United States > Industry focus > Energy: renewable/alternative
Andrews Kurth LLP
Ballard Spahr LLP
- Foley & Lardner LLP
- O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Latham & Watkins LLP has maintained a significant focus on renewables for the past 20 years and has developed an ‘excellent’ practice advising on solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, and biomass projects. It is currently representing Summit Power as sponsor and developer in the $2.7bn financing and development of the Texas Clean Energy Project, including export credit facilities, for a 400MW combined cycle polygen plant with 90% carbon capture and sequestration. The team is also acting for affiliates of Terra-Gen Power in the $630m financing of the Alta Wind VI and VIII wind power projects (totaling 300MW) as part of the Alta Wind Energy Center, which will be the first gigawatt-scale wind energy facility. In addition, the team is representing Wind Energy Transmission Texas and WETT Holdings as borrowers as well as Brookfield and Isolux as sponsors in the approximately $580m financing of the WETT project, consisting of seven 345kV transmission lines in Texas. Iberdrola, including Iberdrola Renewables, is also a key client. Jonathan Rod is recommended.
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s award-winning renewables practice advises on broad-ranging aspects of transactions and developments, including advising on wind projects across the US as well as in Canada, the UK, Latin America, Turkey and Mongolia. It has also represented developers, lenders, and tax equity investors in photovoltaic and concentrated solar energy plant projects. For example, the team recently acted for Google in its joint acquisition of Recurrent Energy’s photovoltaic facilities portfolio in the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District, which was Google’s first utility-scale solar investment in the US. The practice continues to develop its expertise in the biofuel, biomass, geothermal, and hydroelectric sectors. Los Angeles-based Karen Wong is recommended.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s highly regarded team acted for BrightSource Energy on the $2.2bn financing of its Ivanpah project, which included all corporate equity raises, including Series D financing, $1.6bn in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy (DOE); and $600m in cash and tax equity. The team represented NextEra in the sale of its membership interest in its indirect subsidiary Golden Winds, which owns three wind farms in California totaling 206MW. NextEra sold approximately $131m Class B membership interests to JPMorgan with tax equity coming into the project during construction of one of the wind farms. It acted for San Diego Gas & Electric in its $285m tax equity investment and two power purchase agreements, one for a 20-year green attributes purchase and the other to buy power in California as an indirect credit support for NaturEner USA’s 189MW Rim Rock wind power project in Montana. It also acted for Recurrent Energy during Google and KKR’s joint acquisition of its portfolio of photovoltaic facilities. Pacific Gas & Electric is a long-term client for renewables procurement. New York-based Michael Meyers is highly recommended and a leader in his field. Usually ‘the smartest guy in the room’, Mark Weitzel is ‘extremely creative and effective and has a deep understanding of tax matters’. Weitzel is based in San Francisco, which is the hub of the practice.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is ‘all over the market’ and ‘one of the best’ in the solar and wind energy sectors. It has acted extensively for First Solar including advising on a $1.46bn loan for the 550MW Desert Sunlight photovoltaic project, as well as O&M arrangements, construction, and sale of the project; on $1.93bn in loans for the 550MW Topaz Solar Farm and the project’s subsequent sale to MidAmerican Energy Holdings; and on a $646m guaranteed loan from Federal Financing Bank for the 230MW Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project, including O&M arrangements, construction, and subsequent sale to Exelon. The group also acted for Bank of America Merrill Lynch on a $1.4bn loan from the Department of Energy for Project Amp, the world’s largest distributed rooftop solar generation project, and in its financing of SolarCity’s SolarStrong project to build over $1bn in solar power installations for privatized US military housing communities, which will be the largest residential photovoltaic project in the US. In the wind sector, the team acted for Deere & Company on the $860m sale of John Deere Renewables to Exelon. It also advised HQ Energy Services (US), an affiliate of Hydro-Quebec, on the $2bn sale of 225MW of hydroelectricity to Vermont utilities via a 26-year power purchase agreement. New York-based Harold Moore is a leader in renewables and co-heads the practice with Washington DC-based Martin Klepper; both are recommended along with Lance Brasher.
Chadbourne & Parke LLP has an acute focus on renewable energy, and is well regarded in the space. The practice operates mainly from the New York and Washington DC offices, advising a range of major industry players on financing and development of renewable energy projects spanning the wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, biofuel, and landfill gas sectors. In New York, Benjamin Koenigsberg is highly recommended as the go-to person for wind projects and Todd Alexander is recommended for solar and biomass work. In Washington DC, Ken Hansen, Peter Fitzgerald, and Keith Martin are all recommended.
