Fulbright Transaction Awarded Deal of the Year for Third Consecutive Year
On March 1, 2012, the Plainfield Renewable Energy, LLC project was awarded the North American Mezzanine Deal of the Year for 2011 by Project Finance magazine at its annual awards dinner in New York.
This marks Fulbright's third consecutive year with a Deal of the Year award from Project Finance magazine. In 2009, Petroterminal de Panama, S. A.'s project received the Latin America Refinancing Deal of the Year and in 2010 the Long Beach Courthouse PPP transaction received the North American PPP Deal of the Year.
Fulbright represented Enova Energy Group, LLC (Enova Energy)and its project company, Plainfield Renewable Energy, LLC (PRE), in the project, which involved the $224.5 million construction financing of a 37.5 MW (net) biomass power plant. The transaction closed on December 29, 2011.
The 37.5 MW (net) biomass-fired electricity generating facility, expected to achieve commercial operation by the end of 2013, will be located in Plainfield, Connecticut. The facility will implement bubbling fluidized bed technology provided by Energy Products of Idaho for the staged-combustion and gasification of construction and demolition wood waste and an Alstom steam turbine generator to convert steam into electricity.
Enova Energy holds an 80% equity interest in PRE, which was acquired from Decker Energy International, Inc. and NuPower LLC in connection with the closing of the construction financing. NuPower LLC retained a minority stake in PRE.
The financing is innovative, using both $125M of senior secured debt provided by affiliates of Carlyle Energy Mezzanine Opportunities Fund, L.P., along with mezzanine debt for the remaining $99.5M provided by the EPC contractor, SAIC Constructors, LLC, an affiliate of Science Applications International Corporation, in connection with deferred payments under the EPC contract.
The project is also eligible for a grant (a so-called "1603 cash grant") as part of the Payments for Specified Energy Property in Lieu of Tax Credits program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The Connecticut Light and Power Company, a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, is contracted to purchase 80% of the project's output under a 15-year power purchase agreement.
Fulbright's multidiscipline team criss-crossed the country.
The team was led by New York partners Mark Tibberts and Mike Pikiel with New York partner David Gillespie handling the 1603 cash grant and tax matters. They were supported by New York associates Dayna Volpe and Patrick Selinger, and—with respect to corporate matters—New York senior associate Erik Mengwall. Real estate matters were handled by New York senior counsel Jim Stahl. Energy regulatory matters were handled by senior counsel Tania Perez in New York and senior counsel Jeff Williamson and associate Rabeha Kamaluddin in Washington, D.C. Environmental matters were handled by Austin senior associate Bob Greenslade.
Learn more about Fulbright's Project Finance group at www.fulbright.com/projectfinance.