Ram Sunkara is an attorney in Holland & Knight's Houston and Atlanta offices. Mr. Sunkara has an industry-leading multidisciplinary practice advising clients on complex mergers and acquisitions (both buy- and sell-side processes), joint ventures, tax equity and project finance transactions, project development, build-own-transfer and construction matters, as well as structured commodity hedge transactions across the electric energy, oil and gas, transmission and storage, carbon capture and sequestration, mining and metals, timber, chemicals and natural resource industries.
Mr. Sunkara regularly represents a broad range of energy, timber and industrial sector clients, including renewable energy sponsors and developers, diversified publicly traded companies, electric and gas utilities, independent power producers (IPPs), electric cooperatives, private equity and hedge funds, oil and gas companies in midstream and downstream project matters, commodity trading companies, financial institutions, timber investment management organizations (TIMOs), and chemical and petrochemical producers and other industrials.
Mr. Sunkara's experience spans the entire energy spectrum. In his oil and gas practice, Mr. Sunkara represents clients in upstream oil and gas matters, midstream projects including the acquisition of intrastate and interstate pipelines and a number of underground gas storage facilities across North America, liquefied natural gas (LNG) liquefaction and regasification terminals and related infrastructure, compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations and processing facilities, the acquisition and operations of maritime port and rail terminals, crude and natural gas liquids (NGLs) gathering systems and pipelines, and the development and financing of hydrocarbon blending, refined products and processing facilities. Mr. Sunkara has also advised oil and gas clients and financial institutions on gas and crude "prepay" transactions and routinely advises clients on commodity trading transactions effected on master agreements such as International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) and bespoke arrangements. Mr. Sunkara also has one the leading renewable natural gas (RNG) and responsibly sourced gas (RSG) practices in North America, having worked on dozens of landfill gas, dairy digester, wastewater and coal mine methane capture projects over 20-plus years of practice, and is routinely called upon by clients in the RNG and RSG space to represent them in the largest transactions involving such facilities.
In addition, Mr. Sunkara has extensive experience with the full array of power generation, traditional baseload generation and renewables/energy storage technologies, including wind (onshore and offshore), solar and solar-plus-storage projects, RNG, biomass and cogeneration facilities, hydropower and geothermal projects. In this space, he guides clients through M&A transactions, tax equity investments (sponsor-side and investor-side representations), power purchase agreements (PPAs), engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts, operation and maintenance (O&M) and balance of plant (BOP) agreements, turbine supply (TSAs) and solar panel and related equipment procurement arrangements (including for the procurement of "safe harbored" equipment), purchase and sale agreements for steam, chilled water and other cogeneration offtake contracts, advising on the generation and purchases and sales of environmental attributes, such as renewable energy certificates (RECs), carbon offsets, renewable identification numbers (RINs), and trading agreements involving physical and financially settled purchases (including secured and unsecured hedges), and sales of electric power and related products. He has a market-leading practice advising Fortune and Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE)-listed corporations in achieving their sustainability and other environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives and project developers globally in the negotiation of physically settled and financially settled renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs and VPPAs), and has been involved in that space from its inception over a decade ago.
Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Sunkara was the leader of a number of energy teams for a global law firm in its Houston office. Additionally, Mr. Sunkara provides pro bono contractual advice to a charity focused on providing memorable trips for chronically and terminally ill children.
Not yet admitted to Texas Bar; admitted to Georgia Bar only and practicing under supervision of lawyers licensed to practice in Texas.
