David Burton

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

New York
United States
T:+1 212 318 3311
New York
United States
T:+1 212 318 3311
David Burton

David Burton

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David Burton advises clients on a wide range of US tax matters, with an emphasis on project finance and energy transactions. He has extensive experience structuring tax-efficient transactions for wind and other renewables with particular expertise with respect to flip partnerships and sale-leasebacks.  David also advises clients on the tax aspects of the formation and structuring of private equity funds with particular expertise regarding renewable energy investment funds.

Earlier in his career, David was the managing director and senior tax counsel at GE Energy Financial Services (GE EFS) where he oversaw all of the tax aspects for more than US$21 billion in global energy projects. During his tenure at GE EFS, the division's investments in wind, solar, hydro, biomass and geothermal power grew to US$6 billion, making GE EFS  then the largest tax-advantaged energy investor in the US. He is ranked in The Legal Power List 'A Word About Wind' 2016, 2018 and 2022 and has been ranked for the past eight consecutive years in Chambers USA, Nationwide (Projects – Renewables and Alternative Energy). David is the editor of www.TaxEquityNews.com, a Norton Rose Fulbright website covering market trends and considerations for renewable energy and tax policy in the United States. Follow David on Twitter @DavidKBurton.

Professional experience

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  • JD, cum laude, Georgetown University Law Center, staff member, The Tax Lawyer, 1996
  • BA, magna cum laude, Ithaca College, 1993
  • New York State Bar
  • Represented C2 Energy Capital LLC on tax and project finance in the sale of a majority interest in its 89 MW operating distributed generation solar platform, C2 Omega LLC, to EDP Renewables North America LLC (EDPR NA), forming EDPR NA DG.
  • Represented TortoiseEcofin on the initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange of an open-end fund, Ecofin US Renewables Infrastructure Trust plc (RNEW). The offering uses a tax-efficient UK trust structure to expand global investment in US renewable energy projects.
  • Represented C2 Energy Capital, LLC with respect to tax and project finance matters with respect to the formation of its first private equity fund, C2 Taiyo Fund I, LP. 
  • Represented Fengate Real Asset Investments on development finance and co-development arrangements for a utility-scale wind project in Maine.
  • Represented Tortoise Capital Advisors, L.L.C. on the acquisition by its closed-end fund, Tortoise Energy Infrastructure Fund, of a 33-megawatt portfolio of commercial and industrial solar projects portfolio from Kenyon Energy and its affiliate Sun Financial. The solar projects will provide electricity to various university and municipality customers in the State of New York.
  • Represented Sustainable Power Group (sPower) as tax counsel in the 61 MW Latigo Wind Farm Project.
  • Represented Sunpower as tax counsel in the 135 MW Quinto Solar Project in Merced County, California. Also represented Sunpower as tax counsel in the 579 MW Solar Star Project in Rosamond, California.
  • Represented Campbell County Wind Farm Holdings in the sale of a 95 MW wind farm in South Dakota to Consolidated Edison Development.
  • Represented residential solar developer in creation of US$58 million tax equity fund for a portfolio of residential solar projects.
  • Represented a publicly traded company in the acquisition of an entity holding a US$107 million portfolio of land and payments from land leases underlying wind and solar projects, including more than 7,500 acres of land leased to three solar projects with a value of approximately US$60 million and the payments from 11 additional land leases for a portfolio of wind projects with a value of approximately US$27 million.
  • Advised Tri Global in connection with a turbine supply agreement with Alstom Power under which equipment manufacturer will provide turbines for Tri Global's 80 MW Fiber Winds Energy project in Texas.
