Energy & Infrastructure
Gleiss Lutz’s energy practice has long been widely recognised as a market leader. We know the industry and the relevant legal issues. Our clients include German and foreign energy suppliers, grid operators, major municipal utilities, international investors in infrastructure, energy-intensive industries as well as public bodies. Our services range across all key issues in the energy sector at the moment, such as power generation, renewable energies, grid expansion and operation, and energy trading. Providing legal advice to the energy sector requires an interdisciplinary approach, taking in not just energy industry law in the narrow sense but also environmental, planning and construction law, banking and finance, state aid and antitrust law, and, in connection with transactions, corporate law. As a full service firm we are able to draw on recognised experts from these fields to deliver top-level legal advice as well as practical and creative solutions.
“One of the leading law firms for energy”
The complex nature of power plant construction projects makes it necessary to draw on know-how from a wide range of legal areas to ensure successful completion. With our outstanding public law practice we make sure that the necessary planning and permission procedures are carried out effectively and efficiently.
We also advise clients on the various issues that arise in connection with power plant construction, such as regarding emissions trading, investment protection, and mining – an area with growing significance when it comes to carbon capture and storage, natural gas storage facilities and fracking. We also have longstanding experience in providing extensive guidance on the legal framework for the use of nuclear power in Germany. This includes counselling clients on the regulatory aspects of operating, decommissioning and dismantling nuclear power plants, as well as on legal issues relating to the disposal and storage of radioactive material.
Renewables play a central role in the energy transition. In addition to major technical challenges, companies face numerous legal hurdles when creating generation capacities in this area.
We assist clients not only with permit procedures and project financing, but also advise on other key aspects such as grid connection, power feed-ins, direct marketing and financial support (“market premium” and “tender procedure”) under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG 2014/2017). We regularly help deliver (onshore and offshore) wind, solar, and biomass projects, in each case creating and implementing the optimal legal structure. In this area with its frequent changes, we keep a close eye on the current statutory framework.
Grid operation and expansion
We advise on all aspects of German and European regulatory law – from issues of unbundling and third-party access, to tariffs and congestion management mechanisms. We also represent clients in these and other matters vis-à-vis regulatory authorities and before German and European courts.
We also support our clients in the on- and offshore grid expansion that is essential to the success of the energy transition, assisting them not only in obtaining planning approval but also in negotiating recently introduced instruments prior to the actual permit procedure. These instruments (such as scenario frameworks and grid development plans) throw up numerous new legal issues.
Gleiss Lutz advises and represents companies in all energy supply chain matters. On the procurement side, clients frequently have to deal with civil law disputes and antitrust issues.
Suppliers in the retail market must often bring their contracts in line with general terms and conditions. We also defend clients where they are being investigated for excessive pricing.
Trading in energy and CO2 certificates is subject to certain special legal requirements. In OTC trading, for instance, drafting relevant agreements (such as EFET agreements) requires specialist legal knowledge and experience.
In addition, special statutory requirements on the integrity and transparency of the wholesale energy market (such as “REMIT”) need to be complied with. Capital market-based trading is likewise governed by special rules and regulations. In all of these areas, we help clients deal with the relevant legal issues.
Implementing projects in the energy sector means structuring and entering into a large number of contractual relationships, e.g. with suppliers of components, providers of building and construction services, transmission system operators and other project stakeholders.
This involves not only identifying the customary project risks and ensuring that the individual project participants are protected, but also taking the typical requirements of financing banks into account. Our longstanding experience with complex large-scale projects in the energy sector makes us the perfect partner when it comes to drafting and negotiating agreements for our clients.
We assist clients in national and cross-border M&A transactions in the energy sector.
To this end we advise strategic investors and financial investors on the acquisition or sale of energy providers, stakes in conventional power plants, wind farms and other renewable energy facilities or networks – whether in the project development or operational phase – energy providers on restructurings and the sale of business divisions as well as on other energy-related transactions.
Disputes in the energy sector
We advise clients comprehensively in disputes in the energy sector. These involve, for example, enforcing and defending claims from energy supply contracts, issues concerning EEG surcharges (in particular under regular and capacity leases), and the judicial review of regulatory measures.
Our clients include energy-intensive undertakings and energy suppliers, as well as power plant, storage facility, grid operators and project developers. Our broad industry knowledge and market-leading dispute resolution expertise allows us to respond to the challenges our clients face in a dynamic market environment, and provide the strategic solutions they need – whether in disputes before national courts, in arbitration proceedings or in out-of-court negotiations.
We have extensive experience in energy-related domestic and international project financings, and provide clients with comprehensive advice on all aspects of project funding.
Our project finance team advises financial institutions and financial services providers, private equity investors, leasing and insurance companies and large enterprises, as well as issuers and investment banks in their role as underwriters through all stages of the project finance transaction – from drafting and negotiating the relevant project and concession contracts to preparing the financial documentation – as well as on a wide range of financings, such as loan-based financing and capital market instruments.
We assist clients in a broad range of national and international projects. Our international network of leading local law firms enables us to cover all major jurisdictions around the world.
This gives us the flexibility to put together handpicked teams best suited to the task at hand.