Project finance in United States
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP regularly handles energy and infrastructure project finance mandates. In a recent highlight, Matthew Nesburn advised Sammons Renewable Energy on the acquisition of Midway Wind, a 163MW wind farm project in Texas, and also advised on the subsequent tax equity, hedge and construction financing for the project. John Marciano in Washington DC, who jointly heads the team with Daniel Sinaiko, advised Royal Bank of Canada on the debt and tax equity financing of the Buckthorn Wind Project, which is being developed and constructed in Texas by a subsidiary of NRG Energy. The team also advised 38 Degrees North on the acquisition of a portfolio of solar projects in Massachusetts, which included advising on the financing, cash equity and tax equity transactions. Thomas Dupuis, Andrea Lucan, Latin American projects practice head Dino Barajas, and Greg Lavigne in Washington DC are also recommended. Named individuals are based in Los Angeles unless otherwise stated.
Allen & Overy LLP
Acting for sponsors and lenders, Allen & Overy LLP’s projects, energy, natural resources and infrastructure group is regularly engaged in project finance transactions across the Americas. The team is regularly involved in US airport infrastructure projects and New York-based department head Kent Rowey, who is 'measured, flexible and insightful', advised Carlyle Infrastructure Partners as sponsors on the $9.1bn design, construction, finance, operation and maintenance of Terminal One at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Dorina Yessios, who is also based in New York, led advice on behalf of 11 commercial banks as lenders on the financing of a greenfield desalination plant being developed by Mitsui and Cobra in the Antofagasta region of Chile. In Washington DC, Sami Mir, who focuses on energy and infrastructure projects in Latin America and other emerging markets, and David Slade, who is regularly involved in energy and renewables transactions, are advising the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on the design, documentation and implementation of its new managed funds investment vehicle which aims to raise $5bn to invest in infrastructure projects in emerging markets. Also recommended is New York-based Simon Clark, who was recently promoted to partner.
Ashurst LLP is regularly instructed by sponsors, lenders and government agencies on P3 transport and infrastructure projects. In a recent highlight, Vincent Casey advised the lenders and underwriters on the financial close of the LAX Automated People Mover (APM) P3 project. Elsewhere, Andrew Frasier advised the City of Los Angeles on the formation of a joint public-private partnership to construct the Los Angeles Street Civic Building Project, which includes the design, build, financing, operation and maintenance of a high-rise municipal building; he also advised Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority on the Jefferson Parkway P3 Project. Additional highlights include advising Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on a development loan for the $23.2m Kansas City International Airport Project. The team is jointly led by office managing partner Casey and Fraiser, who is head of the energy and infrastructure group for the Americas. Anna Hermelin and Matthew Rickards recently transferred to New York office from the firm's Tokyo office. Named individuals are based in New York. Sarah Rackoff joined OPIC in 2018.
Baker McKenzie LLP is praised for its 'deep knowledge' and for its ability to deliver ‘exceptional service’. The team largely acts for sponsors on a range of domestic and international energy, telecoms and infrastructure project finance mandates. Chair of the Latin American finance practice Margarita Oliva Sainz de Aja advised Bow Power, the sponsor of Concesionaria Linea de Transmisión CCNCM, on a $175m hybrid refinancing. Further, Chicago-based José Antonio Morán, who is global chair of the energy, mining and infrastructure industry group, advised a consortium consisting of ACCIONA Energía, Swicorp and TBEA, on the $180m project financing of three solar photovoltaic plants in Egypt. Elsewhere, Clyde Rankin, who jointly heads the team with Mark Tibberts, advised Siemens Financial Services as the lender and lead arranger on the refinancing of a portfolio of three gas-fired combined cycle cogeneration facilities in Upstate New York. Global projects group chair James O’Brien in Chicago is also a key figure. Mona Dajani joined Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP in 2019. Named lawyers are based in New York unless otherwise indicated.
The energy and project finance team at Ballard Spahr LLP is instructed by lenders and sponsors in project finance mandates, where renewable energy projects are a particular area of expertise. Thomas Hoffmann in Washington DC and Patrick Gillard in Philadelphia jointly head the team, which includes Dirk Michels in Los Angeles and Minneapolis-based Raymond Faricy. Darin Lowder joined Foley & Lardner LLP in 2019.
