September, 2011

On Friday, 29 September 2011, the ELG held the Second Biennial Energy Event at the Abbaye des Vaux de Cernay (near Paris – Vallée de Chevreuse). 

This Energy Event, which followed the inaugural Energy Event at the same location in October 2009, is a private energy meeting, attended by decision-makers from the European and International energy markets and by those interested in it, as well as by energy lawyers from the majority of European jurisdictions, all members of the Energy Law Group.

The Second Biennial Energy Event was a memorable occasion and was attended by senior figures in the energy and natural resources sectors invited by the members of the group.  Many of the leading European and international industry players, government and regulatory bodies and financial institutions were represented.

Topics discussed in the morning and afternoon sessions included:

Plenary Session:

Chair: Thierry Lauriol, Jeantet Associés, France: Opening address

  • Cyprus Energy Sector: Solon Kassinis, Director – Energy Service, Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Tourism, Republic of Cyprus
  • Nuclear Power: Bertrand Barre, Scientific Advisor, AREVA


Workshop 1:  Legal issues relating to the safety of nuclear installations

Nuclear safety issues regained a new dimension and awareness after the Fukushima incident. The so called “stress tests” are being currently processed within the EU and the awaited results during the first half of 2012 are expected to prove the actual safety status of nuclear installations in Europe. The nuclear energy future is specifically questioned in the context of its safety.

This workshop provided an overview of legal and regulatory practices of nuclear safety in France, Hungary and Lithuania, including intended nuclear developments. International and EU-level legal instruments were discussed as a framework for nuclear safety, considering future trends of its strengthening. Also general legal and organizational issues of nuclear decommissioning were presented.

The workshop was finalized by discussions on recent decisions regarding the future of nuclear energy and their potential impact to the security of energy supply in Europe.

Chair: Andrius Simkus, LAWIN Lideika, Petraukas, Valiunas ir partneriai, Lithuania

  • Legal Issues Regarding the Safety of Nuclear Installations: Hugues de La Forge, Jeantet Associés, France
  • Legal Issues Regarding the Safety of Nuclear Installations – Decommissioning: Bernard Deltour, Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick, Belgium
  • Nuclear Developments in Hungary: Zoltan Forgo, Forgo, Damjanovic & Partners, Hungary
  • Nuclear Energy in Lithuania: Towards a New Perspective: Andrius Simkus, LAWIN Lideika, Petrauskas, Valiunas ir partneriai, Lithuania
  • Nuclear Energy in Finland: Hannes Snellman, Finland


Workshop 2:  Off-shore wind farms in Europe.

Off-shore wind is becoming an increasingly important part of the EU energy mix as pressure comes on member states to hit their 2020 renewable energy targets.  However, while the sector offers significant opportunities it also presents significant challenges.

This workshop examined the regulatory backdrop to EU renewable energy targets and the means by which member states are hoping to achieve them; as well as examining many of the practical challenges of developing offshore windfarms and solutions that have been implemented, including from a legal, technical, operational, supply chain, environmental and financing perspective.

Chair: Alex McLean, Arthur Cox, Ireland

  • Regulatory backdrop to the European offshore wind sector:  Thorsten Mäger, Hengeler Mueller, Germany
  • Delivering offshore wind: Challenges for a new industry:  Matthew Knight, Director of Business Development, Siemens Energy
  • Offshore wind legal and funding issues:  John Papanichola, Slaughter & May, England & Wales
  • Current issues facing offshore wind developers in the UK:  Jonathon Morton, Legal Counsel, DONG Energy


Workshop 3:  The Implementation of the 3rd Energy Package

The aim of the workshop session was to present the very current status of the 3rd Energy Package Implementation in the EU member states and to focus on differences and various approaches of the national authorities chosen when transposing the unbundling regimes into the respective national legal systems.

After presenting the main facts from the national reports on implementation prepared by the ELG members the participants had unique opportunity to discuss more specific aspects of the 3rd Energy Package, in a most effective case study manner, such as hierarchy of unbundling regimes, right to follow alternative ITO or ISO schemes in case a TSO decided originally to implement the full ownership unbundling etc.