- Advised Shell New Energies in the 50/50 joint venture with EDF Renewables N.A., which formed Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind LLC, to co-develop the OCS-0499 lease area within the New Jersey Wind Energy Area
- Represented publicly traded international energy company in its entry into the United States to develop its initial portfolio of solar projects across PJM, including representing the client in the negotiation and documentation of virtual and physical offtake agreements, solar module procurement and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC)/ balance of plant (BOP) agreements, negotiating construction financing and term debt arrangements, and finalizing tax equity investments into its portfolio of solar projects
- Represented CIM Group in a significant investment in an affiliate of MAS CanAm, the holding company for all of the renewable natural gas (RNG) activities undertaken by MAS Energy
- Represented a global leader in environmental credits marketing and commodities trading in its venture capital investment into a software company developing carbon removal solutions
- Represented Shell New Energies in its acquisition of an interest in Silicon Ranch Corp., a Nashville-based solar power producer, from existing shareholder Partners Group
- Represented Energy Power Partners in the purchase of the renewable energy unit of Talen Energy Corp., which included a portfolio of multiple renewable energy projects (solar, landfill gas, wind and cogeneration plants) in four states within PJM
- Represented a diversified energy company in the acquisition of the Neal Hot Springs Geothermal plant from U.S. Geothermal
- Represented a large hedge fund in the project development and subsequent sale of a portfolio of 11 landfill gas and dairy digester RNG projects to a private equity backed sponsor
- Represented a sponsor in the development and sale of a portfolio of several onshore wind projects totaling 1,100 megawatts (MW) nameplate capacity to strategic investor
- Represented Acciona Energy North America in connection with corporate reorganizational matters in connection with the sale of Acciona Energia Internacional to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR)
- Represented a multinational, diversified energy company in diligencing and structuring membership interests exchange for two under development utility scale offshore wind projects in the U.S. and United Kingdom
- Represented a utility in the acquisition of Paris Solar-Battery Park, a new 310 MW solar-plus-battery storage project in Kenosha County, Wisconsin (with 200 MW of solar generation and 110 MW of battery storage)
- Represented a utility in the acquisition of Jayhawk Wind Farm with a nameplate capacity of 190 MW from Apex Clean Energy
- Represented a strategic investor in potential acquisition of Block Island Wind Farm, the United States' first operational offshore wind facility
- Represented a private equity fund in the development, conversion of landfill gas projects to RNG projects for renewable identification numbers (RIN) and low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) credit generation and subsequent sale of entire portfolio of RNG projects throughout multiple states in the United States to a strategic investor
- Represented Meta Platforms Inc. (formerly Facebook Inc.) opposite Citigroup Energy Inc. in its first-ever purchase of wind power in the wholesale market, enabling the financing of the Shannon Wind Farm and established a supply of 200 MW of renewable energy to power the company's new $1 billion data center in Fort Worth, Texas
- Represented a private equity fund in the acquisition of a dairy RNG facility located in Colorado, including an analysis of certain noncompliant operations requiring remediation before the recommencement of operations
- Represented a diversified energy company in the acquisition of Silver State North, a 50 MW photovoltaic project engineered and constructed by First Solar Inc.
- Represented Meta Platforms in the negotiation of a "green tariff" with the Public Service Company of New Mexico designed to allow direct procurement of utility scale wind and solar energy to power the company's planned $1.8 billion data center in New Mexico
- Represented Meta Platforms in multiple virtual power purchase agreements (PPAs) across the U.S. and internationally for the procurement of more than 1 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy
- Represented Target Corp. in multiple virtual PPAs across the U.S. for the procurement of several hundred MWs of renewable energy
- Represented individual and several consortiums of commercial and industrial buyers in the negotiation of multiple renewable energy procurements across the U.S. and in the European Union, including in Spain, Sweden and Finland, involving Avient Corp., Ball Corporation, Boston Scientific, The J.M. Smucker Co., Kraft Heinz Co,, Millipore Sigma, Owens Corning, Uber Technologies Inc. and others
- Represented Microsoft Corp. as the first buyer in a transaction with Allianz Risk Transfer to use the innovative "proxy revenue swap," a novel wind farm weather hedging product developed in connection with the 178-MW Bloom Wind project in Kansas
- Represented a joint venture of Macquarie's Green Investment Group and Core Solar in solar PPA with Occidental Petroleum
- Represented Microsoft Corp. in its first wind energy secured hedge transaction opposite RES Americas for a utility-scale wind project in Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)
- Advised Goldman Sachs in negotiating and structuring a solar canopy PPA with NextEra to be installed for powering a newly constructed LEED-certified office building in New York
- Represented an American technology conglomerate in the negotiation of two solar PPAs and one battery energy storage agreement to serve a data center
- Represented a New York utility in the negotiation of a distribution-level interconnection agreement with the sponsor of a RNG facility planned for development within the utility's territory
- Represented Bluesource Sustainable Forests Co. (BSFC), a joint venture between Anew Climate LLC and Oak Hill Advisors L.P., on one of the largest private conservation-focused forest investments in U.S. history in a transaction valued at approximately $1.8 billion
- Represented a global specialty chemicals manufacturer in its divestment of its entire North American specialty chemicals business to an internationally based chemicals company and related competition arrangements
- Represented ARM Energy Holdings in its acquisition of Monument Pipeline LP (Monument), a Houston-based natural gas transportation system with approximately 156 miles of pipeline, from affiliates of NextEra Energy Partners L.P.
