Wednesday, 23 November 2016

28th European Energy Law Seminar

The Dutch Energy Law Association announced today that the upcoming 28th round of the European Energy Law Seminar will be held on 23 and 24 January 2017 in Hampshire Hotel - Babylon The Hague, Netherlands.


The European Energy Law Seminar is jointly organized by the Dutch Energy Law Association NEVER, the Groningen Centre of Energy Law and the Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law, University of Oslo. The seminar brings together European energy law professionals and scholars with those from neighbouring countries, like Norway. It is an opportunity to keep up to date on latest EU energy law developments, gain insights into emerging issues and exchange experiences with colleagues.
 
The finalized programme and all further details will be available asap at the Association`s  website www.never.nl. Registration will be possible via that website.
 

 

Monday, 14 November 2016

President Elect Donald Trump - Blackbox Energy?

Slowly the dust is settling after a hard-fought campaign to become next President of the United States. Donald Trump won that race for the White House - but what will his energy and climate policies look like and is he able to implement his ideas? In this short piece some of the pillars of his climate and energy policies are assessed and their legal feasibility discussed.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Germany is fundamentally changing its Renewable Energy Law

On 8 July 2016 resolved the German parliament Bundestag the EEG-Novelle 2017. This amendment to the German Renewable Energy Law (Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz EEG) introduces major changes to the current system. The main alterations are as follows.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Is UK shale gas policy about to change?


Recent developments indicate that  implementation of  the UK –government`s pro-shale gas policy is being accelerated. In December2012 the administration of then Prime Minister David Cameron decided to lift a pre-existing moratorium on shale gas extraction http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/wms_shale/wms_shale.aspx . As a reaction,  Scotland joined Northern Ireland in putting into place a moratorium on shale gas extraction.

In England, however, shale gas extraction is encouraged by the executive. In order to overcome resistance of local councils towards one particular technical component of shale gas extraction, hydraulic fracturing or `fracking`, Whitehall put into place a number of tax-incentives.  Councils may, inter alia, keep 100 per cent (as opposed to the hithereto 50 per cent) of business rates (in effect property taxes) that they collect from shale gas sites.[1] This right could be worth up to 1.7 million pound per year per site.[2] That move has been labelled by Gordon/McHeigh/Paterson as an `apparent attempt to encourage English authorities to approve fracking applications`.[3] There have been indications that the policy works. For instance,  North Yorkshire Council in May 2016 gave the green light for the first exploratory works to be carried out at a shale gas site in England.[4]

Despite this punctual success, legal scholars warned that councils overall `continued to hesitate before approving fracking applications (…)`.[5] The UK government is now apparently on the brink of changing its `carrot` to a `stick`-approach. According to the Guardian,  Communities secretary Sajid Javid just accepted an appeal by the shale gas company Cuadrilla against an earlier decision of Lancashire council to reject  plans to frack. This means exploratory fracking of four wells in the area is now possible. The council cited visual impact and noise when it turned down the company’s two planning applications to frack on the Fylde last year, but a month later Cuadrilla submitted an appeal https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/06/uk-fracking-given-go-ahead-as-lancashire-council-rejection-is-overturned. It remains to be seen whether this is a one-off decision. According to the NGO `Frack Off`, several other applications for exploratory shale gas drilling could be subjected to the same procedure in the future www.frack-off.org.uk/locations .



[1] Jill Morgan `Sustainability and stakeholder participation: shale gas extraction in the United Kingdom` in John C Dernbach and James R May (eds.) `Shale Gas and the Future of Energy Law and Policy for Sustainability` (Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, 2016) 150 (hereinafter: Morgan); Greg Gordon and Aileen McHarg and John Paterson `Energy Law in the United Kingdom` in Martha M Roggenkamp et al. (eds.) `Energy Law in Europe` 3rd edition (Oxford University Press, Oxford 2016) paragraph 14.30 (hereinafter: Gordon/McHarg/Paterson).
[2] UK Government `Local Councils to Receive Millions in Business Rates from Shale Gas Developments` 13 January 2014 available at: http://www.gov.uk/government/news/local-councils-to-receive-millions-in-business-rates-from-shale-gas-developments  [accessed 10/June/2016].
[3] Gordon/McHarg/Paterson paragraph 14.34.
[4] Josh Halliday, The Guardian `North Yorkshire Council backs First UK Fracking Test for Five Years` available at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/23/north-yorkshire-council-backs-first-uk-fracking-tests-for-five-years?CMP=fb_gu [accessed 10/June/2016].
[5] Gordon/McHarg/Paterson paragraph 14.34.