego Gas & Electric's application to shut-off power to over 130,000 San Diego County residents.
Ms. Akins is currently representing a coalition of public agencies before the CPUC in the Assembly Bill 327 proceeding which will decide the grandfathering period for existing net-energy metered customers. Ms. Akins also currently represents a coalition of public agencies before the CPUC in the SDG&E Phase II Rate Case to, in part, safeguard the agencies' renewable energy investments.
In addition to her solar and renewable energy practice, Ms. Akins regularly reviews and drafts professional service agreements and public contracts for a variety of delivery methods, such as the traditional design-bid-build, design-build, lease/leaseback and public/private partnership structure. For example, Ms. Akins was the lead contracts attorney for the City of Ontario's $150 Million Citizens Business Bank Arena, which was a multiple-prime contractor project, involving over 40 trade contracts separately bid, a separately contracted for owner’s representative and construction manager as well as the design team.
Ms. Akins also served as General Counsel to the Ramona Municipal Water District from 2006-2012.