Dale Smith, an energy finance and transactions attorney, has joined Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. Photo via Willkie.com

A law firm again expanded its Houston-based, energy-focused team.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP announced that energy finance and transactions attorney Dale Smith has joined the firm as a partner in the Corporate & Financial Services Department, which will be based in the Houston office. Willkie provides legal solutions to businesses that address critical issues that affect multiple industries and markets with 13 offices worldwide.

Smith was most recently a partner at Mayer Brown, and prior to law, he worked in the electric and gas utility industry as an analyst for Entergy. He currently serves on the Institute for Energy Law Advisory Board. He will manage energy clients in a broad range of transactions from upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas, renewable energy, power and energy finance deals.

“Dale’s addition further expands the energy transactional platform we’ve been building in Texas and across the country with our several partner additions this past year,” Archie Fallon, managing partner of the Houston office, says in a news release.

Smith will advise both lenders and borrowers in secured and unsecured credit transactions, which includes asset-based financings, acquisition and project financings, syndicated and structured financings (including tax equity), DIP and bankruptcy exit financings, and borrowing base facilities, letter of credit facilities, working capital facilities, workouts, and restructurings. Smith will also guide clients on the development and commercialization of hydrogen and ammonia facilities, carbon capture projects, renewable power generation facilities, and hydrocarbon facilities across the value chain. This will include gathering, processing, fractionation, transportation and storage facilities.

“Willkie’s dynamic Texas platform and growing national and international energy capabilities are a great fit for my practice and I’m delighted to be a part of that growth,” Smith said in a news release. “I look forward to working with the talented attorneys here to expand our transactional offerings to best serve the needs of our clients.”

Smith is the seventh lateral partner addition to Willkie’s multi-office energy team in the past year.

Willkie recently also announced Sarah McLean as a partner in the Corporate & Financial Services Department and Private Equity practice at the Houston office. McLean’s practice will focus on private equity transactions. Mostly the transactions will be acting for sponsors in making portfolio investments,exiting their investments, and growing their platform companies. McLean was a joint head of the US Energy industry group at Shearman & Sterling prior to Willkie Farr & Gallagher, and her experience in the energy sector includes 20 years.

Jason Kivett and Robyn Underwood join Houston-based energy finance firm Pickering Energy Partners. Photo courtesy of PEP

Houston energy financial firm names new execs

new hires

A firm focused on financial services within the energy sector has named two former Barclays investment bankers to its team.

Pickering Energy Partners announced that Jason Kivett and Robyn Underwood will join PEP to lead its traditional Energy Investment Banking Practice as managing directors. The team Kivett and Underwood join focuses on traditional oil and gas and will partner with the existing Renewables and Energy Transition advisory team, per a news release.

"Our clients turn to us for our dedication to the energy sector, and our ability to get deals done," Dan Pickering, chief investment officer of Pickering Energy Partners, says in a news release. “As the industry seeks more innovative financial solutions than ever before, our team is ready to support that demand."

With the expansion of this team, PEP has more than doubled its M&A advisory and capital raising team and its advisers worked on over $100 billion in transactions across corporate mergers, acquisitions, and more.

PEP also announced that Osmar Abib has joined the PEP Advisory Board. He worked over two decades with Credit Suisse and served most recently as the chairman of the Global Energy Group based in Houston and New York.

Another addition to the firm’s expanding investment banking platform, Osmar Abib joins the PEP Advisory Board. Abib provides rich market insights based on his experience as the former Global Head of Energy Investment Banking for Credit Suisse.

“Experience matters and we appreciate the deeply rooted relationships our new team members have developed over their careers,” Walker Moody, president of Pickering Energy Partners, adds in the release. “The PEP Investment Banking team knows energy, and they understand operators. We continue to play offense and bring on talented, experienced professionals to benefit our clients.”

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Houston companies land DOE vouchers for clean tech

money moves

Ten Houston-area companies will receive vouchers from the Department of Energy's latest round of funding to support the adoption of clean energy tech.

The companies are among 111 organizations to receive up to $250,000 in vouchers from the DOE's Office of Technology Transitions, totaling $9.8 million in funding, according to a release from the department.

The voucher program is in collaboration with the Offices of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). It is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“It takes a breadth of tools and expertise to bring an innovative technology from research and development to deployment,” Vanessa Z. Chan, DOE Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions, says in a statement. “The Voucher Program will pair 111 clean energy solutions with the support they need from expert voucher providers to help usher new technologies to market.”

In addition to the funding, the program seeks to help small businesses and non-traditional organizations gain access to testing facilities and third-party expertise.

