Energy policy and the response to climate change have rapidly taken center stage at both EU and Member State levels. The EU is liberalizing energy markets, promoting renewable energy, and in parallel implementing a comprehensive strategy to ensure security of supply. To address climate change, the EU introduced an emissions trading system in 2005. Europe has pursued ambitious goals in the international post-Kyoto negotiations on the reduction of carbon emissions that are currently taking place under United Nations auspices, with the response to global warming high up on the political agenda in most EU member countries.
We represent leading operators in the oil, gas, electricity and alternative energy industries on a broad variety of energy and climate-change related regulatory issues before the European Commission, the European Courts and the regulatory authorities and courts of EU Member States, in particular in Germany. We deal with the full range of regulatory issues and enforcement proceedings regarding energy supply, gas exploration and production, power generation, renewable energy regulation and gas pipeline and electricity network operation, including unbundling, network access and tariff regulation. We advise clients on emissions trading regulation and represent them in disputes under the trading rules. We also counsel clean tech businesses and investors on carbon reduction rules, intellectual property and technology transfer.
Our lawyers advise on the full range of legislative and policy issues raised by the EU’s initiatives on energy regulation and climate change. In this regard, in addition to drawing on our experience in EU and national legal proceedings, we benefit from the firm’s established strengths in EU policy and legislative advocacy and in the International Trade, Investment and Market Access Practice. We counsel companies, business coalitions and governments on all policy aspects of the EU’s energy and climate change initiatives; advise clients on relevant legislative and negotiating processes and on the likely business impact of new EU and Member State regulatory developments; and help them engage with officials at all levels of government, civil society and in the private sector.
Our European Energy and Climate Change lawyers can draw on the skills and knowledge acquired in related areas such as EU Competition, Environmental and Waste, German Antitrust and Intellectual Property, where they have gained significant experience on energy and climate change issues. We also work closely with our US colleagues in the Energy and Clean Tech Practice and in our Climate Change and Carbon Markets team. This base of experience serves us well in providing clients the policy, legislative, regulatory and enforcement support needed to navigate the European energy and climate change landscape.
European Energy Regulatory
- Providing comprehensive legal advice to a leading energy company on the legality of the European Commission’s proposal for ownership unbundling under EU and German constitutional law.
- Providing advice to a leading international gas company on the development of the EU gas regulatory framework.
- Representing supra-regional gas pipeline operators before the German Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) with regard to their application for exemption from cost-based network tariff regulation and in subsequent appeals.
- Representing a leading European gas company in connection with its application for regulatory exemption for the onshore connection of the Nord Stream gas pipeline project, including subsequent court proceedings.
- Advising a gas pipeline operator in connection with network connection negotiations and network access agreements for a new CCGT power plant.
- Supporting a leading international gas company with respect to regulatory issues in connection with an application for exemption from the duty to grant third party access to a gas storage site in Austria.
- Advising a leading international gas producer and supplier on questions concerning exploration licensing in Norway, regulation of Norwegian gas transportation and regulation of the transport of oil via pipeline in the Norwegian North Sea.
- Advising a major European energy company on various EU law aspects related to the construction of a major offshore European interconnector.
- Advising a consortium of companies with regard to EU energy, state aid and public procurement law in their tender for the construction of the first wind mill energy park off the Dutch coast.
- Assisting a foreign investor specifically with regard to a revision of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act, including detailed discussions with government officials.
European Climate Change Policy and Legislation
- Act as regular strategic and policy counsel to a coalition of leading US and European clean technology companies concerning key aspects of global climate change negotiations, including comprehensive advice on their EU, US and global public policy strategy.
- Represented a leading European electricity generator before the European Courts in an application for annulment of the European Commission's approval of the German national allocation plan for greenhouse gas emission trading certificates.
- Advised clients on the WTO consistency of various aspects of emissions trading systems in Europe, the US and elsewhere, including allocation mechanisms, possible future border tax systems and export remissions.
- Advised an EU Member State’s environment ministry on the WTO compatibility of proposed EU bio-energy legislation.
- Assisted a foreign investor with regard to revision of an EU Member State’s renewable energy legislation.