Successful financing of large-scale energy infrastructure projects requires careful coordination of resources, talent, information, and capital resources. Nixon Peabody’s Energy attorneys have deep energy industry experience and are well equipped to assist clients with the issues associated with the financing of energy facilities of all types. Over the past decade, our internationally recognized project finance attorneys have closed finance transactions exceeding $15 billion for energy projects both large and small scale.
We represent energy project developers and participants, equity and tax equity investors, and lenders in capital market transactions as well as transactions involving debt from more traditional project finance lenders.
Our experience includes the financing of:
- Conventional and renewable electric generating projects, whether utility-owned, publicly-owned, or merchant
- Combined heat and power projects
- Pollution control facilities
- Solid waste/resource recovery facilities
- Electric and natural gas transmission facilities
- Gasification projects
Our attorneys have also advised clients in connection with leveraged transactions relating to acquisitions of electric generating facilities.
Developers, national syndicators, lenders, and investors also need assistance leveraging available resources to structure renewable energy tax credits into project financing. With approximately 40 attorneys specializing in the use of tax credits and grants to finance projects ranging from solar to wind to biomass, Nixon Peabody is the nation’s preeminent law firm in structuring and closing investments in tax credit transactions.
Loan Guarantees & Other Government Programs
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), as amended, provides for the issuance of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantees that support the commercialization of innovative energy efficiency, renewable energy, advanced transmission, and distribution technologies; hydrogen fuel cell technology; advanced nuclear energy facilities; and carbon capture. Further, an amendment to EPAct as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 expanded the DOE loan guarantee program, authorizing the Secretary of Energy to make loan guarantees for the additional categories of energy projects.
Nixon Peabody energy attorneys are very familiar with the DOE solicitations. We not only represent the DOE in connection with the loan guarantee program, but we also work with clients to take advantage of the opportunities available under the program. In today's challenging debt market, these loan guarantees offer a valuable alternative which could facilitate the construction and development of these projects.
We also help clients take advantage of both federal and state legislation that offers benefits such as grant funding, tax incentives, or Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) for offshore and marine-based renewable energy projects.
Nixon Peabody Energy attorneys have negotiated Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) agreements and structured settlements for plants and projects having a combined generating capacity of more than 25,000 MW. Our PILOT work ranges across all forms of commercial generation, and the depth of our experience has helped us partner with clients to find creative solutions to development challenges and state and local tax problems.
For both new and existing facilities, our Energy lawyers strive to optimize state and local economic development assistance to reduce operating costs relative to taxes (both property taxes and sales taxes) and to provide payment certainty. We negotiate creative, business-based approaches to reduce and manage such taxes. We also provide tax-advantaged financing assistance built upon our tax experience for new, highly capital-intensive development through the use of tax-exempt financing and PILOT increment financing, including PILOT bonds.
Project Finance/Debt Financing/Lease Financing
Our financing work involves the full range of energy infrastructure assets, including conventional fossil fuel generation, electric and gas transmission assets, energy equipment manufacturing facilities, and renewable power projects. We work closely with clients early in the development stage to ensure that key project documents are well structured and risks properly addressed and ultimately financeable. We are skilled at identifying and creatively resolving issues and propelling projects forward. Nixon Peabody’s Energy team works collaboratively providing a suite of complementary skills to our clients, which allows for efficient and effective support in connection with project financing.
Specifically, our attorneys have a broad range of experience in capital market transactions, lease transactions, equity fund formation, as well as in handling transactions involving debt from more traditional project finance lenders. We represent project developers, sponsors, equity and tax equity investors, lenders, electric and gas utilities, public power agencies, municipal utilities, monolines, energy marketers, and other energy enterprises. We work with investors, including private equity funds, in connection with their energy-related merger and acquisition activity to assess target assets, develop structures and solutions to address identified risks, and support acquisition financing. Our finance attorneys have advised a variety of clients in connection with tax credits, grants, and loan guarantees available for energy projects from the Department of Energy and the USDA. We help our clients to discover and utilize government funding opportunities and often layer these programs to achieve significant benefits for client projects.
Nixon Peabody attorneys have extensive experience representing energy clients throughout the country in tax-exempt financings encompassing a wide range of structures. An important aspect of the firm’s experience in this area is the depth of our tax law capabilities with five seasoned tax attorneys who function exclusively as “section 103” lawyers. Our tax attorneys have a broad understanding of all the varied structures used in financings, and have worked on virtually every type of tax-exempt financing.