Guest Blog: Energy, renewables, and law in Europe

02 Sep 2015

Next week sees a unique conference that will make sense of legal complexity in the energy sector thrown up by the rise of renewables and recent EU policy change. Legal academics Peter Cameron, Angus Johnston and Raphael Heffron preview the discussions.

In a two day event next Thursday and Friday, the first meeting of the UK Energy Law and Policy Association will explore two distinct themes: (1) current trends in settling the growing number of energy related disputes, particularly in renewable energy, and (2) the relationship between the internal energy market and the proposed Energy Union.

The driving force behind the event is our diverse perspective and experiences as three leading academic lawyers from Dundee, Oxford and Queen Mary, University of London. Our idea is to bring together practitioners of law, whether in companies, government or international organisations, with academics interested in energy studies, especially in law and economics. University College, Oxford will provide a neutral ground for them to discuss controversial and complex issues and how they might be resolved efficiently and amicably.

Among the themes in Day One are Trends and Issues in European Energy Disputes. This session will be led by a panel that includes a leading arbitrator, Kaj Hober; a representative from the Energy Charter Secretariat, Dr. Matteo Barra; a practitioner and counsel in disputes, Jeff Sullivan, and a leading corporate general counsel, Stephen Douglas. Our panelists will review the panorama of disputes from gas to renewable energy and consider national and EU forums as well as international ones.

Peter Rees QC will then lead a panel of lawyers and industry representatives to find out how they, as consumers and funders of arbitration and litigation, find the current options available to them in energy disputes. Kathleen Paisley will provide a Brussels perspective, while Suzanne Rab and Rob Wilson will draw on their first-hand experience of proceedings; Nikos Lavranos will explore the idea of setting up a special investment court.

A third session will examine case studies of renewable energy disputes, focusing on arbitration under the Energy Charter Treaty with first hand insights from Ken Fleuriet; and on feed-in tariff disputes in Central and East Europe (with Konstadin Sirleshtov). Comments will be made by James Watson on solar power issues and Zoltan Gyulay on energy operators’ views.

In the final session on hot topics, Leo Flynn will deliver a view on litigation at the EU Courts on state aid in energy, with a comment by Silke Goldberg. In a second hot topic, Dr. Min Shi will outline the main elements of best practice for quantification of damages. Oxera will sponsor a dinner at the end of the day.

Professor Peter Cameron is Director of the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law at the University of Dundee. Professor Angus Johnston is at the University of Oxford. Dr. Raphael Heffron is at the Energy and Natural Resources Law Institute, Queen Mary, University of London.

The conference runs in Oxford next Thursday and Friday, 10-11 September. You can find out more about the conference and the UK Energy Law and Policy Association on their website.