Chadbourne is a market leader in renewable energy. The prestigious Chambers directory in London ranks it at the top of United States law firms working in the sector based on year-round interviewing of corporate law departments and peers at other firms.
The firm works in some capacity for most major renewable energy developers who are active in the US market. Half the renewable energy work in 2014 was on projects outside the US, principally in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The firm’s extensive deal list in the sector includes some of the largest renewable energy projects in the world and first-of-a-kind transaction structures. It has worked on roughly a third of the installed wind capacity and on close to half the large-scale solar projects in the US and has done more than four dozen master tax equity facilities for solar rooftop portfolios. It has been counsel on slightly more than half the federal loan guarantees issued for renewable energy projects by the US Department of Energy. It is also prominent in the geothermal, fuel cell, biomass, landfill gas, hydroelectric, energy storage and biofuels markets.
Most renewable energy projects have been financed historically in the tax equity market. Chadbourne has been counsel in a large share of the big-ticket transactions in that market since 2005. Term sheets and deal papers that the firm drafted for use in partnership flip and master inverted lease transactions are now the standard documents in use in such transactions. Chadbourne did the first prepaid service contract deals in the US wind market, the largest wind farm to date, the first large wind farm to be financed through a sale-leaseback, the most complex portfolio debt financings to date in the solar rooftop market, the first three solar securitization transactions and the first US offshore wind farm. It wrote separate manuals on tax issues and solar deal structures for the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Solar Electric Power Association. It has been engaged as counsel on a series of acquisitions of renewable energy companies and portfolios. Power Finance & Risk named it energy asset M&A firm of the year in 2014.
The renewable energy industry in the US is heavily dependent on government policy. Small changes in policy can make big winners and losers. It is dangerous to work in such a market without keeping an ear to the ground in Washington. Unlike other US firms working on renewable energy, Chadbourne has a significant part of its team based in Washington.
Chadbourne helped organize the solar trade association in the Middle East. It was counsel on the first large wind farm in Jordan, the first large solar project in Oman, solar, wind and hydroelectric projects in various countries in Africa, the largest wind farm and largest merchant solar project to date in Latin America and a series of other renewable energy projects in Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay and across the Caribbean and Central America.