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Richard Bonnifield

Richard Bonnifield


Rich draws on more than four decades of experience in energy law—including stints in-house at a major public utility company and within the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)—to provide developers, independent power producers, and utility companies with strategic legal advice.

Rich began his career with a clerkship for FERC administrative law judges, later moving into a trial staff role at the commission. It was a time of great growth in the energy industry, and Rich was immediately fascinated by the interplay of law, engineering, finance, and business. Particularly drawn to the business side of energy, he knew he wanted to focus his legal career on working hand in hand with businesspeople. He later accepted senior in-house roles with the Long Island Power Authority as well as Public Service Electric and Gas Company, one of the largest combined electric and gas utility companies in the country.

At Husch Blackwell, Rich represents renewable generation project developers and independent power producers before FERC in obtaining the approvals and regulatory mechanisms necessary for their businesses. He routinely assists clients in obtaining market-based rate authority, exempt wholesale generator status, and qualifying facility status, and he also handles applications for transactions that fall under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act. In addition, Rich devotes a significant portion of his practice to the representation of electric transmission and natural gas utility companies, advising on FERC filings, transmission formula rates, transactions, and reliability matters. He also performs FERC compliance audits; assists clients with the development and implementation of regulatory, ethics, and reliability compliance programs; and provides training and representation throughout government investigations.

With experience in virtually all 10 electric power markets, Rich has a truly national practice. He’s known for both his extensive, solid experience and his remarkably deep knowledge of the subject matter and the energy industry. After nearly 20 years at utility companies, Rich also has an inside understanding of what clients need from outside counsel.




  • The Best Lawyers in America, Energy Law, 2015–2024
  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Energy Lawyers, 2024


  • J.D., Gonzaga University School of Law
    • Law Review
  • M.B.A., Gonzaga University
    • Graduate School of Business
  • B.A., Washington and Lee University


  • District of Columbia
  • New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Memberships and Certifications

  • Energy Bar Association; Board of Directors, 2006–2011; President, 2009–2010


  • Honorable Daniel J. Shea, Montana State Supreme Court


  • Spanish, conversational

*Contact Richard to set up an in-person consultation by appointment in the Washington, DC office.
  • Secured federal and state approvals required for the acquisition and management of operating wind and solar energy projects in California, Indiana, Texas, New Mexico, Alabama, and Nevada.
  • Obtained market-based rate authority, exempt wholesale generator status, and qualifying facility status for independent power producers.
  • Provided comprehensive federal and state regulatory compliance advice, assistance, and training to electric transmission utilities and independent power producers.
  • Negotiated interconnection agreements and cost-responsibility for network upgrades for IPP in MISO.
  • Represents PJM transmission owner seeking recovery of revenue requirements through transmission formula rates at FERC.
  • Serves as FERC counsel to renewable energy project developers in support of debt and equity financings.
  • Represents clients in electric transmission and natural gas pipeline rate cases, investigations, and audits by FERC Office of Enforcement.
  • Performs internal FERC compliance audits, develops remedial compliance plans, and delivers personnel training to electric and natural gas utility clients .
Outside the Office

Rich is a family man who values having a close relationship with both of his adult children. He enjoys frequent calls to his son who resides in Munich, Germany, serving as CEO to an artificial intelligence company, and he loves spending as much time as possible with his daughter’s family—especially playing with his two grandchildren.

Community Leadership

Rich has previously served as president of the Energy Bar Association’s Charitable Foundation. He also provides pro bono legal services to the Washington Center for the Homeless.