- Represented an international commodities trading company in the sale of a copper mine in the United States along with structuring financing matters related to mining operations
- Represented of a publicly traded diversified company in the development of a large-scale microgrid with electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, battery-energy storage and fuel cells behind the meter
- Represented a global energy company in the negotiation and development of a first of its kind, behind the meter, co-located data center to a utility-scale operational wind project in Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)
- Represented Colonial Pipeline Co. in the acquisition of marine terminal operations and assets, including dedicated rights to a refined products dock at the Port of Port Arthur, Texas, and a long-term volume agreement with a local major refinery
- Represented Magnolia LNG in several aspects of developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal, including negotiating its multibillion-dollar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) with a contractor consortium and operation and maintenance (O&M) agreements, and a wide range of other project development and financing-related matters
- Represented Vitol Inc. in connection with the U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority's liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) receiving terminal project that included navigating the utility's request for proposal (RFP) process; preparing, negotiating and finalizing a master design build own operate maintain (DBOOM) agreement for the development of the LPG receiving terminals and related infrastructure, LPG pipelines and vaporizer units, and the long-term supply of LPG and on-site inventory storage facilities; in addition, he led the negotiations with GE International on behalf of a Vitol subsidiary regarding the fuel switching and repowering of several combustion turbines owned by the utility on St. Croix and St. Thomas
- Represented The Carlyle Group in the acquisition of 75.05 percent of the outstanding interests of Southeast PowerGen LLC, a 2,815-megawatt portfolio of six natural gas-fired power plants in Georgia, from a consortium of ArcLight Capital Partners, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC and GE Energy Financial Services
- Advised an Australian-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) developer on the acquisition of a development stage LNG export project in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia
- Advised a hedge equity fund in its diligence and investment in a LNG export facility in Sonora, Mexico, on the Gulf of Puerto Libertad
- Advised an energy risk management services company on three separate crude oil purchase agreements, as well as three separate storage arrangements, for up to 330,000 barrels of crude oil across three facilities
- Represented an energy sector holding company in negotiations of a two-year terminal storage and handling agreement for an aggregate of more than 500,000 barrels of storage capacity for gasoline and butane
- Advised a large public engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services company in the sale of its minority interest in a 550-MW combined cycle plant located in New York City
- Advised a global commodity trading firm with respect to a broad range of capital structuring transactions and related matters involving a project company that manufactures recovered carbon black and liquid chemicals
- Advised an oil-and-gas trading firm with respect to commercial arrangements for hedge advisory services and the physical marketing and transportation of natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil in Texas and Oklahoma
- Represented a private equity-backed sponsor in the diligence and potential investment in low-carbon intensive hydrogen facilities in the United States
- Advised in the sale of a majority equity interest in Element Markets LLC to TPG's The Rise Fund
- Negotiated and developed documentation for a crude oil prepayment arrangement to serve as an alternative to reserve base lending for a crude oil developer in the Bakken area of North Dakota
- Negotiated a butane purchase and sale agreement for marine vessel delivery with an international purchaser for 2 million barrels of butane
- Emory University School of Law, J.D.
- Emory University, B.A.
- South Asian Bar Association of Georgia (SABA-GA), Board Member
- Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (GIACC)
- Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network (GAIN), Member; Board of Directors
- Chambers Global – The World's Leading Lawyers for Business guide, USA: Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional), 2023
- Stand-Out Lawyer, Thomson Reuters, 2022
- Stand-Out Lawyer, Acritas Stars: Independently Rated Lawyers, 2020
- The Legal 500 USA, Energy: Renewable/Alternative, 2015, 2017-2022, 2023; Energy Transactions: Conventional Power, 2016-2022; Energy: Oil and Gas, 2016-2019, 2022
- Rising Stars, Georgia Super Lawyers magazine, 2012-2014, 2018
- Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Energy, 2014, 2016-2017, 2022; Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional), 2023
- Rising Star, Law360, Energy, 2016
- Energy and Environmental Trailblazer, National Law Journal, 2016
- Rainmaker, Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), 2015