Hernán González
Managing Partner
Norton Rose Fulbright Mexico
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Merging Strengths to Pioneer Financial Solutions

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 13:26

Q: What are Norton Rose Fulbright’s strongest traits that make it a vital ally for developers in Mexico?
A: Few law firms can take advantage of the global footprint that Norton Rose Fulbright has built over the years, particularly in business law services for the electricity and renewables sectors. The extent of our presence was made possible by the association of Norton Rose and Texas-based Fulbright & Jaworski, both of which were actively involved in the energy industry to begin with. Added to this initial association, the incorporation of Chadbourne & Parke, its local offices in Mexico and equally active participation in the energy industry sharpened our ability to cater to Mexico’s needs in terms of project finance and business law related to renewable energy. Our combined presence in New York, Texas and Canada places us at an unparalleled position vis a vis our competitors in the energy industry.
Q: What tangible results has the incorporation of Chadbourne & Parke yielded?
A: Chadbourne & Parke was a natural choice for us considering our practices worked well together. The merger was announced as Norton Rose was preparing its entry into Mexico and modified its original business, budget and recruitment plan. As of the combination closing in June 2017, our Mexico team has almost tripled its size and extended our global business network, with a team of more than 4,000 specialized lawyers, 53 offices and a privileged position in Latin America. This merger allowed for our insertion objectives to be met at a faster pace than originally planned.
Q: How does Norton Rose Fulbright best cater to clients that want to enter Mexico’s energy industry?
A: The key lies in adapting to a new legal framework and unlocking the opportunities of the industry for all parties involved. In contrast with the oil and gas industry, the country’s power sector already had a certain amount of private participation, spanning at least three decades. However, Mexico’s wholesale electricity market did not exist. The intention of establishing it has deeply changed the rules of the game and the learning curve’s slope remains steep, from the policymakers and regulators to the private players. Several positive trends are reasserting themselves, particularly with the insertion of renewables into the country’s energy mix through the successful and price-competitive long-term electricity auctions that have been conducted by CENACE. Each edition has been more innovative than the last, with the inclusion for instance of the Clearing House in the third auction. We pay special attention to how the sector evolves and how it reacts in the face of these new figures.
Q: What underused technology could steal the spotlight from solar and wind?
A: Wind and solar secured a preponderant role in Mexico’s energy transition that is hard to surpass, particularly considering the dramatic drops in both technologies’ cost per MW. First, the market will take advantage of these prices that make wind and solar more accessible. There will be some exceptions for certain locations where, given the resource availability and infrastructure present, other technologies such as geothermal, biomass, turbogas or hydroelectric will take precedence. However, there is still a sizeable gap to be bridged by these alternatives and solar and wind will retain a significant lead for the foreseeable future.
Q: What has been Norton Rose Fulbright’s most important contribution to the energy industry?
A: Norton Rose Fulbright has provided solid project finance advice and representation in utility-scale renewable energy projects. Our highly qualified partners in New York, DC and Texas thoroughly scrutinized Mexico’s projects, and designed and carried out multiple cross-border financing operations to build up the bedrock of our firm’s solid foothold in Mexico. Parallel to that, we are actively participating in the secondary market of project commercialization. Our growth is determined by the quality of our work, and the quality of our associates and collaborators, both local and abroad, who planted the seeds of the intensive pipeline of projects Norton is working on.