Orrick targets renewables boom with Singapore office

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After shuttering its Hong Kong office last year, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe has opened in Singapore to target what it sees as a boom in renewable energy projects in Asia.

Energy and infrastructure partner Jon Thursby was appointed to lead the new office, and told Asia Business Law Journal the regional upswing in projects involving various energies was at the moment happening too rapidly for some regulators to keep up.

“The renewable energy sector is developing so quickly that the rules and regulations are not always keeping pace,” said Thursby. “It’s interesting to see how some of the European models are being adapted and applied here – definitely an exciting time to be involved in the region.”

He said a rapid increase in smaller-scale technology projects had now combined with the early development of “some very significant offshore wind projects in Japan, Korea and Vietnam where, until relatively recently, offshore wind had not quite gathered momentum.”

Blake Winburne, Orrick’s head of energy and infrastructure in Houston, said the firm recently published a definitive country-by-country analysis of the offshore wind market. “Capital is clearly flowing through Singapore to support the acute need for energy transition and infrastructure modernisation in Southeast Asia, and we look forward to supporting our clients internationally who are focused on this growing market,” said Winburne.

“We are also seeing traditional oil and gas players investing heavily in renewables, and we are well positioned to support them.”

Thursby joined Orrick after an eight-month secondment to solar power developer and operator Blueleaf Energy in Singapore, which is a subsidiary of the firm’s client, Macquarie Capital, the investment arm of the Australian financial conglomerate Macquarie Group. Previously, he was a partner at Watson Farley & Williams in Singapore.

An uptick in renewable energy infrastructure investment has been occurring throughout the Asia-Pacific. Projects in solar panels and wind farms are springing up all over the region in jurisdictions including Taiwan, Thailand, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Australia and Vietnam, with others expected to follow.