Navigating the low oil price environment podcast: How investment treaties can protect foreign investments against State action

Oil prices have recently reached historic lows and oil companies are faced with a number of potential legal issues as the prices impact their trading and operational agreements. In this podcast series, our energy disputes lawyers consider some of the key issues triggered by the current low oil price environment. Even investments into relatively stable ‎jurisdictions may be affected by changes in the political and financial landscape. No investor can completely insulate their investment from such changes, but access to an investment treaty can be critical: Andrew Cannon, Laurence Franc-Menget and Hannah Ambrose discuss how investment treaties can protect foreign investments against state action in the second episode in the series.   Read more

EP&C repost: Clean and just energy: How the renewable energy sector’s rapid growth can be managed without foregoing fundamental human rights

The renewable energy sector is leading the transition to a net-zero carbon economy, and was recognised again in the Climate Change Authority’s recent report as being fundamental to a sustainable recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. However, there is an increasing appreciation that ensuring immediate and long term steps in this clean energy transition also … Read more

EU Hydrogen Strategy – a call to action

On 8 July 2020, the European Commission (the “Commission“) published its European Hydrogen Strategy (the “Hydrogen Strategy“) and launched the industry-led European Clean Hydrogen Alliance (the “ECHA” or the “Alliance“). (1) The European Hydrogen Strategy (A) Background: A Policy Framework for Energy Transition & Decarbonisation The Hydrogen Strategy sets out the Commission’s vision for how … Read more

With its multiple facets, the legal side of decarbonisation may not be highly visible, but it is strategically important – starting now

The challenges of climate change seem to be taking a back seat to economic stimulus. However the process of decarbonising the economy should begin to pick up steam given the ecological origins of the health crisis, the call from 12 countries (including France) to make the Green Deal “a roadmap to responding to the economic crisis”, and the publication on 23 April 2020 of the decree adopting France’s low carbon strategy for achieving carbon neutrality in 2050. Over the last months, legal provisions from multiple sources are converging toward this larger reality and have created a legal framework. The regulatory approach taken in France plays a significant part here, although very similar measures do exist in a number of European countries. Read more

Germany: Federal Cartel Office launches sector inquiry into charging points for electric vehicles

The German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has launched a sector inquiry in the provision and marketing of publicly accessible charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. According to the FCO’s president, Andreas Mundt, the FCO has received several complaints about prices and conditions at the charging stations. Germany has set itself the ambitious target to reduce emissions from transport by 40 to 42 percent (compared to 1990) by 2030. One aspect of this ambitious strategy is the government’s aim to have seven to ten million electric vehicles registered in Germany by that date. A bottleneck in increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road is the charging infrastructure. The German government aims to have a total of one million charging points available by 2030, which is the key milestone of its “Masterplan Charging Point Infrastructure”, adopted in November 2019. Over the next two years alone 50,000 public charging points are to be set up. Read more

The Spanish Government published the upcoming remunerative framework applicable to new renewable energy facilities in Spain

On 26 June, the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge published a draft Royal Decree which will regulate the Remunerative Framework for Renewable Energy applicable to Electricity Generation Facilities (the “draft Royal Decree”). The draft Royal Decree implements the provisions of article 14.7 bis of the Spanish Electricity Sector Law 24/2013, of 26 December (“LSE”), recently enacted by Royal Decree-law 23/2020, of 23 June, which approves measures in relation to energy and other areas to stimulate economic recovery (“RDL 23/2020”), the main contents of which were analysed here. Article 14.7 bis LSE set out, in effect, that the Spanish Government could establish a new remunerative framework applicable to renewable energy, which would be added to the current framework and would have the following defining features: a) it will be based on a long-term fixed price for energy; b) it would be awarded by tendering procedures in which electricity, installed power capacity or a combination of both would be up for auction and tenderers would make bids for the price of the remuneration for the energy produced; and c) separate auctions may be held by technology on the basis, among other criteria, of their technical characteristics, scale, dispatchability, localisation or technological maturity. Read more

Analysis of Royal Decree-Law 23/2020, of 23 June: its impact on renewable energy

On 24 June Spain’s Official State Journal (Boletín Oficial del Estado) published Royal Decree-law 23/2020, of 23 June, which approves measures in relation to energy and other areas to stimulate economic recovery (“RDL 23/2020”). RDL 23/2020 entered into force on 25 June 2020, although it has yet to receive final approval from Spanish Congress. RDL 23/2020 contains measures that affect a number of different sectors, but it primarily contains provisions for the electricity sector, with a particular focus on the regulations governing renewable energy generation facilities. Some of the measures (such as the design of the new renewable energy auctions system, the regulation of hybridisation and storage and independent aggregation) were already included in the Bill on Climate Change and Energy Transition (Proyecto de Ley de Cambio Climático y Transición Energética) (the “Climate Change Bill”) , which was sent to Spanish Congress on 19 May (which we covered in another e-bulletin - see here). The approval of those measures in RDL 23/2020 means that they can be brought into effect immediately. Read more

Investments in Energy: The Case for Oil and Gas [In a Nutshell]

Joining William Powell and Joseph Murphy of Natural Gas World, Lewis McDonald discusses what the future now looks like in terms of investments in energy, namely oil and gas. Given the burgeoning global population, rising standards of living and climate goals, there has been a serious increase in awareness and concern in global climate change around the world. The environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda is now at the top of many companies’ priorities though currently appearing to mainly affect companies in Europe and less so in Asia. Prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, ESG was the major issue being discussed in board rooms. With about 12,000 entities, together controlling around $14 trillion, divesting or wanting to divest from fossil fuels primarily based on consumer demand and consumer sentiment and where the laws and regulation are heading, we have seen rather a chilling effect on investment in the oil and gas sector – and the big question is ... where does it all go from here… Read more

Future Cities Series: Emissions down in lock-down ⁠– how can we lock-in the climate gains?

We are well into the pandemic and lockdown in many regions, so it is natural to ask the question, “when will this end and when will we return to normal”... The problem is, “normal” was not sustainable, in so many ways. Those of us in the energy industry particularly know that to be true. The “business as usual” scenario put out by the International Energy Agency in its 2019 World Energy Outlook does not make for happy reading. It had us on a crash course towards over three degrees of temperature increase due to carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel consumption. The IEA also has a “sustainable development scenario” which keeps us within the Paris limits of 1.5 degrees. The only problem is that, according to the OECD, we would need to spend €6.3 trillion per year globally in each of the next 10 years for us to get there. To give you a feeling for how much money that is, the total size of the global economy is estimated at around $86 trillion. And so the challenge seems virtually impossible. Read more