Mayer Brown’s David K. Burton and Jeffrey G. Davis both Tax Transactions & Consulting partners and part of the firm’s Renewable Energy group co-hosted a heavily attended webinar on how tax reform is impacting the tax equity market and certain renewable energy structures with Vadim Ovchinnikov, CFA, CPA and Gintaras Sadauskas of Alfa Energy Advisors.
Below are soundbites from panelists from the Renewable Energy Finance Forum (“REFF”) Wall Street on June 19 and 20. The mood was upbeat. There were many references to a “wall of cash chasing projects” as a metaphor for how competitive it is to win bids to finance or purchase projects.
The soundbites are edited for clarity and are organized by topic, rather than in chronological order. They were prepared without the benefit of a transcript or recording.
The topics covered include the tax equity, debt and M&A markets, C&I solar, offshore wind, bonus depreciation, storage, YieldCos and others.
Tax Equity Market
“Solar tax equity is 30 to 38 percent of the capital stack of a project. Wind tax equity is 47 to 62 percent of the capital stack of a project.” – Managing Director, Boutique Investment Bank
“We are seeing a lot more wind. We are using our tax equity capacity in wind in 2018. Solar is looking good for 2019 and beyond.” Managing Director, Trust Company
“This year we will invest more in wind than in solar.” – Managing Director, Money Center Bank
“We are seeing tax equity portfolios that are seasoned trade in a secondary market. [Generally These are tax equity portfolios] that haven’t flipped on time or that [have the benefit of material cash distributions] but not tax” credits. – Managing Director, American Multinational Financial Services Company
“There is more tax equity now than there was before tax reform.” Managing Director, REIT
“2018 is a slow down due to tax reform and tariffs.” Managing Director, National Bank
“There is a lot less tax equity capacity due to the lower tax rate.” – Managing Director, American Multi-National Investment Bank
[Explained: there may be more tax equity investors in the market than last year; however, last year the corporate tax rate was 35 percent, and this year it is 21 percent, so a typical tax equity investor has 40 percent less tax appetite (and ability to invest in tax equity) in 2018 than it did in 2017.]
“If you are in BEAT [(i.e., the base erosion anti-avoidance tax in enacted as part of 2018 tax reform)], you cannot compete in tax equity. A couple of investors were hit with BEAT and exited.” – Managing Director, American Multi-National Investment Bank
“We get ten requests for tax equity a week and say ‘yes’ to less than one a week. We have to prioritize opportunities.” – Managing Director, American Multi-National Investment Bank…
A Word About Wind has published my article about offshore wind in the United States as part of its Legal Power List 2018 special report. The article discusses how offshore wind projects, such as Vineyard Wind, have certain advantages over onshore wind, particularly with respect to tax credits for storage. Here is a link to…
On May 30, A Word About Wind held its first annual Financing Wind New York conference. Tickets to the conference sold out and the attendees were generally wind pros with considerable experience. The panelists provided many useful insights regarding the wind industry.
Below are soundbites from the conference. They are organized by topic, rather than chronologically, and were prepared without the benefit of a transcript or a recording.
“Right now, globally there is 18 GW of offshore wind.” — North American Leader, European Based Offshore Wind Developer
“Expecting 20 to 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. So that means a couple of gigawatts a year of offshore wind.” — North American Leader, European Based Offshore Wind Developer
“Offshore wind can be very close to the load centers, 20 to 30 miles away from where people are actually using the electricity. That makes offshore wind easier than onshore wind, which is now facing transmission challenges to get their power to where people actually use it.” — North American Leader, European Based Offshore Wind Developer
“The European model has been to have the local utility build out to the offshore wind. In the US, the trend appears to be wind generators are responsible for getting their wind to shore. I expect wind developers will end up paying for the grid connection. There is a discrete set of permitting and risks building that connection 30 miles out in the water to the project.” – President, Transmission Developer
“Energy is politically driven, so having manufacturing facilities set up here in the US is very important.” — North American Leader, European Based Offshore Wind Developer
“Energy policy is very much driven by the states. However, the federal government under Trump has been supportive of offshore wind. The Trump administration has taken on board streamlining the offshore wind permitting process and has been supportive of new offshore wind leases.” — North American Leader, European Based Offshore Wind Developer…
On May 11, 2017, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) introduced the Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development Act or, simply, the Offshore WIND Act (here). The Offshore WIND Act would extend the 30% investment tax credit (ITC) under Section 48 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) for offshore wind through 2025.…