Bracewell LLP is focused on energy and infrastructure project finance transactions in the US, acting for both lenders and sponsors. New York-based Ron Erlichman, who jointly heads the team with Thomas Tomlinson in Houston, led advice for AP Energy Holdings and South Field Energy, affiliates of Advanced Power, on the financing and equity arrangements for the construction of the $1.3bn South Field Energy project, a 1182MW combined-cycle natural gas and electric generating facility located near Wellsville, Ohio. Erlichman and Houston-based Jessica Adkins, who is co-chair of the power projects practice group, acted for Coöperatieve Rabobank, National Australian Bank, and Siemens Financial Services as lenders in relation to the construction loan and credit facility for the Canadian Breaks project, a greenfield wind farm in the Texas panhandle situated approximately 30 miles west of Amarillo. In addition, Tomlinson and recently promoted partner Jeris Brunette, who is based in New York, advised YCI Methanol One on the renegotiation of its construction project finance agreements to accommodate its definitive investment agreement with Koch Methanol Investments (Koch Methanol), where Koch Methanol acquired an indirect minority equity interest in YCI Methanol One. Robin Miles, Nicolai Sarad and Fernando Rodriguez Marin in New York are also recommended, as are Houston-based Alan Rafte and Hans Dyke in Washington DC. Associates Paul McBride in New York and Jason Keating in Houston are also names to note.
With experience in the infrastructure and energy sectors and a strong Latin America practice, the team at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is primarily known for its sponsor-side expertise. In an example of the team’s Latin American prowess, Jorge Juantorena advised the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation and Aeropuertos Auxiliares on the $11.8bn multi-stage financing for the construction and development of the Mexico City international airport. Further, Chantal Kordula advised Jinko Solar, and the project SPV Cordillera Solar I, on the financing of a 80MW solar farm in San Juan, Argentina. Also of note, department head Richard Lincer, who is a 'true expert in every way', advised Port Newark Container Terminal on the $274m offering by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority of special facility revenue and refunding bonds. Lincer also advised DP World on its acquisition of Cosmos Agencia Maritima (CAM) from Andino. Jeffrey Lewis, the 'very diligent' Adam Brenneman, Richard Cooper and Nicolas Grabar are also key figures. Named individuals are based in New York.
Clifford Chance stands out for its expertise in Latin American project finance mandates, acting for both lenders and sponsors. Fabricio Longhin and Gianluca Bacchiocchi, who is based in New York, advised the Government of Argentina on the structuring and documentation of its public-private partnerships program, launched in 2017 through the Undersecretariat of Public-Private Partnerships (UPPP). Bacchiocchi and New York-based Jonathan Zonis also advised Goldman Sachs and a group of Colombian lenders on the $708m multi-source and multi-currency financing for the 491km Ruta al Mar toll road project in Colombia. Elsewhere, senior counsel David Evans and New York-based David Brinton advised KEPCO and COPA in the acquisition of 235MW of solar generating assets in California; Lori Ann Bean is advising OPIC in connection with a $200m loan to be provided to Kipeto Energy to finance the development and construction of a 100MW wind power generation project in Kajiado, Kenya; and Catherine McCarthy, who is experienced in transport sector deals, advised the IDB Group, Proparco and DEG in relation to the financing of the Port of Posorja in Ecuador, sponsored by DP World. Guido Liniado in New York was promoted to partner in 2019, and senior associates Alberto Haito and Jessica Springsteen are also recommended. Named individuals are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.
