Energy, Infrastructure & Natural Resources Belfast: Experience
Our energy lawyers regularly advise on the following areas:
- Northern Ireland and EU energy regulation
- SEM and capacity market regulation
- Completion and price control issues
- Construction disputes
- Energy regulatory disputes
- Project finance
- M&A and joint ventures
- Battery storage
- Power purchase agreements
- EPC contracts, turbine supply and energy sector construction agreements
- Electricity and gas markets and trading
- Electricity and gas transmission, distribution and interconnectors
- Utilities and semi-state regulation and corporate governance
- Energy sector property, such as wind farm and solar leases, pipeline and cable wayleaves and easements
- Natural gas pipelines and interconnectors, including necessary wayleaves
- Planning permission and applications
- Environmental permits and health and safety regulation
- Energy efficiency projects
- Electric vehicle charging
In the last decade our team has advised on the acquisition, financing and development of over 1GW of on-shore wind in Northern Ireland. We work with major developers, utilities, funders and investors on the full life cycle of these projects. We have taken projects all the way from initial consenting, through financing and construction to disposal.
Our team is currently advising on the next stage of this sector as developers look to decommission and repower legacy wind farms ready to meet the new climate change targets set by the NI Assembly.
Northern Ireland currently has no operational off-shore wind farms, but we believe that this will change quickly following an informal target from the Northern Ireland Executive for 1GW of off-shore wind by 2030. We are working with the first pioneering developers in this space and helping to shape what is certain to become a critical industry in the future.
We have been immersed in the solar sector since its inception in Northern Ireland. We believe that our lawyers have worked on every large scale solar project to be constructed to date. As self-generation continues to become a key solution to the energy crisis and the pressure put on transmission and distribution, our experts will continue to lead the way in this vital growth area.
Battery storage and flexible generation
We advised on the first grid scale battery on the island of Ireland back in 2016 and have continued to advise in the sector ever since, including on the first "flex" power purchase agreement in Northern Ireland. Complementary to battery storage is the use of demand side units and aggregated generators units in the wholesale electricity market. We advise owners and operators of DSU's and AGU's on commercial and regulatory issues and alongside battery storage consider this to be a key enabler of future renewable energy development.
Green gas and hydrogen
We are the most experienced legal advisor on utility scale anaerobic digestion in Northern Ireland (and Ireland). We have advised the largest AD plants on commercial, regulatory, construction and litigation matters, as well has having acted on the acquisition or disposal of more projects in this sector than any other firm.
Complementary to this we are also the leading adviser on green gas, having worked on the first gas-to-grid project in Northern Ireland and also the first wind-to-hydrogen project. As natural gas suppliers continue to work towards net zero goals, green gas will become increasing important.
As Northern Ireland moves towards electric vehicles, charging infrastructure is becoming increasingly important. We helped to establish the NI Electric Vehicle Association which continues to advocate for increased charging points. We also advise pioneering developers who are working to build out the charging network in Northern Ireland, along with transmission and distribution operators who are reinforcing the network to cope with demand.
We have the largest utilities practice in Northern Ireland led by our regulation team who advise electricity transmission and distribution operators, gas pipeline owners, power stations, water and telecoms. Our expertise dates back to the privatisation of Northern Ireland Electricity and its sale to ESB, alongside the sale of the system operator SONI to Eirgrid and the later acquisition of Airtricity by SSE. We also assisted firmus with the opening of the Belfast gas market to competition, bringing choice to many gas consumers for the first time.
More recently, our energy team advised on the creation of the Northern Ireland gas network operator, the body which coordinates all of the transmission pipeline owners. We have advised on the operation of the subsea gas interconnector to Scotland, the construction of the Gas to the West pipeline and the acquisition of the largest gas distribution network in the country.
We continue to advise utilities and semi-state entities across a wide variety of areas and have vast expertise in representing them in their interactions with regulators and government.