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Renewable Energy and Environment

Political goals, new technological developments and economic market forces are key drivers of the international green transition. Production, transportation, and storage of renewable energy are a part of the solution. Norway is a leader in the production of hydropower, wind power, district heating and bioenergy. This knowledge base gives Norway an advantage in the further development of green energy and green law.

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ENG - Kontakt oss - Fornybar energi og miljø

The green transition is in its starting phase. The development of new physical and digital infrastructure for production, transportation and storage of energy is dependent on expertise in areas such as land acquisition, licensing, and official dialogue.

Our energy team has adopted the renewables sector as its highest priority and is specialising in areas which are critical to the ability of industry to develop ground-breaking new technologies and sustainable business solutions.

Our focus on understanding regulatory framework and identifying solutions that are suitable for future needs allows us to provide sound and reliable advice at a time of rapid industrial development. This advice is of particular importance when regulatory systems are often behind pace. Due to our experience of the public sector and official dialogues, our expertise often proves crucial in relevant projects.

"Hjort has a high level of expertise in electricity and renewable energy, and delivers content both on time and focused on what the client needs."

– The Legal 500

Experience

Our pivotal role in the development of Norwegian energy law over the past 30 years includes working with central stakeholders on liberalisation of the energy market in the 1990s and helping to adapt the regulatory energy framework to emerging needs. We are motivated by involvement in the development of rules, regulations and regulatory frameworks. By supporting green restructuring, we help our clients to participate in the green transition.

Our interdisciplinary teams provide our clients with accurate, effective advice in individual projects. We also have extensive experience of acting as a strategic sparring partner.

Ultimately, our most important task is to ensure that the law is a tool that helps our clients to achieve their goals.

Areas of expertise

CCS

It is generally recognised that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is needed to achieve international emissions targets. In launching the Longship project, Norway has assumed an important role in the development of a complete supply chain for the capture, transportation and storage of CO2 from industrial sources, and our lawyers have been working on related Norwegian projects for the past 10 years.

We have expertise on the legal issues which typically arise in major industrial projects, as well as a thorough understanding of technical and commercial challenges linked to large scale CCS projects.

Digitalisation of the energy sector

The Norwegian energy industry is undergoing significant change and is at the threshold of a comprehensive digitalisation phase. This will entail increasing the coordination of data systems with other systems, in addition to stakeholders to create smart, future-oriented solutions.

New ICT solutions necessitate agreements and the clarification of regulatory framework. They also create new opportunities linked to more efficient resource utilisation based on new technologies and the processing of large volumes of data.

We have thorough knowledge of both special requirements applicable to the energy industry and general requirements and challenges associated with digitalisation processes.

We assist with the identification of regulatory requirements linked to digitalisation and adaptation to them, including information security and data protection requirements, agreements with suppliers on system delivery, operation and maintenance, and different types of cooperation agreement.

Energy storage and battery production

Environmentally friendly battery production is a new industry in which Norway is well-positioned for future success. Increased electrification and the use of renewable and climate-friendly energy carriers are important elements in the green transition.

We have extensive experience in assisting companies involved in the recycling of batteries in Norway. In the future, companies which combine production of new environmentally friendly batteries with recycling of old batteries will have a substantial competitive advantage. Our specialist expertise enables us to advise companies throughout the battery supply chain.

Acquisition of land and rights

The grid facilities, dams and power stations needed for renewable energy production are space-intensive. New battery factories and wind power farms will also require substantial space thus resulting in competition for available areas. Our lawyers have extensive experience of advising on negotiations relating to real estate, waterfall and other rights, as well as potential legal proceedings, expropriation and valuation.

Offshore wind power

Norway is home to one of the world’s most efficient and technologically advanced offshore supply industries. Norway is in the forefront  in electricity production by floating wind turbines. We are actively engaged in several development projects in the North Sea.

We have a strong commitment to the Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster.  The NOWC consists more than 300 companies in the industry, with one of our lawyers is chairing the contracts groups.

We are very familiar with the wind power licensing rules and can advise on all aspects of development and construction projects. Our extensive experience of environmental issues and official dialogue makes us a valuable partner.

Hydrogen and ammonia projects

The production and use of hydrogen and ammonia will be a key instrument for achieving the objective of making Norway a low-emission society by 2050. Our lawyers are involved in various hydrogen and ammonia projects, advising on matters such as the establishment of corporate structures for joint ventures, agreements on facility sites and project financing.

