Energetic solutions for a rapidly evolving sector
Northern Ireland faces a number of significant challenges in the energy sector. These include meeting ambitious renewable energy targets over the next decade; delivering a secure and reliable energy supply infrastructure in the face of rising energy costs; and, further liberalisation of the domestic and all-island energy market. Of course, these challenges also prevent significant opportunities right across the board, from the development of small-scale renewable projects to acquisition of energy utilities. Recognising the importance of this diverse and evolving sector, Tughans has developed the expertise to enable clients to take advantage of the opportunities that continue to arise.
The renewables and alternative energy team draws on the experience of lawyers from across the firm to provide a seamless service for businesses operating within the energy sector. Our team advises on matters as diverse as mergers and acquisitions of energy businesses, the property, planning and environmental aspects of renewable energy developments, funding for energy projects, as well as intellectual property and contractual issues arising in the development of new technologies and processes. Our team also advises on matters such as the regulatory aspects of energy supply and power purchase agreements for new generating capacity.
What we do
- Energy Markets Regulation and Policy Advice
Operators within energy markets are strictly regulated by a network of legislation, codes, policy and contractual agreements, closely scrutinised by the Utilities Regulator. EU legislation also acts as a significant driver for regulation, for example through the requirements for market development and liberalisation contained in the Third Energy Package. Our team provides advice to businesses, including energy utilities and generators on key operational issues within this regulatory framework.
- Advisory Lawyers for Renewable Energy and Infrastructure Development
Given its importance in terms of the need for significant generation capacity to be developed over the next decade, a particular focus of our energy team is renewable energy. Our team advises on a wide variety of renewable and alternative energy generation projects, including wind, biomass and energy from waste. Our lawyers are experienced in issues that arise in successfully bringing such projects into operation, including site assembly and acquisition; obtaining planning permission and other consents; securing funding and maximising fiscal incentives (for example through the Renewables Obligation or Feed-in Tariffs); and, procuring grid connection and negotiating power purchase agreements.
- Commercial Contracts and Intellectual Property Advice for Alternative Energy Companies
As energy technology rapidly develops, opportunities can arise to capitalise on developing markets, for example in smart grid and smart metering, or emerging renewable technologies. In recent times we have seen significant growth in collaborative networks to bring new energy and cleantech products and services to market. Our team is experienced in providing sound commercial advice on, for example, protecting intellectual property rights where required and formalising contractual arrangements between members of such networks – but without stifling the innovation that these networks create.
- Mergers and Acquisitions/Corporate
The firm has in recent years established itself in advising on mergers and acquisitions and funding for companies in the energy sector. The work is diverse and ranges from carrying out due diligence and providing regulatory advice in relation to large Northern Irish utilities to dealing with successive funding rounds for clean-tech companies, both start-up and established.
Energy & Renewables Legal Advice: Our Service
The broad sweep of issues arising in the energy sector inevitably requires a diverse range of legal experts
to work together to deliver commercially-focused outcomes. Our energy team is well versed in collaborating across our areas of expertise, whether that expertise relates to corporate, property, environmental, banking or intellectual property. Our collaborative approach, merging specific energy-related expertise across our specialist practice areas allows us to provide unrivalled service to our energy clients.
Partners Andrew Ryan and John-George Willis lead the Energy Team. As head of the Environment and Planning Team, Andrew is recognised for his expertise in planning, environment and regulatory issues arising in energy projects, with a long track-record in renewable energy and infrastructure development. John-George Willis independently is recognised for his experience at leading corporate teams in the firm on mergers and acquisitions and funding rounds for businesses within the energy sector ranging from green-tech start-up to large utilities.
Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland are at the forefront of many developments in energy markets, particularly for renewable energy, and in the next decade will see further liberalisation of the market and the introduction of new technologies such as the smart grid. Our energy team is actively involved in a diverse range of projects and has the breadth of experience to meet the varied demands of businesses operating in this rapidly evolving sector.