Gainesville Renewable Energy Center in Florida awarded North American Biomass Deal of the Year by Project Finance Magazine; lawyers say US$500M they helped secure is largest for any biomass project to date

Audrey Dixon

Audrey Dixon

Mar 7, 2012 – PRNewswire

NEW YORK , March 7, 2012 (press release) – Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP (Cadwalader), a leading counselor to global financial institutions and corporations, today announced that the firm's Energy and Commodities Group, led by partner Robert G. Stephens, served as counsel on a transaction that has been awarded the North American Biomass Deal of the Year by Project Finance Magazine. The award recognizes the firm's counsel to the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center, developed by American Renewables. The facility is a 100-MW wood-fired biomass electric generating project outside of Gainesville, Florida.

"I am delighted to congratulate Robert and the Team for their outstanding work and continued success in pioneering energy law," said Christopher White, Chairman of Cadwalader. "This award reflects Cadwalader's steadfast commitment to practicing law at the highest of levels and helping clients find solutions to unique situations. With the innovation and client focus Robert and his team bring, our Energy and Commodities practice anticipates another exciting year working with the premier companies and financiers focused on the industry."

The Gainesville biomass project is regarded as one of the largest biomass ventures ever in North America, and the approximately $500 million in debt and equity financing that Mr. Stephens and his team helped close for the project is the largest for any biomass project to date. Previous deals in the biomass space had seen myriad challenges, including atypical fuel and equipment, and often struggled to reach desired levels of funding. However, the Gainesville project received considerable attention and support from banks, even in the face of increased uncertainty around U.S. renewables incentives.

American Renewables, a joint venture of Baycorp Holdings, Energy Management and Tyr Energy, are the developers behind the Gainesville facility, the group's second such undertaking.

Mr. Stephens represents energy companies, financial institutions, project sponsors, and private investors in a wide range of energy transactions and financings. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, pursued his M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Wisconsin School of Business, and later received his J.D. with high honors from the University of Texas School of Law. He is registered to practice law in New York and Texas, and is a member of the Houston Bar Association.

Mr. Stephens's is regarded as one of the preeminent energy lawyers in the United States, and has been recognized by Chambers USA, a Guide to Leading Lawyers.

About Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, established in 1792, is one of the world's leading international law firms, with offices in New York, London, Charlotte, Washington, Houston, Beijing, Hong Kong and Brussels. Cadwalader serves a diverse client base, including many of the world's top financial institutions, undertaking business in more than 50 countries in six continents. The firm offers legal expertise in antitrust, banking, business fraud, corporate finance, corporate governance, energy, environmental, financial restructuring and reorganizations, healthcare, intellectual property, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, private client, private equity, real estate, regulation, securitization, structured finance, and tax. More information about Cadwalader can be found at www.cadwalader.com.

SOURCE Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

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