Mining and Refining | Renewable Energy


Mr. Cairns understands both the law and business of electricity and can bring a wide range of skills to the assistance of clients. He represents municipalities, power customers, project developers, lenders, construction contractors, and utilities hearing intervenors. His expertise encompasses law, regulatory, marketing, and finance. It includes:

  • generation
  • transmission
  • distribution
  • wholesale marketing, trading, risk management
  • project development
  • renewable energy projects
  • financing
  • regulatory affairs (National Energy Board and BC Utilities Commission)
  • government policy
  • the Kyoto Protocol
  • carbon and greenhouse gas emissions credit trading

Mr. Cairns brings more than 15 years experience as a lawyer, business manager, and project developer to the assistance of his clients. He has a wide and thorough knowledge of the law and business of electricity, particularly in B.C. and more generally in Alberta and Washington State.  In addition to legal and regulatory expertise, the firm can use its extensive network in the industry to help clients finance projects or establish marketing and trading strategies that increase their chances of successfully bringing projects to completion.

While Manager Energy and Legal Affairs at Teck Cominco’s Trail Operations, Mr. Cairns:

  • guided the company’s power business through the California energy crisis of 2000/2001 to become a highly successful merchant generating organization active in western wholesale power markets
  • led major upgrades to the company’s generating and transmission facilities (including the 450 megawatt Waneta generating station and 230kV transmission line to the United States)
  • led several complex negotiations of coordination and transmission agreements with major utilities
  • established commercial relationships with Canadian and U.S. power trading companies and created energy trading and risk management systems
  • established a business development program to expand power production

While Vice President, Customer & Corporate Services, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary with  FortisBC, Mr. Cairns was responsible for corporate-wide legal services, corporate governance, and liaison with the company’s Board of Directors.  He guided legal and ethical compliance and provided legal risk analysis to business executives and the Board.  His management responsibilities included customer service (marketing & sales) as well as several administrative functions. 

Mr. Cairns is also the founder of Aspen Wind Energy Inc., a wind power development company active in British Columbia.


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