Meet Heather Arbogast: A Renewable Energy Guru
Heather Arbogast serves as a strategic corporate advisor to utilities, energy companies, developers, power purchasers, sponsors, investors and other clients on a broad range of transactions and regulatory issues in the power, retail energy, solar, wind and battery storage sectors of the energy industry. Heather is a member of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Leadership Class of 2019, a rigorous program dedicated to developing and connecting civic leaders to strengthen the Baltimore region. She is also head of pro bono legal service for McGuireWoods’ Baltimore office, Co-Chairs Baltimore’s Recruitment Committee and oversees the Legal Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) program in the Baltimore office.
We recently sat down with Heather to learn more about her career journey and how she got into the Renewable Energy sector.
Can you share about your role and background in renewable energy?
I have been practicing in the power, gas and renewable energy space for over 10 years. Early in my career, I focused primarily on mergers and acquisitions, but, over the years, my practice has really grown to encompass far more than buying or selling an energy company. I advise companies on both retail and wholesale energy transactions, retail regulatory matters (including renewable incentive programs) and all life cycles of renewable projects, including the development, financing, operation, and divestiture.
What has been your greatest challenge as an attorney in this sector?
The greatest challenge (and the greatest motivation) is keeping up with the technology. I’ve worked on utility scale solar and wind projects, rooftop solar projects, battery storage projects and everything in between. To best serve my clients and their business objectives, I work not only with the legal team, but immerse myself in the client and work alongside project managers, analysts, engineers and environmental specialists who understand how these projects are built and operated.
What trends in renewable energy is most interesting to you right now?
EV technology is very interesting to me. There are a lot of stakeholders taking an interest in EV technology and for good reason. Opportunities abound in this technology, but it will require significant infrastructure investments. There are still a lot of issues to consider in terms of effectively implementing this technology. Offshore wind is also a very interesting variation of a technology that has been very successfully implemented onshore. Offshore wind presents many challenges not faced in a traditional onshore wind project and as more of these projects come online, I think we will be dealing with more issues of first impression.
How do you think about your pro bono and volunteer work?
Pro bono and volunteer work allow me to explore and support other interests beyond my interests in the energy space, and to do so in a way that makes a difference in my community and for organizations that mean a lot to me. I’ve always felt fortunate to have opportunities where I can use my skills and time to contribute to causes that I feel connected to. I think pro bono and volunteer work is critical to a well-rounded attorney, and although it can be challenging to carve out the time for pro bono and volunteer commitments, it is hugely important to me.
What maxim guides you?
Relationships Matter. Maintaining strong relationships is important in every facet of life, but particularly in your career. Building and maintaining relationships with your clients, colleagues, network, and even counsel on the other side of a deal distinguishes a good attorney from a great attorney and builds the foundation for the future of your career and practice.
What’s the best compliment a client has given you?
Hands down, the best compliment is when a client refers a friend or colleague to me. Or offers to introduce me to someone in their network. As attorneys, our clients put a great deal of trust in our experience, judgment, and work ethic, among other things. They trust us to help them solve their problems, and to do so creatively and adeptly.
What’s one piece of advice you have for other women?
Find other women in the energy space, nurture those relationships, and promote other women. It took me several years before I found conferences like Kayo where I could really connect with likeminded women in both energy and in life. It is OK to acknowledge that, as women, we face challenges that our male counterparts do not or cannot understand or appreciate. And as women, we have unique abilities. Building out a network of women in whom you can turn to share your successes and failures, your doubts and your frustrations, is so meaningful. I am forever grateful to the women who have shown up for me in all of these ways and I hope to return the favor to the next generation.
Heather is moderated Kayo’s Power Markets Outlook Webinar on July 14th. Miss the webinar and want the recording? Join The Corner to catch up on what you missed.
Learn more about trends in renewable energy, hydrocarbons, ESG, energytech and more at our upcoming Energy Transition Summit, September 21-22, 2021 in Houston, TX this fall.