DLA Piper LLP (US) 'takes a pragmatic approach' to domestic and cross-border project financing transactions, acting for a mix of lender and sponsor clients. US co-chair of projects and infrastructure and US Chair of renewable energy and energy M&A, the 'exceptional' Timothy Moran, advised Exelon Corporation on a $850m senior secured Holdco Term Loan B credit facility to leverage the sponsor's interest in a portfolio of 33 solar, wind and biomass utility-scale and distributed electric generation projects across 11 states in the US. Gregory Smith, who is US co-chair of projects and infrastructure and US chair of agency finance, led advice for OPIC and CDC on the financing of a 50MW gas-fired power project in Conakry, Guinea, which is sponsored by Endeavor Energy; he also advised NEXI, SMBC and OPIC on the financing of a 48.7MW solar project in Jordan, which is sponsored by AES Corporation and Mitsui. New York-based Charles Carroll advised Abengoa on the sale of a combined-cycle power plant in Mexico, known as Norte III, to a consortium consisting of Macquarie Capital and construction conglomerate Techint. Also recommended in the New York office are 'invaluable resource' Philip Corsello and Joseph Tato, who acts as US co-chair of projects and infrastructure. Vanessa Richelle Wilson and Amala Nath, the latter of whom joined from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP in 2018, are also names to note. Named individuals are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP acts for sponsors and lenders across a range of energy and infrastructure projects and is particularly recognized for its experience in Latin American project finance transactions. Co-head of the Latin America practice and head of the US energy and infrastructure group Melissa Raciti-Knapp, who has 'profound knowledge of project finance structures', is advising the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) on the financing of a 38MW geothermal power plant located in western Honduras. Additionally, working alongside Madlyn Primoff, Raciti-Knapp advised Mizuho Bank, as administrative agent, and a syndicate of lenders comprising multiple banks including The Export-Import Bank of Korea, on the restructuring of the project financing for La Muralla IV, an offshore oil-drilling rig that is registered and flagged in Panama and is located and operating in Mexican territorial waters. Senior associate Kamilka Malwatte and counsel Kyle Lakin are also key names to note. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.
Hogan Lovells US LLP is commended for its ‘ability to solve problems, not only from a legal point of view, but also from a business point of view’. The team is engaged on the financing for a range of power projects as well as PPP infrastructure projects. Houston-based David Locascio, who is ‘always accessible and super-efficient with his time’, advised Assured Guaranty on its role as bond insurer in connection with the financing of the $4.9bn Automated People Mover (APM) project at Los Angeles International Airport in California. Demonstrating its cross-border experience, senior counsel Thomas Hechl in Washington DC advised the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on the project and financing documents relating to a 250MW greenfield combined-cycle thermal power plant project in Yerevan, Armenia; Ricardo Martinez in New York advised Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) on a $100m corporate financing to cellular communications company Africell Holding, in order to support the modernization and expansion of its mobile telecommunications network operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and The Gambia; and Hechl, Washington DC-based Wylie Levone and team head Jorge Diaz-Silveira in Miami advised FMO and DEG on the $38m long-term financing provided to General Energy Solution for the development of phase two of the Monte Plata Solar Photovoltaic facility located in Monte Plata, Dominican Republic. José Valdivia in Miami and Brian Chappell in Baltimore are also key figures. Kevin Keenan joined the Houston office from Baker Botts L.L.P. in 2018.
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP has ‘extensive market knowledge in the energy sector’ and is regularly engaged in project finance mandates in the energy and infrastructure sectors, acting for banks and other financial institutions as well as sponsor clients. In an example of the latter, department head Jeffrey Schroeder is advising DTE Energy Services on the Dearborn Campus Energy Infrastructure Project. San Francisco-based Michael Klaus and Eric Pogue, who is co-chair of the renewable energy and clean power practice and chair of the sustainability and corporate clean power initiative, are instructed by US financial institutions on the financing of large-scale projects. Jo Anne Sirgado in New York is regularly involved in domestic and cross-border project finance work and is experienced in acting for lenders in the financing of renewable energy projects secured by debt receivables. Richmond-based contacts include Eric Nedell, John O’Neill, who leads the firm’s infrastructure and P3 practice, and Laura Jones, who is experienced in energy tax credit matters. Other key figures include David Lowman, who co-chairs the renewable energy and clean power practice; Gregory Lang, Michael Madden and counsel Douglas Murphy in New York; John Tormey, who focuses on domestic and international project finance mandates; Laurence Skinner; Timothy Unger, who divides time between the Houston and Beijing offices; and Vera Rechsteiner, who operates from Dubai and Washington DC. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.
