Adam Umanoff co-chairs Akin Gump’s global project finance practice. Mr. Umanoff focuses on the development, financing, operation, disposition and acquisition of infrastructure and energy projects and companies, with a particular focus on the renewable energy industry. He represents project sponsors and developers, lenders, equity investors, manufacturers, technology companies and other participants in the sector and has substantial experience across the wind, solar, geothermal and biomass industries.

Practice & Background

In the past few years, Mr. Umanoff served as lead counsel on five of the largest renewable energy projects in the world, three of which won “Deal of the Year” honors from Project Finance & Risk, Project Finance Magazine, Project Finance International and Solar Power Generation. He has been recognized as among California’s Top 100 Lawyers and Top 25 Clean Tech Lawyers, and is one of only nine attorneys in the United States recognized by Chambers and Partners in Band 1 for renewable energy projects.

Prior to joining Akin Gump, Mr. Umanoff was a partner at several international law firms, an independent renewable energy consultant and President and CEO of Enron Wind Corp.

Mr. Umanoff is a member of the American Bar Association, Business Law Section and the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He received his B.S. from Cornell University in 1980 and his J.D. in 1983 from Columbia Law School, where he was editor of the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and the recipient of the Wertheimer Prize in Labor Law.

Representative Matters

Mr. Umanoff’s recent engagements include:

