Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Shale Gas Moratorium in Germany - Wintershall abandons research in North-Rhine Westphalia

In the wake of the Brexit referendum and the European Football Championship, the German parliament resolved a ban on shale gas extraction by early summer 2016. The ban went into force in February 2017. Now a first, controversial, decision in the German federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia not to prolong an existing authorization of the company Wintershall is the first regulatory decision, based on the ban.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Gazprom and the EU are Reaching a Deal - A Pyrrhic Victory for Central and Eastern Europe?

By Gijs Kreeft, PhD researcher at the Groningen Centre of Energy Law

Five and a half years after raiding Gazprom’s offices, the competition authorities of the European Union, namely Margrethe Vestager (Commissioner in charge of competition policy) announced on  13th March that a deal with the Russian state-owned energy giant in an antitrust investigation was reached. The deal seems to usher in an era of détente between Gazprom and the European Commission and may constitute a next step towards the approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project by the Commission later this year.


Monday, 13 March 2017

Final Part 3 Energy Perspective On the Dutch Elections – Where is the Discussion on Energy Transition and Climate Change?


In a series of blogs, Ceciel Nieuwenhout and Gijs Kreeft, both PhD researchers at the Groningen Centre of Energy Law, will expand on energy related topics which play a role in the campaign towards the upcoming Dutch parliament elections of March 15. See the first blog in this series for an introduction on the Dutch political landscape.
As the Netherlands are, to a large extend, located below sea-level, one would expect that climate change is taken very serious here. However, unlike other low-lying coastal areas, in the Netherlands the effects of climate change are seen as ‘manageable’.[1] Perhaps this is why climate change and the energy transition are not so much of an issue during the current election debates. This blog post will elaborate upon Dutch obligations with regard to climate action and the energy transition, what political and legislative initiatives currently exist, what the parties’ stances are for the coming elections and why climate change is not more prominently covered during election debates.

Friday, 10 March 2017

An Energy Perspective On the Dutch Elections – Part 2: What to do with coal-fired power plants in the Netherlands?


In a series of blogs, Ceciel Nieuwenhout and Gijs Kreeft, both PhD researchers at the Groningen Centre of Energy Law, will expand on energy related topics, which play a role in the campaign towards the upcoming Dutch parliament elections of March 15.
This is the second blog. For the first blog, which also includes a general overview of the Dutch political landscape, click http://energyandclimatelaw.blogspot.de/2017/03/an-energy-perspective-on-dutch_6.html
The Netherlands hosts ten coal-fired power plants. Three of these have only just been commissioned in 2015/2016 and are state-of-the-art installations. However, there are a few older plants, which were built during the 1980s and 1990s. Currently a public debate is on its way about whether or not the coal-fired power plants in the Netherlands need to be closed. In recent years the oldest and least efficient three installations were already closed. Now, the debate focuses on the premature closure of the two remaining older power plants from 1994 and 1995 and the three newest power plants.
In the current government, the topic lead to a clash between the Minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp, of the Conservative Liberals (VVD) and the State Secretary of Infrastructure and Environment, Sharon Dijksma, of the Labour Party (PvdA).[1] Kamp is against early closure of the 1994 and 1995 installations, whereas Dijksma intends to close these in 2020 in order to reach the climate objectives of the Netherlands. In the end, they decided to postpone the decision and leave this to the new government.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Energy and Climate Law at Groningen Among Top 10 Energy LLMs in the World

According to the website www.LLM-Guide.com, a leading directory of Master of Laws (LL.M.) programmes, the LLM in Energy and Climate Law at the University of Groningen is among the 10 best energy law programmes in the world. Today LLM-Guide.com launched a new Top 10 list of LLM programmes, which features Groningen´s LLM in Energy and Climate Law https://llm-guide.com/lists/speciality/top-llm-programs-for-energy-law.


Monday, 6 March 2017

An Energy Perspective On the Dutch Elections – Part 1: Gas Production in Groningen

In a series of blogs, Ceciel Nieuwenhout and Gijs Kreeft, both PhD researchers at the Groningen Centre of Energy Law, will expand on energy related topics, which play a role in the campaign towards the upcoming Dutch parliament elections of March 15.


The Dutch Political Landscape
At the start of this series of blogs on energy related topics in this Dutch parliamentary election cycle, it is useful to give an overview of how the Dutch political landscape currently looks like. In total 28 parties are competing for the favour of the voters. Obviously it goes well beyond the scope of this blog to discuss the energy agendas of all parties. Instead we will limit ourselves to the position of the parties which, based on prognosis, are expected to play a role in the formation of a new cabinet.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Building Insulation - scientific findings suggest that current building laws are outdated

A long-time study on improving energy efficiency of buildings came to a surprising result in Munich last week. More than 7 years ago the Munich building society GEWOFAG fitted 6 exactly identical multi-storey building with various different energy saving technologies to find out which was the most efficient. The stunning result: installing a simple mechanism that automatically switches off radiators in a room when the windows are opened is more efficient, cheaper and almost maintenance free, compared to more traditional approaches like ramping up building insulation. What are the indications of this research for building laws?