Smart Energy Voices- Episode 54

Smart Energy Voices- Episode 54

Clean Energy Dealmaking with Mona Dajani

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In this episode of Smart Energy Voices, host John Failla is joined by Mona Dajani, Global Co-Head of Energy, Infrastructure, Mobility, Renewables & Water at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. Mona is a prolific dealmaker in the renewable energy space and is a highly regarded, well-recognized attorney. You’ll find her extensive experience and unique perspective enlightening. Listen to learn more.

 

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Mona’s journey to renewable energy [03:57]
  • Mona’s most challenging deal [13:25]
  • Major trends in renewable energy deals [17:24]
  • What’s happening in storage? [32:17]
  • Important factors to accelerate the market [37:40]
  • What drives Mona’s passion? [44:20]

Mona’s work at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Pillsbury’s energy and infrastructure group covers clean energy, hydrogen, ESG, sustainable finance, and anything to do with clean tech. Mona is dual qualified and represents companies in North America as well as Europe. Many of the deals she works on are incredibly challenging and most come with unique difficulties. One of Mona’s most challenging deals was during COVID because it involved companies from three continents that couldn’t meet in person, but Mona is an expert at making a deal work and negotiated it successfully. She is unique because she not only counsels clients on legal aspects of business but also on the commercial and economic aspects.

The future of clean energy

The need for clean energy is accelerating, driven by COVID and the Biden administration, as well as an increase in decarbonization goals from many utilities and businesses. Renewable energy has been focused heavily on solar and wind, but other technologies, including advanced battery storage, offshore wind, and hydrogen are moving toward commercialization. Mona has seen a lot of deal activity across the value chain, with many different stakeholders consolidating positions. Major oil and gas companies and governments are also setting ambitious climate goals, and there’s more federal support here in the U.S. and globally. Some countries have mandates or stimulus and tax incentives to capture more renewable energy deals, especially in the power, oil, and gas utility industries. 

The potential of hydrogen

Hydrogen has been around for over 100 years. Many industry stakeholders are currently considering hydrogen production and storage projects, in addition to wind and solar, as part of their decarbonization strategy. The reason it’s taking off now, at least from a domestic standpoint, is because of the push for decarbonization, particularly net-zero goals. Mona has been working on hydrogen in Europe for a while, but in the past year has recently been working in the United States with blending hydrogen and natural gas to support utilities, pipelines, and oil and gas majors’ decarbonization efforts.

While clean hydrogen is expensive now, it can be equated to what solar was 15 or 20 years ago. When a country promotes hydrogen strategies with incentives, there will be a proliferation of deals. Mona is currently  working on deals that combine renewables and hydrogen, as combining many different contributing elements creates a hydrogen hub, which is a favorite pathway for how clean hydrogen usage will develop.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Mona Dajani

Mona Dajani, qualified as a lawyer in the U.S., as a registered foreign lawyer in England and a licensed professional engineer, serves as a lead lawyer in complex mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, financings, and project development transactions involving energy and infrastructure facilities in the United States and around the world. She is the global co-leader of the firm’s Energy and Infrastructure Projects Team and also leads the Renewable Energy practice, which covers clean energy, clean energy technology, hydrogen, and sustainable finance. 

Mona focuses her global practice on project finance, corporate finance,  mergers & acquisitions, sustainable finance, portfolio acquisitions, tax equity, construction and/or restructuring for government and private clients involving energy and infrastructure projects. In her over 20 years of practice, she has led numerous financing and acquisition/disposition and project development transactions involving solar, wind, hydrogen, hydroelectric, geothermal, biomass, waste to energy, and Net Zero disruptive technology, such as connectivity, autonomous driving, and e-mobility, as well as gasification, transmission lines, and oil and gas pipelines. She has substantial experience with respect to syndicated loan and debt capital markets transactions, sustainable finance, ESG,  syndicated commercial bank debt, commercial paper programs, and arranging capital for new and established energy and infrastructure companies. She has represented a wide variety of commercial and public institutions, sponsors, utilities, financial institutions, underwriters,  energy and clean technology companies, private equity funds,  investment banks, and multilateral agencies in transactions throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. 

Very recently, Mona led a team of Pillsbury lawyers representing Archaea Energy LLC, an emerging leader in the development and advancement of renewable natural gas (RNG), in a business combination agreement valued at £1.15 billion with Aria Energy LLC led by Rice Acquisition Corporation, a SPAC focused on the energy transition sector. The business combination creates the leading U.S. RNG platform. The combined company, Archaea Energy, is dedicated to reducing carbon emissions through landfill gas conversion, CO2 sequestration, and green hydrogen. 

Mona is on several boards, including the American Council on Renewable  Energy (ACORE); ABANA - the preeminent U.S. organization for finance professionals and institutions with interest in the Middle East and North  Africa; The Energy Lawyers Network; The Institute for Energy Law - International Section; American Bar Association - Energy and Resources; and American Bar Association - Vice Chair, Project Finance of the Energy Infrastructure and Siting Committee. 

Mona has been recognized as a leading lawyer by A Word about Wind Legal Power List (twice), Financier Worldwide Power Players: Project  Finance & Infrastructure 2021 - Distinguished Advisers, winner of Law 360  MVP 2021 award Project Finance 2021, Financier Worldwide POWER  PLAYERS: Project Finance & Infrastructure 2021 - Distinguished Advisers,  Chambers Global, Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America, IFLR1000, “Who’s Who” and other rankings by other organizations and publications. She has been named to the “Lawdragon 500: Leading Lawyers in America” and has also been listed in Superlawyers magazine. Ms. Dajani was identified for her work in renewable energy as one of “The Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers” by The National Law Journal. She has been named one of the “Five Most Influential People in Energy” by Euromoney/Institutional Investor. Mona is listed as “a leader in renewables” by ‘The Lawyer Hot 100 Lawyers’.


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