  • representation of SunPower Corporation in the development and sale of the 580 MW Antelope Valley photovoltaic solar project (AVSP) to affiliates of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. The project will utilize SunPower’s proprietary photovoltaic modules and tracking technology, and its electricity will be sold to Southern California Edison Company under long-term power purchase agreements. SunPower will build and operate the project for MidAmerican. Construction of the project has commenced, and commercial operation is expected in 2015. When completed, AVSP will be the largest solar energy project in the world. This transaction was recognized as “2013 North American Solar Deal of the Year” by Project Finance Magazine
  • representation of Terra-Gen Power in the development and financing of the first 1.32 gigawatts of its up to 3 gigawatt Alta Wind Energy Center in California. When completed, this will be the largest multiphase wind project in the United States. Our work has included a broad range of project development services including, the acquisition of project development assets, negotiation of turbine supply and construction agreements, real estate development, the structuring of shared facilities, arrangements and similar development activities, and the following financing and sale transactions:
    • a $115 million equipment financing (July 2009), a $400 million construction financing (March 2010) and a sale-leaseback financing (December 2010) for the 150 megawatt Alta Wind I project
    • a $1.2 billion financing for the Alta Wind II through V projects (totaling 568 megawatts) which included a Rule 144A bond offering, a bank cash grant bridge facility and a forward commitment for a sale-leaseback financing, making this the first large portfolio of wind projects utilizing a leveraged lease finance structure in the United States. This transaction was recognized as “North American Wind Deal of the Year” by Project Finance Magazine and as “Bond Deal of the Year” by Project Finance International. (July 2010)
    • $318 million of construction, cash grant bridge, letter of credit and mini-perm facilities for the 150 megawatt Alta Wind VI project (May 2011)
    • $313 million of construction, cash grant bridge, letter of credit and mini-perm facilities for the 150 megawatt Alta Wind VIII project (May 2011)
    • sale of the 150 megawatt Alta Wind VIII project to Brookfield (January 2012)
    • $347 million of construction, cash grant bridge, letter of credit and mini-perm facilities for the 168 megawatt Alta Wind VII project (April 2012)
    • $292 million of construction, cash grant bridge, letter of credit and mini-perm facilities for the 132 megawatt Alta Wind IX project (April 2012) and;
    • sale of the 150 megawatt Alta Wind VI project (now Mustang Hills) to Everpower Wind Holdings (May 2012).
  • representation of BrightSource Energy in the development and financing of the 392 MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in San Bernardino County, California (including $1.6 billion in construction and permanent debt financing guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Energy under the Innovative Technology Loan Guaranty Program). This financing was the largest solar financing completed under this loan guaranty program. In 2012, this transaction was awarded “CSP Project of the Year” by Solar Power Generation USA
  • representation of Caithness Energy and GE Energy Finance in the development and over $2 billion financing of the 845 MW Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon. Debt financing is supported by a U.S. Department of Energy loan guaranty issue under the Financial Institution Partnership Program established by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. When completed, this will be the largest single wind project in the United States. This transaction was recognized by Project Finance & Risk as “Best Renewables Deal” and by Environmental Financeas its “Renewable Energy Deal of the Year.”
  • representation of SunPower Corporation and NRG Energy in connection with the 2011 financing of the California Valley Solar Ranch, a 250 MW solar photovoltaic project located in San Luis Obispo, California. Financing of this project included a $1.237 billion construction and permanent loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Energy. This financing was one of the largest and one of the last projects to receive a loan guaranty under the loan guaranty programs established by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • representation of SunPower Corporation in the supply of photovoltaic modules and related balance of system equipment, design services and technical advice for NRG Energy’s 26 MW Borrego Project in San Diego County, California
  • acted as special tax counsel to NRG Energy and its California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) project in connection with inclusion of CVSR in NRG’s public offering of securities in Yieldco
  • representation of SunPower Corporation in the supply of photovoltaic modules and related equipment to NRG Energy’s 92 MW Alpine Solar Project in Los Angeles County, California
  • representation of Rabobank International in the lease financing of a portfolio of commercial distributed generation solar projects developed and installed by SolarCity, located on multiple properties of and selling power to a large U.S. retailer
  • representation of SunPower Corporation in connection with the lease financing of a solar project located on a site owned by the City of Galt in California
  • representation of SunPower Corporation in connection with the lease financing of a solar project located on a site owned by Castaic Lake Water Agency in California
  • representation of NRG Energy in the acquisition of Solar Power Partners (“SPP”), a developer of distributed solar projects, which at the time of acquisition had over 30 MW of distributed solar projects in operation or under construction, and a pipeline of over 1,300 MW of projects in development located in California, Hawaii, Arizona, Connecticut, New Mexico, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Canada and Puerto Rico
  • representation of NRG Energy in the acquisition of a 2.1 MW solar photovoltaic power project which uses an innovative, patent-pending structure covering a parking area adjacent to Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University, which will purchase the energy generated by the project
  • representation of Greenleaf Energy in the restructure of a biomass facility located in California
  • representation of developer in the development and financing of up to 500 MWs of wind projects located in New Mexico
  • representation of developer in the restructure of over $1 billion of wind turbine supply arrangements for various U.S. projects
  • representation of developer in the purchase of wind power development assets throughout the United States
  • representation of developer and turbine manufacturer in connection with a joint venture to develop 5,000 MWs of wind projects in South Dakota
  • representation of developer in connection with the development and financing of 150 MWs of new geothermal projects in California
  • representation of wind turbine manufacturer in connection with the establishment of business in the United States
  • representation of equity investor in connection with over $500 million of portfolio investments in photovoltaic solar power projects throughout the southwest United States
  • representation of developer in connection with the development of wind projects in the northeast United States (Maine and New Hampshire)
  • representation of utility in connection with its procurement of up to 500 MWs of wind capacity (through both project development and purchased power)
  • representation of sponsor in the over $1 billion sale of a portfolio of renewable energy projects
  • representation of utility in the acquisition of development rights and procurement of equipment for, as well as the construction of, wind projects located in Oregon
  • representation of sponsor in connection with the repowering of several renewable energy projects (wind and geothermal) located in California and Nevada
  • representation of developer in connection with the development of a gas-fired project located in California
  • representation of developer in connection with a long-term operation, maintenance and parts supply transaction with an equipment supplier for a gas-fired project located in New York
  • representation of sponsor in connection with renewable energy credit purchase and sale transactions for a series of its wind power projects
  • representation of developer in over $2 billion of long-term wind turbine equipment purchases and warranty transactions for the development of wind projects throughout North America
  • representation of developer in the procurement of equipment for, and construction of, several wind projects located in Texas
  • representation of wind turbine equipment manufacturer in connection with its entry into the North American market, including intellectual property cross-licensing issues
  • representation of sponsor in connection with a $112 million project financing for a portfolio of wind projects located in California
  • representation of sponsor in connection with a $70 million project financing for a portfolio of wind projects located in California
  • representation of investor in connection with the prospective acquisition of a controlling interest in a European wind turbine manufacturer
  • representation of developer in connection with the development of a wind power project located in Maryland
  • representation of utility in connection with a “firm” green power purchase arrangement.