The vouchers come in five different opportunities that focus on different areas of business growth and support:

  • Voucher Opportunity 1 (VO1) - Pre-Demonstration Commercialization Support
  • Voucher Opportunity 2 (VO2) - Performance Validation, Modeling, and Certification Support
  • Voucher Opportunity 3 (VO3) - Clean Energy Demonstration Project Siting/Permitting Support
  • Voucher Opportunity 4 (VO4) - Commercialization Support (for companies with a functional technology prototype)
  • Voucher Opportunity 5 (VO5) - Commercialization Support (for developers, including for-profit firms, that are working to commercialize a prototype that fits a specific technology vertical of interest for DOE)

The 10 Houston-area companies to receive funding, their voucher type and projects include:

  • Terradote Inc. with Big Blue Technologies Inc. (VO2): Full ISO-Compliant Life Cycle Assessment for Clean Energy Technologies
  • Solugen Inc. and Encina with ACTion Battery Technologies L.L.C. and Frontline Waste Holding LLC (Vo2): Barracuda Virtual Reactor Simulation, Validation and Testing
  • Flow Safe with Concept Group LLC and Precision Fluid Control (VO2): Durability Testing of Hydrogen Components, Materials, and Storage Systems
  • Percheron Power LLC (VO4): Fundraising Support
  • Capwell Services Inc. with Banyu Carbon Inc. (VO5): Field Testing Support for Validation of Novel Resource Sustainability Technologies
  • Syzygy Plasmonics with Ample Carbon PBC, Terraform Industries, Lydian Labs Inc. and Vycarb Inc. (VO5): Rapid Life Cycle Assessment for Carbon Management or Resource Sustainability Technologies
  • Solidec Inc. with GreenFire Energy (VO5): LCA Calculator Tool for Carbon Management or Resource Sustainability Technologies
  • Encino Environmental Services LLC with Wood Cache, Completion Corp and Carbon Lockdown (VO5): Realtime Above/Underground Gas Monitoring Reporting and Verification, Including Cloud Connectivity for Remote Sites
  • Mati Carbon PBC with Ebb Carbon Inc. (VO5): Community Benefits Assessment and Environmental Justice

Other Texas-based companies to receive funding included Molecular Rebar Design LLC and Talus Renewables from Austin, Deep Anchor Solutions from College Station, and ACTion Battery Technologies LLC from Wichita Falls.

Last October, the DOE also awarded the Houston area more than $2 million for projects that improve energy efficiency and infrastructure in the region.

In December, its Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations also selected a Houston power company for a commercial-scale carbon capture and storage project cost-sharing agreement.

New global report names top cleantech startups to keep an eye on

seeing green

Nine Greentown Labs members were recognized on a global list honoring cleantech companies.

Houston-based Fervo Energy was named to Cleantech Group’s Global Cleantech 100 report. Cleantech Group is a research-driven company that aids the public sector, private sector, investors, and also identifies, assesses, and engages with the innovative solutions around climate challenges.

Fervo, a geothermal energy company that specializes in a renewable energy technology that uses hot water to produce electricity, debuted in 2022 on the list, and was honored in the “Energy & Power” category for the second straight year.

The other Greentown Labs, which is dual located in Houston and Somerville, Massachusetts, companies recognized on the list include:

  • Amogy, a New York-based novel carbon-free energy system using ammonia as a renewable fuel
  • Carbon Upcycling Technologies, a Canadian waste and carbon utilization company
  • Dandelion Energy, New York-based company offering ground source heat pumps for most homes
  • Energy Dome, a Milan-based company addressing the problem of long-duration energy storage
  • e-Zinc, a Canadian company with a breakthrough electrochemical technology for energy storage
  • Nth Cycle, a Massachusetts company with sustainable metal refining
  • Raptor Maps, a Massachusetts company with a software platform for solar assets' performance data management
  • Sublime Systems, a Massachusetts companydeveloping a breakthrough process for low-carbon cement
  • WeaveGrid, a California company working with utilities, automakers, EVSEs, and EV owners to enable and accelerate the electrification of transportation

The number of nominations from the public, a panel, i3, awards and Cleantech Group totaled 25,435 from over 65 countries, which is a 61% increase from the 2023 nomination process. Winners were chosen from a short list of 330 companies by a panel of over 80 industry experts.

While not on the list, Beaumont-based Fortress Energy was mentioned for its electrolyzer supply agreement with Cleantech Group 100 winner Electric Hydrogen.

The Cleantech Group 100 was started 15 years ago.

“In 15 more years, we will be at 2039—by which time, a mere decade out from the ‘net-zero’ target of 2050,” Cleantech Group CEO Richard Youngman says in the report. “I would expect the composition of our annual list to have markedly changed again, and the leading upcoming private companies of that time to reflect such.”