King & Spalding LLP stands out for its sponsor-side expertise and advises on a range of high-value oil, gas and LNG project finance transactions. Vera De Brito de Gyarfas, who focuses on mandates involving energy projects in Latin America and Africa, and Scott Greer, who heads the construction transactional practice, are advising Anadarko on its $50bn Mozambique LNG export project. Highlights for projects and infrastructure head Ken Culotta included advising Magnum Energy on the $100m development and private equity financing for a barrel-refined products (aviation fuel, diesel, and motor gasoline) storage facility in Delta, Utah, while James Bowe in Washington DC is instructed by Mountaineer NGLs in the project development and financing matters relating to a natural gas storage project near Clarington, Ohio. In New York, the team has been bolstered by a number of recent additions, including counsel Frank Schoen, who joined from White & Case LLP, as well as several individuals from Morrison & Foerster LLP, including Jonathan Melmed, who co-chairs the firm’s global private equity practice and heads the US power and infrastructure practice. Named attorneys are based in Houston unless otherwise stated. Archie Fallon joined Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in 2018.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has made a real push in the project finance market with several high-profile hires in 2018; department head Rohit Chaudhry and Brian Greene joined from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP; Roald Nashi, who is based across the Washington DC and Houston offices, joined from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP; Robert Fleishman, who was formerly at Morrison & Foerster LLP also joined; as did Scott Cockerham, who arrived from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP; and Kelann Stirling in New York, who joined from Latham & Watkins LLP. The team is noted for its experience in handling energy and infrastructure project finance instructions. Chaudhry is acting for the lenders, led by Investec and Crédit Agricole, in a $500m financing for the acquisition of the 644MW Bayonne Energy Project in New Jersey from Macquarie Infrastructure Partners by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners; and Nashi advised Sithe Global Power and SG Bujugali Holdings on the contemporaneous transfer of its shares and refinancing of the debt of Bujugali Energy, which owns the 250MW Bujagali hydropower project in Uganda. Working together, Chaudhry and Nashi advised Brookfield Asset Management and its affiliates, as buyers and borrowers, on the committed acquisition financing for the purchase of midstream assets from Enbridge. The duo also led advice for the lenders on a $2.4bn holding company financing for Freeport LNG. Named individuals are based in Washington DC unless otherwise indicated.
Latham & Watkins LLP stands out for its ‘excellent expertise’ across sponsor and lender-side mandates; the team 'understands client objectives and risk tolerances' and is 'solutions-driven'. Jonathan Rod, who co-chairs the project development and finance practice with New York and Washington DC-based David Penna (his 'client attention is unparalleled'), led advice for Brookfield Energy Marketing on the €96.4m financing for the Cerro Dominador project, a 110MW photovoltaic plant and a solar plant located in Santiago, Chile. Rod also advised Dominion Energy and Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG on the $3bn project financing in connection with the Cove Point LNG export terminal in Maryland, and Antonio Del Pino and Penna advised La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and CKD Infraestructura México (CKD IM) on the $1.4bn pending acquisition of 80% of a portfolio of eight wind and solar assets owned by Enel Green Power. Los Angeles-based Jeffrey Greenberg, counsel Kelly Thomason Self and Omar Nazif in San Diego are also recommended, as are Matthew Henegar, Warren Lilien, Veronica Relea and Eli Katz. Amy Maloney joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in October 2018. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
The ‘creative, responsive and diligent’ team at Mayer Brown is ‘able to break down complex issues and explain them in a user-friendly manner’. The team is also praised for its ability to ‘take the time to understand the needs of the client’. Particularly experienced in PPP matters, Joseph Seliga advised Purdue University, a public institution of the State of Indiana, on the development of new student housing facilities through a long-term PPP structure. Renewable energy transactions are also a key area of focus for the team; Paul Astolfi, who co-heads the global projects group, acted for Allianz Global Investors in a $760m debt financing transaction to finance a portfolio of ten solar projects in the US. Robert Goldberg in Houston and Jeffrey Davis in Washington DC advised GE Energy Financial Services and JP Morgan as equity investors on the commitment to invest approximately $192m, plus additional contributions, to finance the 200MW Persimmon Creek wind project, which is developed by Elawan Wind and Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners. The team is also noted for its experience in Latin America-facing mandates, where Washington DC-based Christopher Erckert recently advised the note purchasers in the placement of $103m senior secured notes and $11.5m subordinated, secured notes in relation to the refinancing of the Naranjal and Del Litoral Solar power plants in Uruguay. Barry Machlin, Mitch Holzrichter, Douglas Doetsch, Nadav Klugman and David Bakst, who is based in New York, are also key figures. Named individuals are based in Chicago unless stated otherwise. Tax equity specialist David Burton moved to Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP in April 2019.