While with Enron Wind Corp./Zond Corp., Mr. Umanoff was also involved in a wide array of transactions, including—

  • strategic joint ventures (including a worldwide co-development joint venture with a major utility affiliate)
  • mergers and acquisitions (including the sale of Zond to Enron, the acquisition of a German wind turbine manufacturer and the acquisition of a key portfolio of intellectual property rights)
  • over $2 billion of project and corporate equity and debt finance transactions
  • the worldwide development of over 1,500 MWs of wind power projects, including in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Germany, offshore and elsewhere.

Awards & Accolades

  • “Top 100 Lawyers in California” (2010, 2011 and 2013) - the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
  • CleanTech 100” (2013) - LMG Clean Technology & Renewable Energy
  • The Best Lawyers’ 2013 Los Angeles Project Finance Law “Lawyer of the Year”
  • The Best Lawyers in America (2010-2014) for project finance law
  • “Top 25 Clean Tech Lawyers in California” (2011) - the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
  • Chambers USA – America’s Leading Lawyers for Business(2009-2013) - projects and renewable and alternative energy
    • Mr. Umanoff is one of only nine attorneys in the United States listed by Chambers in Band 1 for renewable energy projects
  • Chambers Global - The World’s Leading Lawyers(2010-2013) - projects and renewables
  • InterContinental Finance Magazine Global Awards (2010)
  • Who’s Who Legal International(2010 and 2012) for project finance
  • Southern California Best Lawyers(2010) for his work in project finance law
  • Who’s Who Legal California (2009) for project finance.

