Mary Ann Christopher is a special counsel and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. As a longstanding member of Foley’s Energy Industry Team, she primarily represents clients in the development, acquisition, sale, finance, and leasing of utility-scale renewable energy projects, including wind (both land-based and offshore), solar, biomass, and waste-to-energy, as well as the formation, acquisition, sale, and finance of energy companies and related partnerships and joint ventures. Her clients include project developers, tax equity investors, utilities and utility affiliates, and commercial financing parties.
Mary Ann also counsels clients from a wide range of industries regarding corporate and project finance matters.
Mary Ann regularly prepares and negotiates the full suite of project, tax equity, financing, and other transaction agreements for renewable energy projects, including development and joint venture agreements, limited liability company and partnership agreements, asset purchase agreements, membership interest purchase agreements (MIPAs), restructuring agreements, power purchase agreements (PPAs), interconnection agreements, turbine supply contracts, equipment purchase and lease agreements, EPC and BOP contracts, O&M agreements, leveraged lease agreements, and credit agreements.
As counsel for a U.S. offshore wind developer, Mary Ann served recently on a stakeholder committee formed by the Maryland Public Service Commission, advising on the development of regulations implementing the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, which created offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs). Mary Ann also participated in an offshore lease auction conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for a proposed offshore wind energy project.
Since 2009, Mary Ann has written and spoken extensively on the emerging U.S. offshore wind energy industry, including presentations at numerous conferences in the U.S. and Europe.
Mary Ann was recognized by The Legal 500 in project finance (2010 and 2016) and alternative and renewable energy (2016).*
Mary Ann graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College in 1988, and received a J.D. degree from Northwestern University School of Law in 1991.
Mary Ann is a member of the state bars of Wisconsin (active) and Illinois (inactive). She is also a member of the Offshore Wind Working Group of the American Wind Energy Association and the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative.
Mary Ann is fluent in French.
- “Offtake Awards and Opportunities for US Offshore Wind Projects”, presented October 16, 2018 in Washington, D.C. at the American Wind Energy Association’s Offshore Windpower Conference & Exhibition
- “Offshore Site Acquisition in the Great Lakes”, presented May 7, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois at the American Wind Energy Association’s Windpower 2018 Pre-Conference Seminar – Icebreaker: Unleashing the Vast Great Lakes Offshore Wind Potential
- “Wanted: Offshore Wind Electricity Buyers”, presented (as panel moderator) April 20, 2017 in Annapolis, Maryland at the Business Network for Offshore Wind’s International Partnering Forum.
- “Key Drivers for Growth: Federal Policy Initiatives”, presented October 3, 2016 in Newport, Rhode Island at the Business Network for Offshore Wind’s International Partnering Forum
- “Overview of U.S. Offtake Opportunities”, presented November 13, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland at the Business Network for Maryland Offshore Wind’s International Partnering Forum
- “Great Lakes Wind Plans, Policies and Initiatives” and “Status, Outlook and Impact of Spatial Management Plans”, both presented (as panel moderator) January 23-24, 2012 in Washington, D.C. at Infocast’s North American Offshore Wind Development and Finance Summit
- “Offshore Wind PPAs, the Ontario Feed-in Tariff, and the New Jersey OREC Program: Strong Government Support Key to Success”, presented (as a poster and live commentary) October 12, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland at the American Wind Energy Association’s North American Offshore Wind Conference
- Conference chair and multi-panel moderator of Turbines, Towers & Vessels, a three-day Infocast conference held September 7-9, 2011 in Providence, Rhode Island
- Conference chair and multi-panel moderator of Freshwater Wind 2011 Summit, a three-day Infocast summit held July 18-20, 2011 in Dearborn, Michigan
- "State Initiatives - Impacts of State-Driven Economic Development Strategies on Local Communities and Industry Growth," presented (as a panelist) April 12, 2011 in Washington, D.C. at Infocast's North American Offshore Wind Development & Finance Summit 2011
- "The Emerging Offshore Wind Industry in the United States: Understanding the Regulatory Landscape," presented April 18-19, 2011 in Toronto, Canada at EUCI's Offshore Wind: Canada Conference
- "The Emerging Offshore Wind Industry in North America: Projects, Policies, and Recent Developments," presented March 14-17, 2011 in Brussels, Belgium at the European Wind Energy Conference & Exhibition
- Conference chair and multi-panel moderator of "Southern Wind 2010 Conference," a three-day Infocast summit held November 30-December 2, 2010 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- Guest speaker at public launch of Santee Cooper's Wind Education Project and Demonstration Turbine on November 30, 2010 in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- "Early Offshore Wind PPAs Have Influential Supporters," published October 2010 in North American Windpower
- Organizer and co-host of Energy Bar Association presentation on offshore wind energy development held October 13, 2010 in Washington, D.C.
- "The States' Race to the Water" presented (as moderator and panelist) October 5-6, 2010 in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the American Wind Energy Association's North American Offshore Wind Conference
- Co-host of Energy Bar Association presentation on energy storage held July 29, 2010 in Washington, D.C.
- Conference chair and multi-panel moderator of "Freshwater Wind 2010: Building the Successful Business Case for Offshore Wind Development in the Great Lakes," a three-day Infocast summit held July 19-21, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio
- "State-Driven Economic Development Strategies Determine Regional Growth of the Offshore Wind Industry," presented (as a panelist) March 25, 2010 in Washington, D.C. at Infocast’s North American Offshore Wind Development Summit 2010
- "Developing Regional Trade Agreements Related to Offshore Wind," presented (as panel moderator) at a February 23, 2010 Web conference hosted by Infocast
- "Round 1: The Great Lakes, Renewables and Economic Acceleration," presented (as a panelist) at a February 18, 2010 Web conference hosted by Infocast
- "North American Offshore Wind Continues to Gain Momentum," published December 2009 in North American Windpower
- "Offshore Wind Energy Development in the Great Lakes," presented December 12, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois at the annual meeting of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus
- "Key Factors for Viable Wind and Solar Project Development," presented (as panel moderator) October 23, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois at Law Seminars International’s Wind and Solar Project Development & Permitting Conference
*The Illinois Supreme Court does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and no award or recognition is a requirement to practice law in Illinois.