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First Part of `Clean Energy Package` finally adopted

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The European Council adopted a revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2010/31/EU and parts of Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency today after lengthy negotiations with the European Commission and the Parliament. This is the first tool of the `Clean Energy for All Europeans` package, initially proposed by the European Commission on 30 November 2016, that completed the legislative procedure and will now come into force. The European Parliament already adopted the revised directive one month earlier, on 17 April 2018.

Safety of German Offshore Windparks Questioned After Major Incident

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The first German offshore wind farm `Alpha Ventus´, located 45 km off the coast of the German island of Borkum, has been considerably damaged. At the beginning of April, the main parts of the gondola of one wind turbine broke off and fell 90 meters into the North Sea. The park features 120 structurally identical wind turbines that have been produced by the German manufacturer ADWEN. The reasons for the damage are entirely unclear, but a fierce debate on liability and the safety of offshore wind farms is already on its way in the north of Germany.

New Publication: The ´Hydrogen Economy´ in the United States and the European Union: Regulating Innovation to Combat Climate Change

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I had the honour to contribute a chapter to Donald Zillman, Martha Roggenkamp, Leroy Paddock and Lee Godden (eds). `Innovation in Energy Law and Technology´ (Oxford University Press, 2018). My colleague Prof. Joshua Fershee of West Virginia University and me explored the legal perspectives for the creation of  `Hydrogen Economies´ in the US and the EU. We used the example of fuel-cell cars and power-to-gas to illustrate legal possibilities and barriers. The book is available here. The introduction of the chapter is reproduced below.

Dutch Government Decides to Cease Gas Production From Groningen Gas Field - A Legal Perspective

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Europe`s largest onshore gas field in the province of Groningen, Netherlands, will be shut down by 2030, the Dutch government decided last thursday, 29 March 2018. The decision is the latest move in a more-than-decade long saga of resistance against gas production in the Groningen region. Earth tremors and quakes triggered persistent local opposition to gas production. The production company NAM is showing little appetite to challenge the decision in court.

The Quo Vadis Study on the EU Gas Regulatory Framework – What does it tell us? (and what not?)

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By Gijs Kreeft, PhD Researcher on the Regulation of Power-to-Gas at the Groningen Centre of Energy Law

The absence of a legislative proposal on the gas sector under the Clean Energy for All Europeans Package could be interpreted as a regulatory standstill in the EU gas market. Nothing, however, is less true. During the past 12 months, a deal has been struck between the European Commission and Gazprom through which the Russian gas giant committed itself to tune down its dominant behavior in Central and Eastern Europe, an information exchange mechanism has been established with regard to agreements in the field of energy by Member States with third countries (Decision (EU) 2017/684), a new Security of Supply Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2017/1938) has been adopted, and amendments to the 2009 Gas Directive have been proposed in light of North Stream 2. Earlier, in 2016, the Commission already decided on revised exemption conditions for the OPAL pipeline, capping the exemption for third par…

New Article `Wind Farm Waste in the EU, Denmark and the UK` published in OGEL 2 (2018)

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A new article titled `Wind Farm Waste - Emerging Issues with Decommissioning and Waste Regulation in the EU, Denmark and the United Kingdom` has been published in a special issue of OGEL. I had the pleasure of cooperating with Dr. Heyd Fernandes Mas and Ceciel Nieuwenhout, LLM for this. The abstract can be found below and the article is available here.

E.On and RWE are Reshaping the German Electricity Market

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Two of Germany`s biggest utility companies, E.On and RWE, yesterday announced plans to restructure their assets. Germany`s electricity market is liberalized, but still dominated by four big oligopolistic companies. Two of the four companies are now going to coordinate their activities even more to create monopoly-like structures in particular areas. According to the plans, RWE is only focussing on electricity production in the future, whereas E.On is going to deal only with electricity transmission and distribution as well as end-user supplies and will cease its electricity generation activities. The plans still need to be approved by European competition authorities and the German Federal Cartel Office. German municipalities reported to be highly sceptical of the deal.