Speaking Engagements

  • Current and Future Financing Strategies for Renewable Energy (chair) Solar POWER-GEN, Orlando, FL, November 2013
  • Renewable Energy Lending Update" (moderator) Novogradac's Financing Renewable Energy Conference, Washington, D.C., November 2013
  • Identifying the Next Stage of Financing for Power and Renewable Projects (Moderator) 8thAnnual NA Energy & Infrastructure Conference New York, New York September 2013
  • Current Issues in Energy Company Restructurings (Presenter) New York, New York May 2013
  • WINDPOWER 2013 (Presenter – Large Turbine Manufacturer Forum) Chicago, IL, May 2013
  • USC Environmental & Energy Law Society (Speaker) Los Angeles, CA March 2013
  • Solar Power Finance & Investment Summit 2013 (moderator - “More Construction Financing Possibilities to Choose”) San Diego, CA, March 2013
  • 8thAnnual US Power & Renewable Finance conference (moderator - “Distributed Generation Vs. Utility Scale: Assessing the economics of Solar Projects”) New York, NY, February 2013
  • Projects & Money 2013 (moderator - “Renewables Project Outlook. Up or Down?”) New Orleans, LA, January 2013
  • Novogradac’s Financing Renewable Energy Conference (moderator - “Renewable Energy Lending Update”) Washington D.C., November 2012
  • Infocast’s Distributed Solar Summit (moderator - “Competing in the Distributed Solar Markets of the Future”) San Diego, CA, November 2012
  • Solar Power International (speaker - “Avoiding the Top 10 Mistakes”) Orlando, FL, September 2012
  • WINDPOWER 2012 (Presenter – Large Wind Turbine Manufacturer Forum), Atlanta, GA, June 2012
  • 2nd Annual Infrastructure and Energy Finance West Conference (Chairperson), San Francisco, CA, May 2012
  • 2nd Annual Infrastructure and Energy Finance West Conference (Moderator Energy Financing: Conventional Energy Projects vs. Renewables – How is the energy mix changing in the US?), San Francisco, CA, May 2012
  • Financing Renewable Energy Conference (Moderator - Renewable Energy Market Update), San Francisco, CA, May 2012
  • Solar Power Finance and Investment Summit (Moderator - Solar Industry Maturity: What Is It Going to Take?), San Diego, CA, February 2012
  • Renewables West Summit (Moderator - Finance Perspectives: Trends and Developments), San Diego, CA, December 2011
  • Financing Renewable Energy Tax Credit Conference (Moderator - Solar Industry Trends), Washington, D.C., November 2011
  • Wharton Energy Conference 2011 (Panelist - The Future of US Energy Policy), Philadelphia, PA, October 2011
  • University of Texas at Austin 2011 Wind, Solar and Renewables Institute (Speaker - An Update and Report Card on the Federal Renewable Stimulus Program), Austin, TX, February 2011
  • Projects and Money 2011 Conference (Speaker - Case Study: Alta Wind Energy Center), New Orleans, LA, January 2011
  • Solar Power International 2010 Conference (Speaker - Access to Capital for Solar Projects in the United States), Los Angeles, CA, September 2010
  • ACORE’s Renewable Energy Finance Forum West (Co-chair - Public Capital Markets), San Francisco, CA, September 2010
  • Focus on Emerging Markets: What Makes Green Energy Different?, Washington, D.C., September 16, 2010
  • AltaTerra Research Network’s Concentrating Solar Thermal Power 2010 Conference, San Diego, CA, May 2010
  • Renewable Energy Opportunities in Turkey, April 6, 2010
  • Native Nation Events’ California Economic Development Conference, San Diego, CA, April 2010
  • UTCLE’s 2010 Wind, Solar and Renewables Institute (Speaker - The Financing of Renewable Energy Projects in a Post-Stimulus Environment), Austin, TX, February 2010
  • Beiten Burkhardt Photovoltaic Emerging Markets Conference (Speaker - Update on U.S. Solar Market), Munich, Germany, September 2009
  • Association for Corporate Growth Financing and Private Equity in Energy Infrastructure Including Renewable Energy (Speaker - Opportunities and Pitfalls for PE and Mezzanine Debt in Renewable Energy), New York, NY, June 2009
  • Authority for Electricity Regulation, Oman Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Seminars (Speaker - Wind Energy as Part of a Renewable Strategy), Muscat, Oman, May 2009
  • American Wind Energy Association WINDPOWER 2009 Conference & Exhibition (Moderator - Large Wind Turbine Manufacturer Forum), Chicago, IL, May 2009
  • CleanTech Capital Summit (Moderator - Project Development, Construction and Finance), San Diego, CA, April 2009
  • Platts 2009 Wind Power Development Forum (Moderator - The Financial Crisis and Its Impact on Investment in Wind Generation), Chicago, IL, March 2009
  • Renewable Energy World Conference and Expo North America 2009 (Moderator - National Policy: Status and Strategy from a New Administration), Las Vegas, NV, March 2009
  • Project Finance: The Tutorial (Speaker - Synthetic PPAs and Other Hedging Strategies in Renewable Project Finance), New York, NY, February 2009
  • University of Texas School of Law and the Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Law Section of the State Bar of Texas 2009 Wind Energy Institute (Moderator - Update on the Wind Turbine Market and Wind Turbine Technology), Austin, TX, January 2009
  • Western Renewable Energy Development Summit (Speaker - Synthetic Power Purchase Agreements in Renewable Transactions), San Diego, CA, December 2008
  • American Wind Energy Association Wind Power Supply Chain Workshop (Moderator - Wind Turbine Supply Contracts), Cleveland, OH, December 2008
  • Utility Scale Solar Finance & Investment Summit, San Diego, CA, November 2008
  • Solar Development & Finance Tutorial (Moderator - The Role of Debt Financing), San Diego, CA, November 2008
  • Gerson Lehrman Group Clean Tech Summit (Moderator & Speaker - Policy Affecting Investment in Clean Technology and Developments in the Wind Power Market), San Francisco, CA, November 2008
  • KPMG/Beiten Burkhardt Repowering and Emerging Markets Conference, Frankfurt, Germany, October 2008
  • Renewable Power Project Finance: The Tutorial (Speaker - Hedges and Synthetic Power Supply Agreements), San Diego, CA, October 2008
  • Husum WindEnergy 2008 (Speaker - The American Wind Energy Market: Current Situation), Husum, Germany, September 2008
  • Opal Financial Group Green Innovation Venture Capital Summit (Moderator - Key Drivers for Green Investment), Scottsdale, AZ, September 2008
  • Wind Power Development Tutorial 2008 Conference (Speaker), San Francisco, CA, July 2008
  • Project Finance: The Tutorial, New York, NY, June 2008
  • American Wind Energy Association Wind Power Conference (Session Chair), Houston, TX, June 2008.