The energy industry...

The energy industry covers all industries that involve the production and sale of energy, including its manufacturing, refining and distribution. Think gas, electric, coal, oil, gas, wind, solar, hydropower, waste, water, energy etc!

The following industries are examples of sub-categories of the energy industry:

  • fossil fuel which includes petroleum, coal and the natural gas industries 

  • electrical power including electricity generation and electric power distribution

  • nuclear power

  • renewable energy including alternative energy and sustainable energy such as hydroelectric power, wind power and solar power 

  • infrastructure

The energy sector contributes £28 billion to Britain's economy. 

What do the lawyers do?!

Lawyers that specialise in the energy sector will have specialist knowledge in the sector but focus on a different aspect of the project lifecycle based on their specific legal discipline specialism. The following are legal disciplines that can have an energy focus

  • commercial 

  • construction

  • planning

  • real estate

  • environmental 

  • litigation 

The following are examples of types of projects that can arise in the energy sector:

  • consents and planning applications for energy, power and utilities projects

  • joint venture agreements - where two or more organisations such as a developer and local authority enter into an agreement to do a project together (a development of properties)  - there'll be terms within this agreement that will deal with the energy elements of the project

  • installation of solar panels on business or residential premises 

  • energy procurement contracts

  • energy regulation 

  • operational advice 

  • mergers and acquisitions in the sector

  • community energy and ownership 

  • site assembly of energy, power and utilities projects 

  • PFI/PF2

  • PPP

  • electricity transmission and distribution 

Disputes (so matters deal with by the ligation team) in this sector can include: 

  • breach of contract

  • energy regulation challenges 

  • health and safety regulation challenges 

  • insolvency

  • debt recovery 

Clients in this sector...

Clients will include:

  • developers

  • sellers and buyers (in M&A transactions)

  • operators and non-operators

  • co-venturers

  • EPC contractors

  • funders and project sponsors 

  • investors (financial and passive)

  • debt funders (banks, bond arrangers, ECAs, DFIs and multilaterals)

  • suppliers

  • engineers 

  • local authorities 

Example legal cases

VWV acted for contractors in pursuing or defending claims including claims in respect of defective cladding at a nuclear power station and a fire at a waste to energy plant. 

Mills & Reeve acted on the Lower Kihansi Hyrdo Power Project in Tanzania which provides 40% of the country's energy requirements. The project was a $275 million construction project which involved Tanzanian gOVERNMENT AND World Bank funding, Chinese and Italian contractors and Norweigian engineers.  

Burges Salmon advised Marks and Spencer plc on the 6 MW Castle Donnington rooftop solar project.

Law firms to consider...