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About Danielle

Danielle Varnell has extensive experience in energy M&A including with respect to both development stage and operating projects, portfolio acquisitions and divestures, and complex multi-party joint ventures. In addition to her experience with fossil generation assets and onshore wind and solar assets, Danielle has significant experience in carbon capture and sequestration, battery storage and offshore wind.

Danielle also has extensive experience on all aspect of energy and infrastructure project development, including the negotiation and drafting of build transfer agreements, EPC contracts, operation and maintenance agreements, construction management agreements, asset management agreements, shared facilities agreements, build out agreements and equipment procurement and supply agreements (including gas and wind turbines, modules and transformers), as well as numerous other project development agreements.

She speaks and writes extensively on issues of import in the energy sector, including both onshore and offshore wind, financing solutions for renewable energy projects and solar and storage development.

Ms. Varnell is currently recommended by Chambers USA in Projects: Power & Renewables - Transactional (2021-2022), The Legal 500 United States in Energy: Renewable/Alternative Power (2017-2018, 2022-2023), Energy Transactions: Electric Power (2017-2019, 2021, 2023; Leading Lawyer, 2023) and Project Finance (2021). In addition, she was named “Energy, Natural Resources & Mining Lawyer of the Year” at the 2021 Women in Business Law America Awards and a "South Trailblazer" for 2022 by The American Lawyer.

Danielle’s sharp legal mind translates to her being able to efficiently and effectively review documents, synthesize issues and provide clear guidance that is thoughtfully tailored to her client.
Chambers USA, 2022


Recent Notable Matters

Competitive Power Ventures — acquisition of the Canton Mountain, Saddleback Ridge, Spruce Mountain and Beaver Ridge wind projects in Maine from Patriot Renewables

Invenergy and energyRe — as project sponsors, in forming a consortium of investors that secured one of six leases in the New York Bight offshore wind auction

NRG Energy, Inc. — $760 million sale to an affiliate of ArcLight Capital Partners, LLC of its ownership interest in eight fossil generating facilities from its East and West regions totaling approximately 4,850 MWs 

Competitive Power Ventures, Inc. — sale of its majority ownership stake in CPV’s largest project to-date, the 1250 MW CPV Three Rivers Energy Center project in Grundy County, Illinois, to affiliates of Osaka Gas USA, Axium Infrastructure and Harrison Street, which sale closed contemporaneously with the financing of the project, representing over $1.3 billion in private investment.  This deal was awarded numerous recognitions including 2020 “US Power Deal of the Year” by Project Finance International.

Leading renewable energy developer — in the sale, development and construction via EPC contracts for three solar plus battery storage projects in the Midwest totaling approximately 1000 MW

Invenergy LLC — build transfer sale, subject to state regulatory approvals, of a 250 MW solar energy generating facility to be developed and constructed by Invenergy in Sullivan County, Indiana, to a subsidiary of Northern Indiana Public Service Company

NRG Energy, Inc. — sale to a subsidiary of Clearway Energy Inc. of its remaining 35 percent ownership interest in the 290 MW Agua Caliente solar project in Dateland, Arizona

Invenergy LLC — build-transfer sale of a wind energy generating facility in Atchison County, Missouri, with a total capacity of up to 300 MW to Ameren Missouri 

Invenergy LLC — acquisition of a multistate wind and solar development portfolio*

NRG Energy, Inc. — $1.375 billion sale of NRG’s ownership in NRG Yield and NRG’s renewables platform to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) *

Leading renewable energy developer — disposition of a 90 percent interest in two operating wind plants in Nebraska*

Leading wind developer — equity investment in two utility scale wind projects totaling approximately 300 MW for the purpose of repowering such projects using safe harbored turbines*

NRG Energy, Inc — acquisition from SunPower Corporation, Systems of the 250 MW California Valley Solar Ranch photovoltaic solar project, which closed in connection with a $1.3 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy’s federal loan guaranty program*

Starbucks — equity investment into a development stage solar project in Robeson, North Carolina*

NRG Residential Solar Solutions — $200 million financing of its residential rooftop solar platform*

Competitive Power Ventures, Inc. — equity sell down of its 25 percent interest in the CPV Towantic Energy Center, an 805 MW combined cycle plant in Oxford, Connecticut to Osaka Gas USA*

NRG Energy, Inc. — lead M&A and financing counsel for its Petra Nova carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery project located southwest of Houston, Texas in which JX Nippon acquired a 50 percent equity interest in the Petra Nova project.  This project was awarded Power Magazine’s 2017 Project of the Year award and a $190 million US Department of Energy grant*

OGE Energy Corporation — negotiation of a design, engineering and supply contract to add circulating, dry flue gas desulphurization systems at two approximately 569 gross MW sub-critical coal-fired steam electric generation facilities located in Noble County, Oklahoma*

* Work completed prior to Bracewell



University of Wisconsin Law School,
cum laude, Order of the Coif
Ripon College,
magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia


Energy Editorial Advisory Board
2021 - 2022
Women’s Council on Energy & the Environment






Chambers Global
Projects: Power & Renewables (Transactional), 2022 - 2024
Chambers USA
Nationwide Projects: Power & Renewables (Transactional), 2021 - 2023; Nationwide Offshore Energy, 2023
The Legal 500 United States
Energy: Renewable/Alternative Power, 2017 – 2018, 2022 - 2023; Energy Transactions: Electric Power, 2017 – 2018, 2021, 2023 (Leading Lawyer, 2023); Project Finance, 2021
Delinian Limited
IFLR1000 Financial & Corporate and M&A Guide
Project Development: Energy, 2023
Women in Business Law Americas Awards
Energy, Natural Resources & Mining Lawyer of the Year, 2021
ALM Media Properties, LLC
The American Lawyer
South Trailblazers, 2022
ALM Media Properties, LLC
National Law Journal
Energy & Environmental Trailblazers, 2018
Lawdragon Inc.
Lawdragon 500 Leading Dealmakers in America
Energy M&A, 2024