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. 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

Brexit – The future of the UK-EU energy market: what the draft UK and EU agreements can tell us

On 18 March 2020, the European Commission published a draft text of the Agreement on the New Partnership with the UK (the EU’s “draft agreement”); a previous draft of which had been published on 12 March 2020. Following the third negotiating round on the UK exit from the EU on 15 May 2020, the UK published on 19 May 2020 draft legal texts of a comprehensive free trade agreement (the UK’s “draft CFTA”) and a suite of accompanying, but separate, draft international agreements, two of which were a draft agreement on energy (the UK’s “draft energy agreement”) and a draft agreement on civil nuclear (the UK’s “draft civil nuclear agreement”). These drafts had been shared with the Commission during the preceding weeks, but not the Member States. Read more

The Spanish Government approves a Bill on Climate Change and the Energy Transition: analysis of the main aspects

On 19 May 2020, the Council of Ministers approved the Bill on Climate Change and the Energy Transition (Proyecto de Ley de Cambio Climático y Transición Energética (the “Bill”), which it sent to Spanish Parliament for processing and final approval. The Council of Ministers had made a commitment to pass the bill within its first 100 days, included in its Statement of Government in the face of the Climate and Environmental Emergency approved on 21 January 2020. The approval of the Bill brings an end to a administrative process that has been more than one year in the making. The Council of Ministers, in effect, took into account the first Draft Bill dated 22 February 2019, which was submitted to public consultation and successive reports issued by the different Ministries, considerations from the Advisory Council for the Environment and the Sector Conference of the Autonomous Regions, a report issued by the Spanish National Markets and Competition Commission (the “CNMC”) and a report issued by the State Council. The text finally sent to Parliament contains the modifications made to the initial Draft Bill throughout that process. Read more

A SPECIAL, GLOBAL, EDITION OF THE EUROPEAN ENERGY HANDBOOK

We are delighted to present an update to our European Energy Handbook. The European Energy Handbook usually reports on regulatory, legal and market developments in the European energy sector. However, these are not usual times as the COVID-19 pandemic is creating significant health, social and economic challenges worldwide, forcing governments and businesses to critically assess the impact on their people, operations and governance. In many jurisdictions, governments have made available support schemes for businesses in an effort to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic on their businesses. In this special edition, we cover 52 jurisdictions across the globe. Read more