The wind industry is a close-knit group and the AWEA Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference is generally a friendly affair, so there were plenty of lighter moments amid the serious discussions and dealmaking at the Westin New York at Times Square.
· Chadbourne & Parke’s Keith Martin couldn’t resist plugging his upcoming webinar, “Countdown to Start Construction”, while quizzing tax equity investors on their thresholds for what qualified as beginning construction on a wind project. The webinar is being publicized with a picture of two dogs digging a hole, he noted. “10% [of the foundations] is a good rule of thumb, and we also like all of the work to be done by humans,” quipped Jack Cargas of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
· During the same discussion, Martin asked John Eber of JP Morgan to speak up so that everyone could hear him. “I’m gonna try Jack’s mic. There’s something wrong with mine,” said the tax equity investor. “Oh, you’re like Donald Trump,” Martin shot back.
· Talk of the impending presidential election permeated the conference. During one such conversation, an AWEA official diplomatically demurred, “we don’t endorse candidates”.
· Not everyone was in the mood for small talk, however. “I just want to find someone who knows about deals”, one exasperated financier was overhead telling a colleague during an open bar post-conference event the second night.