Washington DC-based Tom Amis heads Cooley LLP’s decade-old renewables practice, which provides broad-based, in-depth client services. The firm also has a strong presence in California with team members in San Francisco, San Diego and Palo Alto. Most notably, the team represented Belgian transmission company Elia in a $1bn US equity joint venture project with Google in an Atlantic backbone offshore wind interconnection project to connect wind farms along the east coast. It is also acting for US-based SSI in its proposal to build a 200MW solar facility in Namibia. Other matters include: advising on an $800m frame solar panel purchase agreement, structuring a scalable energy efficiency solution for an investment fund, and advising on the financing and development of a series of biomass-fired power generation facilities in the southeastern US with a fuel pass-through off-take structure.
Hogan Lovells US LLP’s renewables team is primarily based in the firm’s Baltimore and Miami offices. It continues to advise Edison Mission Energy on its renewable energy projects, including 12 wind energy developments in Minnesota and Utah; the structuring of loan arrangements with several partners for the development of utility-scale renewable energy projects; as well as the acquisition of several wind energy projects. The team is also advising Iberdrola Renewables on the $900m sale of its membership interest in Manzana Wind and the construction and sale of a 246MW Californian wind energy electric generating facility to Pacific Gas & Electric. On the solar side, the group is advising NextEra Energy Resources on the $2bn project financing of a thin-film photovoltaic electricity generating facility in California. Baltimore-based Edward Sledge is the key contact, and Houston-based José Luis Vittor recently joined from McDermott Will & Emery LLP. Former practice head Kevin Lipson joined DLA Piper LLP.
Morrison & Foerster LLP has a comprehensive renewables practice and the team is representing Calera in all aspects of its efforts to negotiate and permit a pilot plant facility to test its carbon dioxide sequestration and green cement technology. The team advised Brightpath Capital Partners on its investment in Sungevity, which designed an online ‘iQuote’ sales process to assess customers’ roofs remotely and accurately determine the homes’ solar potential in an effort to make it more accessible for private residences to use solar energy. It also recently represented CH Energy in its acquisition, financing, development and subsequent sale of the Shirley wind farm in Wisconsin, and is currently advising enXco on the acquisition and development of three renewable energy projects. The highly regarded Richard Jenney in Washington DC advises the DOE on loan guarantees for renewables projects, including the $1.6bn loan guarantee for the $2.2bn Ivanpah solar complex. Former lead commissioner for renewables transmission at the California Public Utilities Commission Dian Grueneich co-heads the practice group with Susan Mac Cormac and Chris Carr; all three are based in San Francisco.
Houston-based Andrews Kurth LLP’s team is ‘very responsive, aggressive in being cost-effective, and has an in-depth knowledge of the renewable energy business’; it has particular expertise in wind energy projects. The team is advising CimTexCo Wind on the development of an up to 1,000MW wind energy project, Duke Energy Renewables on the 400MW Los Vientos wind farm, and BP on matters relating to the 150MW Sherbino wind farm and the development of another 150MW wind farm in Texas. It is also assisting BP with the development of a US biofuels business and Duke Energy Renewables with the acquisition of two solar projects in Arizona. The team also has a strong international renewables practice in wind energy, and is currently representing a major US energy project developer in all aspects of the financing and development of wind farms in Latin America, including in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Team head Tim Unger is recommended along with Dahl Thompson and Darrell Thomas.
Ballard Spahr LLP provides ‘an outstanding level of customer service and works tirelessly to get the job done’. This ‘well-rounded’ team operates from eight offices across the country, and combines project, tax, and regulatory expertise in renewables projects, making it ‘able to serve in all aspects of corporate growth and product roll-out needs’. The team has a particular niche in advising public entities. It acted as co-leader of the program counsel team for the DOE’s loan guarantee program and led the closure of its first loan guarantee. It also advised the City of Baltimore on its evaluation of public-private power generation and distribution options and the negotiation of solar projects on city-owned property, and is currently representing the client in its negotiations over transactions and projects. It also represented the City of Philadelphia in developing a financial structure and procuring a private owner to develop and own a biogas combined heat and power generation system for its wastewater treatment facility. It continues to advise Fishermen’s Energy on the financing, development and construction of offshore wind farms along the US Atlantic seaboard. The team advised Salt Lake County and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on the financing of a solar rooftop project, which incorporated new market tax credits, qualified energy conservation bonds, DOE efficiency and conservation block grant funds, and Section 1603 grants in lieu of tax credits. It is anticipated that this will be the forerunner to a number of community solar projects. Howard Shafferman co-heads the team with R Thomas Hoffmann, who ‘understands the business’ and is recommended.
