Renewable power and heat generation, along with renewable transport, is a key strategy area for the UK government as it strives to meet the targets imposed by the European Union and international treaties on renewable energy and emissions reduction. The UK aims to increase the amount of energy it produces from such sources from 1% of its total energy use in 2005 to 15% by 2020. With this in mind, this is a very fast-moving sector with a new strategy, consultation or piece of legislation announced seemingly every week.

Not only does our Renewables, Energy & Resources Group keep on top of these developments itself, it also ensures that clients with interests in the sector are kept up to date, either through general updates and bulletins using our Reach system or by client-specific updates and training. Because we know our clients so well, we can keep you informed in the manner that best suits your needs.

Walker Morris has extensive experience in the renewables sector. Highlights include:

  • Wind: We are advising wind farm developers on all aspects (from site selection and acquisition to turbine supply and grid connection) of a number of projects across the UK, ranging from single turbine sites to sites with a significant number of turbines. We advised Peel Holdings in respect of a major development at Scout Moor in Lancashire which included advising in relation to a substantial wind farm which was ultimately successful following a planning appeal.
  • Biomass: We are currently advising a large client on the development of two substantial waste wood fuelled power stations in the UK, and have advised a substantial power generator on a joint venture arrangement for the construction and operation of a large biomass electricity generation facility. In addition, we have advised a number of other clients in relation to biomass projects, including advising both suppliers and purchasers in relation to the sale and purchase of biomass fuels, and on the design and construction of biomass facilities. We also regularly advise on biomass procurement contracts (with both domestic and international suppliers) for a large power generator.
  • Energy from waste: We have one of the leading waste management practices in the UK, and have advised on project financed contracts for building energy from waste facilities (often CHPs) both for dedicated waste streams (as in PFI) and for “merchant” use with generating capacities varying from 20 megawatts to 60 megawatts. We have advised and are currently advising local authorities, bidding consortia, EfW companies, utility companies, EPC contractors, technology providers, operating contractors and power offtakers on energy from waste projects. As part of this, we advise on power purchase and connection agreements, fuel offtake agreements and renewables obligations issues.
  • Solar: Walker Morris is advising the developer of one of the largest proposed solar farms in the UK, which will have an installed capacity of more than 20MW. The firm has also recently advised two local authorities and a redevelopment trust on large solar PV installation projects, including the installation contracts and setting up a framework arrangement. In addition, we have advised a “rent-a-roof” scheme provider, where the feed-in tariff income is retained by the provider while the occupier benefits from free electricity from the panels.
  • Anaerobic Digestion (AD): with clients including leading AD and waste contractors, local authorities, developers, investors, food manufacturers and landowners, our Renewables, Energy & Resources Group advises on all aspects of AD projects, from site acquisition and project development phases through procurement, planning and regulatory, joint venture and funding arrangements, project structuring, EPC and O&M, supply chain, security package, grid connections, feedstock supply, and offtake/supply of heat, power supply and digestate. Acting for TEG Environmental as investor, EPC contractor and O&M contractor in the project, we recently advised on a £21 million organic waste facility to be constructed on the London Sustainable Industry Park, Dagenham, the first project to receive funding from UK Green Investments (UKGI), having also advised TEG on a merchant AD facility in Scotland. We have advised local authorities on AD procurements as well as AD solutions within residual waste treatment projects, and recently advised a major food manufacturer on AD as part of its energy management programme. Funding and project structures, and the impact of changing EU regulations and end-of-waste criteria continue to pose challenges to clients in the sector.
  • Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Although not strictly speaking renewable energy, energy generation which utilises CCS solutions is seen by the Government as an important strand of UK energy policy required to delivery necessary emissions reduction. Members of our team have been involved in CCS projects, advising developers on their participation in schemes seeking funding from the UK Government through the DECC commercialisation processes.

As part of our commitment to this sector, we also actively participate in the main industry bodies in the sector and provided the legal surgery at the ADBA Exhibition and Conference 2012.

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