Intersect Power, a clean energy technology company that aims to provide low-carbon solutions at scale, hired a new Chief Legal Officer. In January 2022, the company announced that John Cook, a former law firm partner, would be the company’s next top lawyer.
“The Intersect Power team’s vision for the future of clean energy is wildly exciting, unique, and attainable,” commented John Cook. “I am inspired by the company mission and values and am excited to continue the great work with this strong team in my new role.”
Founded in 2016, Intersect Power has several large-scale projects across North America. Many of the projects are in Texas and California. Its goal is to develop and deliver scalable low-carbon electricity and fuels to wholesale customers. Among its core focus areas are solar energy, green hydrogen, and co-located storage.
Plans for Clean Energy Projects
To date, the company has secured $6.6 billion in financing commitments. That money will go toward construction and operation of its clean energy projects. Intersect Power is actively looking for new development opportunities in the United States and across North America.
Many other power companies enter into long-term contracts. But Intersect Power’s business model focuses on shorter term offtake contracts and portfolio-level financing. This reduces overall risk for the company and its investors.
Sheldon Kimber, founder and CEO of Intersect Power, has over 20 years of work experience in energy finance and entrepreneurship. He founded Intersect Power to leverage his industry experience toward the development and operation of renewable energy solutions.
New Legal Counsel Hails from Top International Law Firm
Mr. Cook has over 25 years of experience with legal issues related to the technology, clean energy, and cleantech industries. Most recently, he was a partner at well-regarded international law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Mr. Cook participated in the Energy & Infrastructure, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Technology & Innovation practice groups in Orrick’s San Francisco office.
“We are grateful to John for his contributions to our firm and wish him continued success in his new role at Intersect Power,” Orrick said. “We are excited for John to take this new opportunity.”
At Orrick, Mr. Cook advised Intersect Power as a client of the law firm. One of the company’s main outside lawyers for many years, Mr. Cook developed a deep understanding of key legal issues the company faced as well as its long-term business objectives. Although he focused on energy company mergers and acquisitions, he remained a corporate law generalist, which will serve him in his new role. The clean energy company regularly encounters legal issues in environmental law, litigation, property leases, regulatory matters, financing transactions, employee benefits, and acquisitions.
“John has been our lead outside counsel since we founded Intersect Power and a long-time partner to our team,” said the company’s CEO Sheldon Kimber. “His experience, focus, and dedication further positions our company to capture opportunities for the clean energy industry and create new pathways between clean electricity and the broader economy.”
A Passion for Climate Change Through Clean Energy
Aside from being well-versed on the company’s business, Mr. Cook has a genuine interest in expanding access to renewable energy sources. “I am passionate about climate change and the team here at Intersect Power has an aggressive, unique, and attainable vision. While I had a big impact at Orrick, I am excited to have a more direct impact by joining Intersect Power.”
From Firm Partner to Lead In-house Counsel: A Growing Trend
Several law firm partners have moved to lead in-house legal departments. This can be motivated by a desire to shape a particular industry or by alignment with a company’s mission. While law firm partners typically address a variety of matters and seek to maximize the firm’s profits, some people believe a general counsel role may provide more career fulfillment, such as with clean energy. However, this depends on whether the company offers the right cultural fit.
In other cases, compensation can be a factor. While law firm partners are highly compensated, the general counsel at some high-growth companies out-earned even the highest paid partners. For example, Google’s general counsel received $50 million in 2020 because several stock awards vested that year. General counsel compensation packages often include a base salary, a cash bonus, and equity awards that vest within a few years.