  • Represented OneRoof Energy Group, Inc. in an IPO/reverse merger transaction pursuant to which OneRoof Energy, Inc., a national residential solar company, became a wholly owned subsidiary of a company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
  • Representation of State Street Bank & Trust in connection with the US$260 million in tax equity financing for the Buffalo Dunes, a 250 MW wind project in Kansas backed by subsidiaries of Enel Green Power and GE Capital.
  • Representing SunPower Corporation in the development and sale of the 580 MW Antelope Valley photovoltaic solar project (AVSP) to affiliates of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. The project will utilize SunPower's proprietary photovoltaic modules and tracking technology, and its electricity will be sold to Southern California Edison Company under long-term power purchase agreements. SunPower will build and operate the project for MidAmerican. Construction of the project has commenced, and commercial operation is expected in 2015. When completed, AVSP will be the largest solar energy project in the world.
  • Represented Rabobank International as a lessee in a pass-through lease for photovoltaic solar energy equipment installed on stores in the Western United States.
  • Acted as special tax counsel to NRG Energy and its California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) project in connection with inclusion of CVSR in NRG's public offering of securities in Yieldco.
  • Advised a foreign and domestic wind turbine manufacturer regarding Treasury Grant matters.
  • Advised Hunt Investment Management LLC on the formation of a fund to invest in US renewable energy projects.
  • Acted as project counsel for Treasury Grant and tax matters in the financing of California Valley Solar Ranch, a US$1.5 billion solar PV project supported by a Department of Energy loan guaranty.
  • Represented SunPower in connection with a sale and leaseback of photovoltaic solar energy equipment to be installed in California.
  • Chambers USA, Nationwide: Projects: Renewables & Alternative Energy, Chambers and Partners, 2015 – 2022
  • Chambers Global, Projects: Renewables & Alternative Energy - USA, Chambers and Partners, 2018 – 2020
  • Legal 500 US, Recommended Lawyer, US taxes: contentious, The Legal 500, 2020 – 2022
  • Legal 500 US, Recommended Lawyer, International Tax, The Legal 500, ​2020
  • Legal 500 US, Recommended Lawyer, Project Finance – Advice to Sponsors, The Legal 500, 2021
  • Legal 500 US, Recommended Lawyer, Energy: Renewable / Alternative Powers, The Legal 500, 2021-2022
  • Legal 500 US, Recommended Lawyer, Energy Transactions: Conventional Power, The Legal 500, 2021
  • Distinguished Legal Writing Award (Law Firm), 2016 Burton Awards
  • Legal Power List, A Word About Wind, 2016 - 2020, 2022
  • Quoted, "Congress Pushes US Energy Transition Through Tax Credits — But Will It Work?," Forbes, January 20, 2023
  • Quoted, "Green-Energy Boom Hinges on Obscure Tax Rules," The Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2022
  • Quoted, "Latest IRA guidance to spur construction," Power Finance & Risk, December 1, 2022
  • Quoted, "An early obstacle for climate law: Hiring," POLITICO, October 11, 2022
  • Quoted, "25% Chip Tax Credit Sparks Interest Amid Uncertainty," Law360, August 12, 2022
  • Quoted, "News Analysis: Under IRA, tax equity gets a facelift," Inframation News, August 10, 2022
  • Quoted, "Joe Manchin's Quest to Keep Clean Energy Tax Credits Broken," Epoch Times, June 22, 2022
  • Quoted, "IRS pushes out safe harbor deadline for US renewables," IJ Global, July 2, 2021 
  • Quoted, "IRS Notice gives renewables developers breathing room," Power Finance and Risk and Inframation News, July 1, 2021
  • Author, "IRS Extension Is Partial Relief For Renewable Energy Projects," Law360, July 1, 2021
  • Quoted, "Accounting Rules for Energy Tax Credits Divide Utilities, Solar Producers," The Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2021