The ‘very collaborative’ team at McGuireWoods LLP ‘interfaces well with clients and their respective counsels’ and is instructed by lenders and sponsors in energy projects. Renewables projects are a particular area of focus; here, Becky Diffen in Austin advised Macquarie Capital on the development, tax equity financing and construction financing of a 200MW wind farm in Oldham and Deaf Smith counties, Texas; and Timothy Callahan in Chicago advised KeyBank National Association on several financings including a $80m back-leveraged financing for a portfolio of over 80 solar projects California and a $30m refinancing for a 25MW wind farm in Idaho. Charlotte-based Adam Greene and Marvin Rogers, the latter of whom jointly heads the team with Matthew Kapinos in Houston, and Brian Kelly in Baltimore, are also recommended. Richmond-based Joanne Katsantonis is also a key figure. Senior counsel Kate Watlington in Charlotte joined in 2018 from Latham & Watkins LLP.
Cross-border project finance mandates are a key area of expertise for the team at Milbank, which is active across lender and sponsor-side mandates. In an example of its cross-border expertise, Carolina Walther-Meade and Daniel Bartfeld, who heads the project, energy and infrastructure finance group, advised EIG Global Energy Partners and its subsidiary Cerro Dominador on the financing of a 110MW concentrated solar thermal power plant in addition to a 100MW photovoltaic solar power plant in the Antofagasta region in Chile. Bartfeld also acted for Centrais Eléctricas de Sergipe (CELSE) in connection with the development and greenfield project financing of Porto de Sergipe I Thermoelectric Complex in Porto de Sergipe, Brazil. In the domestic market, Allan Marks in Los Angeles advised Onyx Renewable Partners on its tax equity partnership with RBC Capital Markets for the financing of 16 solar PV projects across six states. Jonathan Green and Eric Silverman, who co-chair of the project, energy and infrastructure finance practice, are also recommended, as are Roland Estevez, Daniel Michalchuk, William Bice, Jaime Ramirez and Alec Borisoff, who is noted for his mining-sector expertise. Karen Wong and Timothy Wendling in Los Angeles are also key figures, as are senior associate Richard Hillman and associate Jeffrey Leider. Named individuals are based in New York unless otherwise stated.
The ‘exceptional’ team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is particularly noted for its experience in energy project finance mandates; it is active on the sponsor side, and its lender practice has been further boosted with the recent arrival of Amy Maloney from Latham & Watkins LLP. Neeraj Arora in Los Angeles advised Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, as administrative agent for a syndication of lenders, on the financing of SWG Finco’s portfolio of five operating gas-fired electrical generation facilities located in California, Colorado and New Mexico. Richard Filosa, who jointly heads the team with James Tynion in New York, led advice for Ares on the development and financing of the St Joseph Energy Center Phase 2 power project. Further, Wayne Song in Los Angeles advised Coronal Energy on a $235m tax equity financing from US Bankcorp Community Development Corporation and back-leveraged term debt from Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, for a combined portfolio of solar facilities on US Department of Defense property. Marc Reardon, Michael Müller, Felipe Alice in Houston, who is ‘always available to address the needs of the client’, and Jonathan Morris in New York are also recommended, as is Houston-based John Crespo. Named individuals are based in Boston unless otherwise stated. Adrian Talamantes joined Holland & Knight LLP in 2018.
Morrison & Foerster LLP regularly handles project finance mandates in the renewables space, acting for sponsor and lender clients. Elizabeth Sluder in Los Angeles acted for Cathay Bank in its first tax equity investment into Sunnova. Elsewhere, the firm advised Apex Clean Energy on the sale of a 163MW wind power project on the Gulf Coast in Texas to Sammons Renewable Energy. Of counsel Julia Balas, who is based across the firm’s Los Angeles and New York offices, is also a key figure. The team saw a number of departures, including that of Jeffrey Kayes, who joined Baker Botts L.L.P. in 2018.
