US law firm Kirkland & Ellis has hired Brian Greene as infrastructure and energy partner, adding another Norton Rose lawyer to its project finance practice.
Greene follows fellow ex-Norton Rose debt finance partners Rohit Chaudhry and Roald Nashi to the firm after they joined Kirkland & Ellis in mid-February.
Greene spent eight years at Chadbourne & Parke, which was acquired by Norton Rose in June 2017.
He has experience working on deals representing lenders, investors and sponsors in non-recourse financing deals across the US and Latin America.
Greene told Inframation that he was attracted by Kirkland & Ellis’ impressive energy practice that has been built out of Houston.
He has advised lenders in AES Colón’s Costa Norte project in Panama, as well as a number of early solar deals in Chile in 2013 and worked with I Squared Capital on its October 2017 acquisition of IC Power’s assets in Latin America, he told Inframation.
“Mexico is a country where I’d like to do more deals in the future,” Greene said. “There are still a lot of solar and thermal deals which need financing.”
He added that Argentina is “also an exciting country” in which a lot of investors are searching for deals. “The mid-term elections were very positive and increased the possibility that President Macri will get re-elected and continue his reform program,” he said. “For investors, Macri has brought more stability, both locally and regionally.”
Greene said that he believes solar deal volume may be down in the US this year in part because of the tariff on imported solar panels but expects to see more wind farm developments, including offshore wind. “There are lots of European offshore wind developers who are dipping their toes into the US market and they bring a lot of technical experience with them for these projects,” he said.
He expects this year’s tax reforms to reduce the amount of tax equity and said that debt financing is likely to take up a larger proportion of future renewable transactions.
Another sector that Greene highlighted was electricity storage, saying that it’s “on everyone’s minds” at the moment. “In coming years you might see more deals where storage is added on to operating gas and solar plants, which will be very useful for regulating the power supply in peak periods,” he said.
“Batteries can provide a variety of services, from backup power and demand charge reduction on the customer side to frequency regulation and energy arbitrage for the ISO/RTOs,” Greene said. “However, regulatory schemes need to be updated to compensate battery owners for these services.”