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Showing posts from 2016

OPEC Decision to cut production - legal background

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On 30 November 2016 OPEC held its 171st meeting in Vienna, Austria. It decided, for the first time since 2008, to cut-down on its oil output. Over the coming 6 months the cartel wants to produce 1.2 million barrels of oil less per day, compared to current output. The new limit on total OPEC output shall be 32.5 million barrel per day. Implementation of the new deal shall start on 1 January 2017. (http://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/press_room/3912.htm) In this short piece some background information on the decision and  its legal basis is provided.

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.

President Elect Donald Trump - Blackbox Energy?

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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.

Germany is fundamentally changing its Renewable Energy Law

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

Is UK shale gas policy about to change?

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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/M…

Balticconnector gets Go-Ahead - improving energy security or waste of subsidies?

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The European Commission announced on Friday 21 October that a first bi-directional gas pipeline will be built between Finland and Estonia. According to the EU, the offshore gas-pipeline between the two states will end `gas isolation` of Finland by connecting it to the continental European network and increasing the security of gas supply and solidarity in the region, see: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-16-3476_en.htm




Although the pipeline will be build by the Estonian TSO Elering http://gaas.elering.ee/en/balticconnector/, the EU is footing 75 per cent  of the bill, because the project would not be commercially viable without massive EU support. The money is coming from the EU`s `Connecting Europe Facility Energy (CEF-Energy), http://ec.europa.eu/inea/en/connecting-europe-facility/cef-energy.  According to  the EU, Finland is going to profit the most, as its current `gas isolation` from the European market would be tackled and its energy security improved: http://europa.e…

Germany ceases Gas-Imports from the Netherlands by 2029

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The German government decided to end the current practice of importing Dutch gas by 1 October 2029, according to the German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur  http://www.bundesnetzagentur.de/cln_1421/DE/Sachgebiete/ElektrizitaetundGas/Verbraucher/NetzanschlussUndMessung/UmstellungGasbeschaffenheit/UmstellungGasqualitaet-node.html(German language version only). This decision requires a switch of the German gas infrastructure away from the use of Low calorific Gas (L-Gas). Currently almost 5 million gas customers in Germany are using L-Gas, whereas all  other German customers are being supplied with High calorific Gas (H-Gas) from Norway, Russia and Great Britain. The use of L-Gas is still widespread in the German state of Lower Saxony (where the biggest part of German domestic  gas production is taking place) and along the border with the Netherlands.
According to the German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur gas production in the Netherlands and Germany is in steep decline and a swi…

Urgenda Foundation v The Netherlands (C/09/456689 / HA ZA 13-1396) - Case Comment

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Much has been written about the infamous Urgenda-case, in which the Urgenda Foundation successfully challenged the Dutch government to adopt more stringent climate policies. http://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl/inziendocument?id=ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2015:7196 For the first time a court forced a government to amend its climate change goals. The district court of The Hague found the current government`s approach insufficient to reduce the Dutch share in global emissions. The appeal of the government is still pending.
I wrote a little piece on one particular aspect of the verdict, the interplay between the precautionary principle and climate change policies.

Almost 200 countries agree to ban the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced earlier today that nearly 200 countries struck a landmark deal  to reduce the emission of a powerful greenhouse gas, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), in a move that could prevent up to 0.5 degrees celsius of global warming by the end of this century, see: http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentID=27086&ArticleID=36283&l=en

UNEP claims that:
`The amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer endorsed in Kigali today is the single largest contribution the world has made towards keeping the global temperature rise "well below" 2 degrees Celsius, a target agreed at the Paris climate conference last year.
"Last year in Paris, we promised to keep the world safe from the worst effects of climate change. Today, we are following through on that promise," said UN Environment chief Erik Solheim.
"This is about much more than the ozone layer and HFCs. It …

Livestream ICSID Case Vattenfall v Germany (ICSID Case No. ARB/12/12)

The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) is currently engaged in hearings in the case Vattenfall v Germany. ICSID is providing a livestream of the hearings: https://icsid.worldbank.org/apps/ICSIDWEB/Pages/News.aspx?CID=211&ListID=74f1e8b5-96d0-4f0a-8f0c-2f3a92d84773&variation=en_us
This arbitration is concerned with the aftermaths of Germany´s decision to phase out nuclear power. The company Vattenfall argues that the way in which the German government implemented that decision amounts to expropriation. The case is primed to be groundbreaking and will set an important precedence on the leeway of a state to phase out nuclear power and the resulting financial damages for companies.

New Article ´Shale Gas Extraction, Precaution and Prevention: A Conversation on Regulatory Responses´

My colleague Leonie Reins and me just wrote an article on shale gas extraction and its regulation under the precautionary and the preventive principle. The article may be accessed via: http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1TogH7tZ6ZbhGy
Shale gas in the EU and its Member States faces increasing attention from a regulatory perspective. Questions about the role of law regarding the development of shale gas extraction in Europe are being asked. The role of law within science, as Laurie et al. suggest, involves an important decision: “whether the law is an enabler or a prohibitor of technologies” (Laurie, G., Harmon, S.H., Arzuaga, F., ‘Foresighting Futures: Law, New Technologies, and the Challenges of Regulating for Uncertainty’ 4 Law, Innovation and Technology 1 (2012), 1–33, at 10), At best, the law should promote the development of a technology without unduly compromising the protection of society and the environment from consequences of uncertainties and potential threats of an as…

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Welcome to this blog on energy and climate law. Its aim is to share new developments in the said fields and to make knowledge on energy and climate law accessible. Please feel free to comment and/or get in touch.