Tuesday, 10 April 2018

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

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.

Friday, 30 March 2018

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

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.

Monday, 26 March 2018

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

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 party access at 50% of the pipeline’s capacity. Besides these recent measures, the Commission is in a process of looking beyond 2020 by exploring what long-term regulatory reforms are required to improve the functioning of EU gas markets. Part of this forward-looking process was the commissioning of a so called “Quo Vadis Study” on the EU Gas Regulatory Framework. After a long period of consultations and stakeholder evaluations, this report, drafted by EY and REKK, has now been made available to the public.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

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

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.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

E.On and RWE are Reshaping the German Electricity Market

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.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

German Federal Administrative Court Approves Of Diesel Car Ban - Cases BVerwG 7 C 26.16 BVerwG 7 C 30.17

On Tuesday 27 February 2018, the German Federal Administrative court largely approved of measures taken in Duesseldorf and Stuttgart to ban Diesel cars from driving in particular areas of the cities. Earlier, lower administrative courts obliged the federal governments of North-Rhine Westphalia and Baden Wuertemberg to change their respective air quality plans, which feature measures to lower the NO2 concentration in ambient air in big cities. The two states appealed the decisions, but now lost in front of the Federal Administrative Court. The court pointed out that bans for Diesel cars in particular areas of German cities have to be implemented by the governments, but that such bans have to be proportionate.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) on Stricter Duties For Suppliers of Last Resort - Case Comment BGH VIII ZR 148/17

The German Federal Court of Justice (BGH)  recently ruled on the responsibilities of electricity companies that are acting as `suppliers of last resort´ towards German electricity customers. Until now their responsibilities stopped at the meter in the house of customers. This is about to change in certain cases. The judgement can have repercussions for the appraisal of supplier of last resort-duties in other European jurisdictions.