With experience acting for lenders and sponsors, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP is highly regarded for its experience in advising on finance mandates for renewable energy and conventional power projects. Tax equity deals are also a key area of focus for the team, where Robert Eberhardt in New York and Keith Martin in Washington DC, who is co-head of projects, are noted. Martin and Joseph Williams, who is also based in Washington DC jointly head the department, which also includes Noam Ayali, Robert Shapiro, Jeremy Hushon, who focuses on the financing of energy and infrastructure projects in emerging markets, Paul Weber and Sarah Devine, who regularly handles cross-border mandates. In New York, co-head of projects Benjamin Koenigsberg, Todd Alexander and Ikenna Emehelu are also recommended. Michael Yuffee joined Winston & Strawn LLP in February 2018.
Nossaman LLP stands out for its PPP project finance practice where it acts for US public agencies and private sector participants in high-profile transport and social infrastructure projects. Infrastructure practice chair Patrick Harder heads the team which includes Barney Allison, who is experienced in transportation project finance and advises on the formation of PPPs; Corey Boock, who handles the structuring, procurement, financing, and negotiation of PPPs for the development of infrastructure projects; Geoffrey Yarema, who regularly handles the procurement, contracting and financing structures for large public works projects; and Yukiko Kojima. Of recent note, Harder acted for the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) in relation to the $4.9bn Automated People Mover (APM) train system at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
O'Melveny & Myers LLP is regularly involved in project finance mandates in the infrastructure and energy sectors, acting for sponsors and lenders, and is particularly highly regarded for its experience in US PPP projects. The team has handled a raft of airport project mandates; Eric Richards, who leads the project development and finance practice alongside Gregory Thorpe, acted for Regional Airports Improvement Corporation (RAIC), as borrower on behalf of Southwest Airlines, in connection with a credit facility to fund $500m in improvements to Terminal 1 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX); he also advised RAIC on the $800m redevelopment, and related financings, of Terminals 2 and 3 for Delta Air Lines at LAX. In addition, Elizabeth Dubeck advised Delta Air Lines on the $1.4bn financing for the redevelopment of Delta’s Terminals C and D at LaGuardia Airport in New York. In the energy space, New York-based Junaid Chida, who chairs the energy practice, advised John Laing on its investment in the 149MW Rocksprings wind project in Texas. Denise Raytis, Kelly McTigue, Jeff Hoffner, counsel Valerie Smith, who has 'strong public financing experience', and New York-based Arthur Hazlitt are also key figures. Named attorneys are based in Los Angeles except where indicated otherwise.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is regularly engaged in project finance transactions in the infrastructure and energy space. Global co-head of infrastructure Daniel Mathews advised New York State Urban Development Corporation (Empire State Development) on the financing for phase 2 of the $2.3bn Moynihan Train Hall Redevelopment Project, which involves the TIFIA program and other federal, state and local funding. Additionally, Young Lee is advising is the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on the $24bn redevelopment of the Hudson River underwater rail crossings and associated infrastructure. On the energy front, Houston-based Blake Winburne, who is global head of the energy and infrastructure practice, advised Southwest Generation on a $292m HoldCo portfolio financing involving gas-fired power plants in its existing fleet; Tara Higgins, who co-heads the firm’s global power practice, advised the owners of the St. Joseph Energy Center on the refinancing of the two-phase natural gas-fired, combined-cycle power plant 1400MW project; and Mark Weitzel in San Francisco advised Canadian Solar on its $160m sale and subsequent debt and tax equity financing of a development-stage 74.8MW solar energy project in North Carolina. Christopher Gladbach and Paul Zarnowiecki in Washington DC, Christopher Moore, and tax expert Richard Chirls are also key figures. Named lawyers are based in New York unless otherwise stated.
Paul Hastings LLP is instructed by sponsors and lenders in relation to energy and infrastructure projects, and it is particularly noted for its expertise in advising on projects in Latin America. New York-based Robert Kartheiser, who heads the team, advised Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Corporación Financiera de Desarrollo on the $142m project financing for the design, installation, operation, and maintenance of solar photovoltaic systems by the borrower Ergon Perú to supply electricity to rural areas not connected to the power grid in Peru. Kartheiser and Cathleen McLaughlin, who is also based in New York, advised Glenfarne Group on a $400m syndicated senior secured loan to subsidiary company Prime Energía. Recently promoted partner Elicia Ling in New York, William DeGrandis in Washington DC, Peter Weiner in San Francisco and Roberta Bassegio, who is based across the firm’s New York and São Paulo offices, are also key figures.