  • Quoted, "News Analysis: Texas hedge, tax-equity markets go topsy-turvy," Inframation News, March 8, 2021
  • Quoted, "Stimulus bill to boost offshore wind development," Inframation News, December 22, 2020
  • Author, "The 2020 Tax Equity Market: The Switchback Year," Project Finance International, December 18, 2020
  • Quoted, "Execution mode" – Tax equity scopes out carbon capture tax credits," Power Finance & Risk, July 2, 2020 and IJ Global, July 8, 2020
  • Author, "PLR Allows Utility to Buy Power From Own Tax Equity Partnership," Tax Notes, March 27, 2020
  • Quoted, "Energy Outlook: Forget the ITC and PTC for Wind and Solar, Here's 45Q," Inframation News, March 17, 2020
  • Quoted, "Historic Treasury Yield Lows Inspire Mixed Reactions in Project Finance," Power Finance & Risk, March 13, 2020
  • Quoted, "PTC Extension Earns Mixed Reviews From Renewable Industry," Inframation News, December 26, 2019
  • Mentioned, "Cross-Border Deals Boost Lawyers," Project Finance International, November 20, 2019
  • Mentioned, "Movers and Shakers in Americas Law," Project Finance International, November 20, 2019
  • Quoted, "U.S. Sponsors Steer Solar Equipment into TaxCredit Safe Harbor," Power Finance & Risk, October 11, 2019
  • Editor, www.TaxEquityNews.com, an NRF website covering market trends and considerations for renewable energy and tax policy in the United States.
  • Quoted, "Silicon Ranch Plots Solar Sale-Leaseback Switch," Power Finance & Risk, August 8, 2019
  • Author, "Recent IRS Notices Blow Favorable For Wind Projects," Law360, July 19, 2019
  • Author, "Two Favorable IRS Notices: "Start of Construction" Relief for Department of Defense Delays and PTCs Increased from $24/MWh to $25/MWh," Norton Rose Fulbright - Tax Equity News, July 15, 2019
  • Co-author with Keith Martin, "Recent Tax Equity Rulings And The Renewable Energy Sector," Law360, June 26, 2019
  • Author, "Claims Court finds related-party developer fee lacks economic substance," Norton Rose Fulbright - Tax Equity News, June 21, 2019
  • Quoted, "Congressman Proposes Extending Tax Credits for Wind Projects," Inframation News, " June 20, 2019
  • Author, "New Financial Products for Project Financiers," Norton Rose Fulbright - Tax Equity News, June 10, 2019
  • Author, "Soundbites from Novogradac's Renewable Energy Conference," Norton Rose Fulbright - Tax Equity News, June 4, 2019
  • Co-author with Anne Levin-Nussbaum, "How the New Tax Law Blue Book Impacts Regulated Utilities," Law 360, January 30, 2019
  • Co-author with Anne Levin-Nussbaum, "2018 and Onward: The Impact of Tax Reform on the Renewable Energy Market," Pratt's Energy Law Report, March 2018
  • Author, "Investing in US Solar: US Tax Aspects for Japanese Investors," Tax Equity News, August 8, 2010
  • Co-author, "Are You Properly Pricing Your Medical Equipment Leases (or Other Leases to Tax-Exempt Entities) Given the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004?" Equipment Leasing & Finance Magazine, 2005
  • "Investor Forum: Where the Money is Going," Webinar, A Word About Wind, September 2, 2020
  • "Carbon sequestration tax credits," AirMiners, August 26, 2020
  • "Demystifying capital accounts in tax equity transactions webinar: Q&A and video," Norton Rose Fulbright and Pivotal 180 Webinar, March 25, 2020
  • "Investing in US Solar: US Tax Aspects for Japanese Investors," Japan Institute for Overseas Investment, Tokyo, August 6, 2019
  • "Renewable Energy Tax Credits," Novogradac's 2019 Financing Renewable Energy Tax Credits Spring Conference, San Francisco, May 23, 2019
  • "Tax Reform and Renewable Energy: Planning Techniques, Loopholes, 100% Expensing, BEAT, Credits and Deductions," Stafford Webinar, January 16, 2019
  • "Window of Opportunity: The IRS Issues Initial Guidance on Qualified Opportunity Zone Rules," Panel, November 2, 2018
  • "Renewable Tax Equity Structuring," Webinar, October 23, 2018
  • "Tax Equity Structuring and Impact of Potential Tax Reform," Webinar, June 28, 2017
  • "Tax Equity Structuring and Impact of Potential Tax Reform," Seminar, New York, May 2, 2017
  • "Structuring, Modeling and HLBV Accounting for Tax Equity," Seminar, Chicago, June 29, 2016