Furthermore, the participants talked about the future of the post 3rd Energy Package market, roll out and deployment of smart grid and smart metering and probability of covering DSO’s by ownership unbundling regime.

Chair: Przemysław Kalek, Soltysinski Kawecki & Szlezak, Poland

  • Overview of the Status of the 3rd Energy Package Implementation in the EU member states: Przemysław Kałek, Soltysinski Kawecki & Szlezak, Poland
  • Implementation of the 3rd Energy Package in Lithuania, Dovile Gebrlikiene, LAWIN, Lithuania
  • Implementation of the 3rd Energy Package in Iceland, Dýrleif Kristjánsdóttir, Lex, Iceland
  • Responses of ELG Members to questionnaires on Third Package implementation


Workshop 4:  European Gas Security

This workshop provided an overview of recent initiatives of the European Commission with regard to European Gas Supply starting with Regulation (EC) 994/2010 on Security of Gas Supply, a statistical overview of the situation in the different Member States and a focus on the situation in South Eastern Europe.

The presentations were followed by a lively discussions  on possibilities to enhance security of supply including the viability of certain pipeline projects, the probability of shale gas in Europe and last but not least the relationship between Europe as a whole and between individual Member States and Russia.

Chair: Thomas Starlinger, Fiebinger Polak Leon Rechtsanwälte, Austria

  • Security of Gas Supply (SoS) – Legal Initiatives on European Level: Thomas Starlinger, Fiebinger Polak Leon Rechtsanwälte, Austria
  • Supply of Natural Gas at EU and MS Level – Facts & Figures: Milan Pandev, Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov, Bulgaria
  • The Energy Community Gas Ring Concept: Milos Vuckovic, karanovic/nikolic law office, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina


Workshop 5:  Solar Energy

The workshop focused on the main challenges currently faced by photovoltaic projects in Europe in particular towards meeting the 2020 targets set for each country.

Following a presentation on the diversity of the levels of the applicable feed in tariffs across Europe, a lively discussion ensued on issues such as at what level of feed in tariff they are still viable, whether PV projects can be competitive against thermal generation and what is their future in a climate of decreasing feed in tariffs.

Case studies of countries like Spain and the Czech Republic where reductions of feed in tariffs applied also to ongoing projects were also discussed together with the legal basis of challenges against such retroactivity. The criteria for financing of PV projects and capacity issues were also discussed.

A presentation was made of the Desertec project (a unique plan for pv installations of almost unlimited capacity to be installed in the Sahara desert to be connected with Europe) and of the Helios project (a 3 – 10 GW project of pv parks in Greece for export of the power to Central Europe).

Chair: Marina Kolia, Zepos & Yannopoulos, Greece

  • PV in Europe (targets, feed in tariffs, retroactivity, financing, licensing, capacity constraints): Marina Kolia, Zepos & Yannopoulos, Greece
  • Desertec Project: the desert lives – important facts and legal challenges in relation to the Desertec Project: Dr. Dirk Uwer, Hengeler Mueller, Germany
  • Responses to questionnaires to ELG Members on solar energy in Europe


Workshop 6:  Financing energy infrastructure projects in the current economic climate

Our workshop discussed what is the current domestic and international environment for financing of energy projects and analyzed questions such as: Is traditional project financing still available for developers? What are the alternatives and initiatives the market and the public authorities are offering to overcome the credit crunch?

We also discussed certain specific questions concerning the impact that the 3rd Energy package may have on the financing of TSOs.

Chair: Javier Valle, Uría Menéndez, Spain

  • Domestic Financing of Energy Projects: Dinka Kovačević, Žurić i Partneri, Croatia
  • 2020 Project Bond Initiative & other alternatives?: Garrett Monaghan, Arthur Cox, Ireland
  • TSO network investments and regulatory framework: Elisabetta Aarts, De Brauw, Blackstone & Westbroek, The Netherlands

Consolidated Questionnaire re Domestic Financing of Energy Projects:

  • Part I: Switzerland, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Norway, Croatia
  • Part II: The Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Iceland, Lithuania, Austria, Estonia