Energy law and utilities | Fieldfisher
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Energy law and utilities

The current energy sector is developing at a rapid pace and becoming technically more complex, entailing a wide range of legal risks, opportunities and challenges. The energy and utilities sector interacts with various legal areas and thus requires a multidisciplinary approach when giving advice or legal support.

The acquired expertise can be classified into the following domains:

  • Regulatory issues
  • Energy contracts
  • Advice to new entrants
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Construction and permitting
  • Greenhouse gas emissions-related mechanisms
  • Public procurement
  • Litigation

Energy Expertise

We are widely recognized in the sector for having contributed to the implementation of both the Electricity and Gas Directives in federal law and regional laws in Belgium, as well as in other European member states. These works involve the drafting of national and European project laws as well as secondary legislation. We are involved in and following up the implementation of the EU Clean Energy Package for the coming years (eg as to local energy consumption opportunities).

We also assist clients in the drafting, assessment, amendment and negotiation of specific fully-fledged energy contracts. We take into consideration the latest regulatory developments and legal doctrine while setting up your energy contract.

We offer our expertise in both regulated and non-regulated energy contracts. Our expertise regarding regulated contracts includes negotiation on connection and access contracts, transit contracts or access responsibility contracts. 

Specific commercial energy contracts vary from gas, heat and electricity supply, general conditions and term sheets, to O&M/BOT contracts for energy projects, and to high standard energy contracts including Corporate PPAs, tolling agreements, wheeling agreements, direct delivery and connection agreements, and demand response agreements.

Members of the Energy and Utilities Team also assist major players on entering the European or specific Belgian electricity and gas markets. 

Achievements include working on competition issues of long term gas contracts, model electricity supply contracts, REMIT obligations, TOP clauses, multi-site contracts, green certificates and default supplying mechanisms.

Moreover, we have assisted major players in their projects for the construction of new power plants (both fossil fuelled and on the basis of renewable sources of energy). 

This work involves both the preliminary contacts with regulatory authorities and permitting administrations, as well as the development of adapted corporate and contractual (EPC, O&M, financial) mechanisms within the regulated framework of network access.

We also assist multiple public authorities (municipalities, provinces, Regions) in public procurement for energy-related projects regarding renewable energy generation, green energy purchasing and energy savings projects.

As we have a profound understanding of the regulatory framework and the processes involved, we are able to combine our know-how with expertise in dispute resolution. Hence, we are well-placed to represent our clients in national and international arbitration or administrative proceedings in all instances before specialized courts.

Noticeable deals and highlights:

  • We advised one of Europe’s leading electricity and gas companies in relation to its power plant regarding the Belgian Government’s subsidy mechanism for gas power plants for electricity security of supply. 
  • Our team assisted in the contractual arrangement of large and small battery storage in the Belgian energy market. 
  • We assisted a major Swiss energy supplier on the Belgian part of its market integration as a supplier in France and the Benelux, specifically in various regulated matters such as the positioning towards the new federal gas framework, and reviewing trading and supply agreements. 
  • The team supported a large international solar company on the purchase of various industrial photovoltaic installations in the Walloon and Flemish Region. 
  • We provided strategic advice to a petrochemical company in the context of obtaining permits and subsidies for the construction of a hydrogen production project. 
  • We assisted multiple provinces with contractual and public procurement issues (preparation of documents, assistance in procedure, specific contracts) related to financing and cooperation structures with Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), energy production, cooperatives and local energy communities. 
  • Our team also offered expertise on an International arbitration (ICAC) involving an American company and a Russian company, relating to a commercial dispute.