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP regularly handles project finance mandates for international and domestic energy projects; P3 infrastructure projects are also a key area of expertise. New York-based Michael Reese acted for CSOLAR IV West and other Tenaska affiliates in connection with the permanent refinancing of the construction debt to build a 150MW solar farm in southern California; Catherine Hood in New York advised the underwriters on DTE Electric Company’s $525m green bond offering to support the development and construction of low-carbon, clean energy projects; and Thomas Gump in San Francisco advised Duke Energy Corporation on the issuance of $234m in senior secured notes and a $45m letter of credit facility provided for a 16MW portfolio of eight solar facilities located in California, Colorado and New Mexico. New York and Miami-based Peter Baumgaertner and recently promoted partner Alicia McKnight, who operates across the San Francisco and New York offices, are also recommended. Robert James, who is based across the San Francisco and Houston offices, co-heads the project finance team with Reese, while Gump heads the P3 projects team with Jeffrey Gans in Washington DC.
Shearman & Sterling LLP has particular expertise in energy and infrastructure sector project finance mandates. Department head Gregory Tan advised Rose Capital Investment, alongside a cross-jurisdictional team, on its co-investment with the Development Bank of Japan, Highstar Capital and Ares Management for the acquisition of the Linden Power Project in New Jersey, and Alexandro Padrés acted for the commercial and development banks, including Bancomext, BBVA, Caixa, EIB, IDB, IDB Invest, MUFG and Natixis, in connection with the $1bn Enel Green Power portfolio project financing of three solar photovoltaic plants in Mexico. Elsewhere, Robert Freedman, who is focused on US power and renewables transactions, advised GE Capital EFS Financing as administrative agent, collateral agent, joint lead arranger, sole bookrunner and a lender, on the financing for the construction of the Persimmon Creek Wind Farm, a 200MW wind power generation facility located in Ellis, Woodward and Dewey Counties, Oklahoma. Cynthia Urda Kassis, who heads the metals and mining practice, and recently promoted partner Paul Epstein are acting for the US Department of Transportation, through the Federal Highway Administration, as transactional counsel in relation to a senior secured loan as part of the $2bn I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Widening P3 project in Alabama. Denise Grant is also a key figure. Named lawyers are based in New York. Patricia Hammes recently retired.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is best known for its expertise in capital markets deals across the infrastructure and energy sectors. Standout work for department head David Lieberman included acting for MUFG and Mizuho as lenders in connection with NextEra Energy’s $42.1m financing to support the development of Pinal Solar’s 30MW energy storage project, located on 104 hectares near Casa Grande, Pinal County, Arizona. In addition, Lieberman advised Morgan Stanley and MUFG, as lenders, on Frontera Generation’s $735m refinancing of a 536MW natural gas-fired power plant in Texas, and Brian Chisling advised Macquarie CAF Management on its formation of a joint venture with the operators of Harbor Performance Enhancement Center to provide $130m in capital for the development of a shipping container staging hub located at Terminal Island in the Port of Los Angeles. Of counsel Kenneth Wyman and senior counsel Amy Beller advised the lenders, including Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, on Terra-Gen’s $244.3m financing for the construction and repowering of wind farms located in the Tehachapi area of Kern County, California and Big Spring, Texas, respectively. Named individuals are based in New York unless otherwise indicated.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is regularly instructed by sponsor and lender clients in relation to US energy project finance mandates. David Armstrong, who is based across the Toronto and New York offices, advised Investec Bank, as lead arranger and administrative agent, and Investec, as lead arranger, on the $363m senior secured financing, consisting of a $318m term loan facility and a $45m revolving facility, in relation to the Rhode Island State Energy Center (RISEC), a 594MW gas-fired power plant in Johnson, Rhode Island. Elsewhere, Lance Brasher and Aryan Moniri advised Natixis, New York Branch, as administrative agent and collateral agent, on amendments to its credit agreement for the 620MW gas-fired Kleen Energy Systems power plant in Connecticut. Also of note, Paul Kraske advised Hudson Transmission Partners on the financing and development of an underwater electric transmission line between New Jersey and New York City. Ethan Schultz, who operates across the Houston and Washington DC offices, is also a key figure. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC unless otherwise indicated.
