Posts

German Atomic Energy Act Amendment Illegal - Case Comment BVerfG 1 BvR 1550/19

Image
 The German Federal Constitutional Court decided yesterday that the way in which compensation under the Atomic Energy Amendment Act of 10 July 2018 has been organized infringes the German constitution. The court was particulary concerned about implications of the Act towards the right to property, protected under article 14 German constutution. Moreover, the court ruled that due to formal issues the amendment never entered into force. This blogpost discusses the facts of the case, provides background information and provides an outlook on implications of the judgement.

Biden`s Energy and Climate Plans - A Legal Appraisal

Image
President-elect Joe Biden pursued three main energy and climate missions during his campaign. First, he promised to re-join the Paris Agreement on `the first day in office´, second, he wants to embark on an ambitious phase-out programme for fossil fuels and third he promised to re-join the Iran Nuclear Deal. But is all of that possible from a legal point of view? This blogpost looks at the three cornerstones of his energy and climate strategy and assesses what the world can expect in the coming four years. 

Modernizing the Energy Charter Treaty - EU wants to stop investment protection for fossil fuels

Image
For almost two year now the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) is under revision and negotiations shall finish in 2021. The EU now ratched up its position on the reform of the ECT during recent negotiation rounds. The aim of the EU is to try to stop fossil fuel companies suing states over climate action. This shall, according to a leaked document, be pursuit by fundamental changes to the investment chapter and to the Investor State Dispute Settlement MEchanism of the ECT (ISDS). While earlier positions of the EU already pointed towards that direction, a new European Comission proposal for ECT reform now concretizes that coal, oil and gas investments shall be removed from the list of energy investments protected under the treaty. If approved, this change would come into force in ten years time.

The Energy Transition in the Built Environment – Towards Positive Energy Districts

Image
    By Ceciel Nieuwenhout, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Groningen Centre of Energy Law and Sustainability; Lead Author of WP 1 T1.2 Report to the H2020 POCITYF-project A substantial part of energy in the EU is consumed by households , for powering electric appliances and for heating and cooling. This presents an opportunity to reduce the consumption of (fossil) energy, with the built environment becoming a key-sector in the energy transition. Buildings, both houses and buildings that are used for other purposes, can be retrofitted and isolated to reduce the energy consumption (energy efficiency) and they can be equipped with small-scale renewable energy production units, such as solar cells (energy production). Combined, these measures may make a building “energy positive”, when the production of energy in a building is higher than its consumption. This energy can also be shared over a larger area, creating so-called “positive energy districts”. This blogpost first explains what posi

European Climate Law voted in by European Parliament

Image
Yesterday and today the European Parliament approved of the central backbone legislation of the European Green Deal, the so called European Climate Law . The initiative came from the European Commission and it is undergoing the ordinary legislative procedure, under which the European Parliament and its Committees first have to form an opinion, before negotiations with the European Council shall then result in a final law. The European Parliament is well know for being slightly more ambitious in terms of climate action than the European Commission, with yesterday`s vote being no exception. This blog entry takes a look at the main points of the proposed European Climate Law, the European Parliament`s take on it and the likely prospects of the law.

German Renewable Energy Act (EEG Novelle 2021) - Considerable Changes Proposed

Image
It has been the central backbone of Germany`s energy turnaround, the Renewable Energy Act (Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz). Enacted in 2001, it survived several amendments and revisions, changing from a feed-in tariff regime to a, specific German, feed-in premium modell. The current EEG stems from 2017 and by that time some fundamental changes were made to the system, as discussed on this blog . Now the german government decided to, once again, amend the EEG to accelerate the faltering energy turnaround. The new EEG amendments (so called EEG Novelle 2021 ) shall come into force on 1 January 2021. By 2030 65 % of electricity in Germany shall come from renewable sources and by 2050 the share will be 100%. This blog entry critically reflects upon the main amendments to the EEG that the government proposes and identifies four crunchpoints.

Greening the `European Green Deal´ - Ambitious or Out of Touch?

Image
Until 2030 the EU shall emit 55 % less Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG), compared to 1990 levels. This is the aim of a new communication reflecting Ursula von der Leyen`s State of the Union-Speech but also plans by `Green New Deal´-Commissioner Frans Timmermans to sharpen the `European Green Deal´ of the European Commission. But given considerable issues with details of the plan, question marks are looming. This blog entry is taking a critical look at the new, ambitious plans of the European Commission and analyzes the underlying document that has been launched yesterday.