Predominantly based in Milwaukee and supported by additional team members in six other offices, Foley & Lardner LLP’s renewables team provides ‘excellent, top-notch’ advice on the development and financing of solar and wind projects. Group co-chair James Tynion III in New York, Elizabeth Hanigan in Milwaukee, and associate Evelyn Kim in San Francisco are recommended for being ‘knowledgeable, proactive, and business-oriented’. The team represented Exelon in its $900m acquisition of John Deere Renewables’ 735MW of operational wind capacity, spread across 36 projects in eight states, as well as 1,468MW of new wind projects in development. It also represented U.S. Bancorp as tax equity investor in Invenergy Wind’s $422m Bishop Hill wind project, under construction in Illinois, which will sell all of its 200MW power and renewable energy to the Tennessee Valley Authority. Additionally, the team is representing Trans-Elect Development Company in the financing of the 6,000MW Atlantic Wind Connection backbone transmission project. In the solar sphere, the group acted as lead counsel to Citicorp Capital Markets as construction lender and tax equity investor in the development of over 30 photovoltaic installations owned by local governments and school districts in Somerset County, NJ. The team also represented Integrys Energy Group in a 50/50 joint venture transaction with Duke Energy, creating INDU Solar Holdings, a joint venture company that is to own rooftop and smaller ground-mounted photovoltaic projects generating at least 500kW and delivering electricity to investment-grade commercial, government, and utility customers. Duke and Integrys’ project capital investment will be up to $180m.
DLA Piper LLP is recommended for its ‘very strong business acumen, appropriateness of advice’ and the overall strength of the team. It is advising Scandia Wind Southwest on the development of the 200MW initial phase of its $250m Mariah wind farm project, which at 5,000MW total is the largest such development in Texas. Recently, it represented Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas in the financing of a $400m project to build a 23m gallon per annum integrated biomass-to-ethanol production facility and attendant 20MW biomass-fired power generation facility. The team also advised Imperium Renewables on a DOE loan guarantee and the related development of a $380m biofuels project to develop jet fuel for the Department of Defense. Seattle-based managing partner Steven Yentzer is ‘an A+ attorney’ for renewables financing and corporate governance. Kevin Lipson recently joined the Washington DC office from Hogan Lovells US LLP.
King & Spalding LLP provides an ‘excellent, commercially savvy’ service on ethanol, biofuel, solar, biogas, wind, geothermal and hydropower projects and transactions, as well as biomass-related projects such as waste-to-energy and waste-to-fuels projects. The team variously advised Edison Mission Energy on its acquisition of a renewables company, the restructuring of a 150MW wind farm development, the acquisition of an option to develop a 161 MW wind farm, and the proposed acquisition of a third site, all in Texas. It represented Forbes Energy in its investment in early-stage ethanol production and power generation facilities in the Dominican Republic, Morocco and Ecuador. It also represented an energy company during the development of a 230MW biomass power and gasification facility for the production of synthetic diesel, which was mandated by the US military. The team is also acting for Apex Compressed Air Energy Storage in the development of a compressed air energy storage facility in the US, which will be one of only three such facilities in the world. Ken Culotta, Ned Crady and Peter Oxman are recommended.
The Los Angeles-based practice at O’Melveny & Myers LLP has recently been busy with renewable power plants, procurement and joint ventures, and related agreements. The team is representing Solar Reserve in the proposed $1bn development of up to four utility-scale solar power projects in New Mexico. It also continues to act for Edison Mission Energy on the acquisition, financing, development and construction of utility-scale wind power electric generation facilities across the US with individual project values ranging from $80m to over $400m. Gregory Thorpe is the key contact. In May 2012, Junaid Chida joined from Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.
David Lieberman heads Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s practice, which opened an office in Houston in April 2011. The team has expertise in lender-side financing for renewables projects. The team advised the lenders on a $386m secured construction and term credit facility for Lone Star Transmission, a subsidiary of NextEra, for a 329-mile transmission to transmit wind energy from west Texas to central Texas. It recently acted for the consortium of banks, led by Union Bank and Crédit Agricole CIB, in the $636m construction and term loan financing for Alta Wind VI and Alta Wind VIII wind power projects (each 150MW), which are being developed by Terra-Gen Power as part of its 3,000MW Alta Wind Energy Center. The group also advised KKR on its joint acquisition with Google of Recurrent Energy’s photovoltaic facilities portfolio in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, which marked KKR’s first foray into US renewables.