Troutman Sanders’ project finance offering is 'extraordinarily commercial' and is particularly active in the renewable energy space. New York-based Hayden Baker, who joined in 2018 from Sullivan & Worcester LLP, advised BNRG Renewables on the construction financing and tax equity investment to fund the development of a 30MW portfolio of solar energy projects located in the Pacific Northwest. John Leonti, who is based across the Orange County, New York and San Francisco offices and jointly leads the team with Craig Kline in New York, advised Southern Power Company (SPC) on the negotiation of a tax equity investment partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch concerning a 148.4MW wind generating facility located in Concho County, Texas. In another key mandate, Kline advised Wells Fargo Bank on its closing of a syndicated construction loan, ITC bridge loan, back-leverage loan and letter of credit financing facility and a separate syndicated project letter of credit facility with Origis Holdings for a 200MW AC solar facility located in Twiggs County, Georgia.
Vinson & Elkins LLP is highly regarded for its expertise in handling finance mandates relating to energy and infrastructure projects. Kaam Sahely, who jointly heads the energy, transactions and projects department with John Connally, is advising Woodside Petroleum on its potential participation, as co-sponsor with Sempra, in the $10bn Port Arthur LNG project; he is also advising Gulf Coast Ammonia on the $800m development and project financing of a hydrogen-based ammonia production facility in Texas. Maritza Okata and Karen Smith in New York advised Tyr Energy, alongside Trina Chandler and Washington DC-based Katy Gottsponer, on the financing and development of the Hickory Run Energy Center, a natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Smith also advised Babson Capital Management on the $34.5m purchase of secured promissory notes issued by nine subsidiaries of Cypress Creek Renewables for the permanent financing of each issuer's utility-scale tilt solar array project in North Carolina. Mark Spradling, Mark Brasher and Keith Fullenweider are also recommended, as are New York-based David Wicklund and John Grand in Dallas. Senior associate Simone King in New York is also a key figure, as is Eamon Nolan who joined in 2019 from Linklaters LLP. Named individuals are based in Houston unless stated otherwise. Former department co-head James Cuclis joined White & Case LLP in 2018.
The 'very approachable and very helpful' team at White & Case LLP enhanced its position as a leading oil and gas practice with the opening of its Houston office in February 2018. Project finance deals in the power, renewables and PPP space are remain a mainstay of the practice. On the lender side, Miami-based Carlos Viana and Jeannine Acevedo, who is based across the Miami and New York offices, acted for KfW-IPEX Bank and DEG as lenders in relation to the $141.6m non-recourse financing for the Pomona wind farm project in Argentina, which is being developed by Genneia. In addition, New York-based Marius Griskonis is advising Korea Development Bank and Mizuho Bank as coordinating lead arrangers on a project financing for, and tax equity investment in, a 60MW solar PV plant and a 34MW battery storage system in Guam. In an example of its sponsor-side work, Viana advised Invenergy on the $68m hybrid A loan and B bond refinancing of its 50MW La Jacinta Solar Farm located in the Salto province of Uruguay. Jason Webber, who is global co-head of the oil and gas industry group, Elena Millerman, who is 'a leader in hybrid project finance', Clark Wohlferd and Dolly Mirchandani are also key figures in New York, while Ned Neaher in Washington DC is also recommended. The team also saw several key hires, most notably that of James Cuclis in Houston, who joined from Vinson & Elkins LLP. Other key figures include New York-based Arthur Scavone, who is global head of project development and finance, and Christian Hansen in Miami.
Winston & Strawn LLP is ‘hugely dedicated to the success of a deal’ and ‘brings a client-focused and highly specialized approach to the project finance sector’. The team has recently been bolstered by several key arrivals; ‘skilled negotiator’ Michael Pikiel, David Gillespie and Washington DC-based Patrick Groomes joined the team from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP; and Richard Shutran joined from O'Melveny & Myers LLP. Highlights for Pikiel included advising the lenders to one of the short-listed bidders for a project to design, install, finance, operate, and maintain a fiber-optic broadband network to be installed within the right of way of the 550-mile Pennsylvania Turnpike. Jason Hellwig and Houston-based associate Patrick Selinger are also key figures, while Pikiel, Alan Hoffman and London-based James Simpson jointly head the team. Named individuals are based in New York unless otherwise indicated.