Focused on the structuring, development and financing of energy and infrastructure projects, Partner John Pierce represents clients in connection with power generation projects fueled by an array of traditional, renewable, and unconventional energy sources. John also works with carbon mitigating credits, offsets and trading structures, the creation of carbon trading protocols and markets, carbon sequestration, other environmental attributes and related market-based means to add value to certain energy projects. John has worked on projects throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, South and Southeast Asia, China, Africa, and the Middle East.
His recent project counsel includes the development of utility-scale solar projects in the United States, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Northeast Asia, including advising on the development and sale of an seawater air conditioning system in Hawaii and the Bahamas, on the procurement and sale of LNG for sale in China, working with a major Jones Act shipper on LNG procurement and supply for fleets serving Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico from Washington and Florida, counseling on the procurement of more than 15 mmt of U.S.-originated LNG for consumption in Asia, advising on the development and financing of a 400 MW wind farm in West Texas, various wind and solar project elsewhere in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, primary counsel on a 1,000 MW offshore wind farm in Morro Bay, California, a 700+ MW offshore wind farm in Hawaii, similar offshore wind farm projects in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and the Caribbean, a variety of PV solar and battery storage systems, the development of utility-scale solar thermal for steam injection projects in oil production fields, pump storage projects in California, Hawaii, Montana and Washington, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure and renewable hydrogen production technologies. John’s vast energy project experience includes:
- Oil and Gas Exploration and Production (mostly international)
- Wind (onshore and offshore)
- Solar (photovoltaic, concentrated and thermal)
- Energy storage (batteries, pump storage, gas densification)
- Geothermal (various thermal conversion technologies, exploration and production, enhanced geothermal, mineral extraction from brine (such as lithium))
- Hydroelectric (small-scale, run of river, pump storage)
- Ocean thermal (OTEC) and related district cooling projects (seawater air conditioning)
- Biomass power and fuels (woody, green, algal, waste (MSW))
- Biomass to hydrocarbons, biogas (landfill gas, waste water methane, anaerobic digestion), syngas and alternative fuels
John’s alternative energy experience also includes production facilities for ethanol, advanced biofuels such as biodiesel and biojet, as well as representation of advanced biomaterials producers and offtakers.
In the conventional energy sector, John has advised on offshore oil and gas developments, production sharing agreements, farm-outs, incremental production agreements, LNG supply agreements, and steam for oil swap agreements, among other matters.
Energy Financings and Infrastructure Projects
John has advised and structured various financings of energy and energy-related projects using a range of means. These include venture financings, private equity financings, non-recourse debt financing (syndications and clubs), bridging loans and convertible debt, portfolio and single project bond financings (IRBs, pollution control and other special purpose bonds),144A financings, and governmental loan guarantees and grants. His infrastructure project experience includes advising on development of port facilities (bulk and container), airports, toll roads, terminals, refineries and associated pipelines, and industrial zones.
Early in his career, John spent several years practicing with a prominent law firm in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia on power project development, cross-border investment, financings, and corporate matters. Thereafter John formed his own firm providing services to oil and gas and other energy and infrastructure clients in Southeast Asia, including Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia. Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. He has served as an advisor to the U.S. State Department and Department of Commerce regarding Burma (Myanmar), legal reform and capacity building in the country, and in Mongolia regarding unconventional energy issues.
John is the co-chair of the firm's Clean Technology industry group, head of the firm's carbon-related and hydrogen practices, co-founder and former chair of the Algae Biomass Organization and the founder of the Pacific Northwest CleanTech Open.
John’s pro bono activities include advising on the permitting and establishment of an anaerobic digestion unit at the base camp of Mt. Everest in Nepal, assisting with various matters for a non-profit focusing on the local production and distribution of female hygiene products in the third world, and the establishment of a school in Malaysia for Rohingya children from Burma (Myanmar). John’s uncompensated activities include advising Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for many years in relation to various personal matters, assisting various members of the Burmese refugee community in the U.S., as well as assisting certain foreign nationals that have been detained in Burma (Myanmar) and Cambodia. In February 2020, John is joining the board of directors of the SE Asian Foundation.
- Recommended by The Legal 500: Industry Focus: Environmental - transactional and regulatory, 2015
- University of Washington School of Law, International Transactions and Practice, Lecturer, 2006 - present
- San Francisco Economic Roundtable, Member, 2019
- American Wind Energy Association
- Geothermal Energy Association/Geothermal Resources Council
- Washington State Bar Association
- Oregon State Bar Association
- E8, Member, 2016 - 2019
- Oregon State Bar House of Delegates, Member, 2015 - 2019
- Algae Biomass Organization, Co-Founder; Chair, 2011 - 2013
- The Pacific Northwest CleanTech Open, Founder; Co-Chair, 2008 - 2011
- Review Committee Biomass Risk Rating Review Committee (review of biomass-related risk factors and generate a related rating system for use by capital market participants), Member, 2019
- University Rotary Club, Member, 2020
- University of Washington School of Law, Board of Directors of the Global Business Law Institute, Member, 2018 - present
- King County Boys and Girls Club, Board Member, 2003 - 2007
- Advising several nonprofits in Southeast Asia working on refugee issues and human rights matters