Our experience with legal and commercial issues arising in connection with traditional electrolysis-based hydrogen production. Our extensive CCS experience uniquely equips us to assist with projects involving natural gas-based hydrogen and ammonia production, which necessitates CO2 capture and storage.

Infrastructure – grid facilities and grid regulation

Energy transportation infrastructure is a crucial factor in green restructuring by industry and society in general. This sector is strictly regulated by the Norwegian Energy Act and related regulations, with respect to financial framework conditions in the form of rules on revenue caps, the system of quality-adjusted revenue caps for undelivered energy (KILE system), requirements relating to operation, maintenance and emergency preparedness, as well as sale and facility licence conditions. We are highly familiar with different aspects of the regulatory requirements applicable to grid operators and the scope of their obligations to producers and recipients of electricity.

Competition law and public procurement in the energy sector

We have thorough expertise and extensive experience of competition issues and public procurements, particularly in the energy industry.

Energy trading

We have extensive knowledge of the legal frameworks that govern energy trading via marketplaces and through bilateral contracts. We advise on financial and physical energy contracts, as well as other energy production-related instruments. We also assist with matters such as the drafting and conclusion of physical and financial energy contracts, energy trading-related regulatory issues in Norway and the EU – including market behaviour and organisational structure (MiFID II/MiFIR/MAR, EMIR, REMIT) – trading in electricity certificates, emissions permits and other energy production-related instruments, regulatory issues and marketplace membership.

Electricity tax

The natural resource tax and the resource rent tax are special taxes levied on hydropower production in Norway. However, property tax is also important because production facilities and grid facilities are valued pursuant to special rules. Our lawyers have been involved in several central legal cases in this area.

Oil and gas – decommissioning and removal

Gradual restructuring of the oil and gas industry is a key aspect of Norway’s green transition. Our lawyers have expertise in the environmental challenges which can arise in connection with decommissioning and removal of oil installations, and we are among the very few Norwegian law firms which have litigated cases involving such issues.

We assist with the identification of needs, negotiations, dispute resolution and conflict management. Moreover, we have been involved in several cases concerning the interpretation of cooperation agreements, coordination agreements and third-party agreements.

Environmental challenges linked to the petroleum industry are another area in which our lawyers can assist. We have broad expertise of the conduct of investigations and integrated anti-corruption efforts.

Security and emergency preparedness

Electricity is a prerequisite for all societal needs., The increasing dependence on electricity makes energy supply preparedness a crucial topic. Digital developments in the energy sector and society in general are altering the risk and vulnerability profile of the energy system. Security and emergency preparedness are regulated by the Norwegian Energy Act and the Norwegian Power Emergency Preparedness Regulations. This encompasses requirements related to standby repair capacity, security measures, information and ICT security, protection of operational control systems and the organisation of the Norwegian Power Supply Preparedness Organisation (KBO). Some stakeholders and objects in the electricity supply sector are additionally subject to the Norwegian Security Act. Our lawyers have thorough knowledge of the legal, regulatory and financial framework conditions relating to security and emergency preparedness, and are experienced advisers to companies working with such matters in the energy industry.

Smart energy, innovation and restructuring

Offshore wind power, solar cells, artificial intelligence (AI), digitalisation, smart technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics are revolutionising the energy industry. Robust cooperation models and thorough knowledge of legal, regulatory and financial framework conditions applicable to the power grid, industry and consumers, as well as involved public and private stakeholders, are crucial success factors. We are working on several innovative projects concentrating on smart energy, innovation and restructuring, and have the necessary expertise to contribute as a problemsolver and strategic adviser.

Transactions and reorganisations

The energy industry is undergoing wide range restructuring, driven by the need to prepare for future challenges in areas such as development and innovation. Our extensive experience of giving strategic and legal advice on such processes allows us to assist during all project phases, from negotiations to due diligence, company documentation, and licensing questions and applications.

Hydropower – land acquisition, development licences and operation

Our lawyers have extensive experience of advising on issues related to licensing obligations and licence conditions in connection with the development of both new projects and refurbishment and upgrade projects, the renewal and revision of licences, and general issues concerning licence conditions. We assist with the acquisition of waterfall rights, valuation and expropriation, applications for acquisition and regulatory licences, renewal and revision of hydropower licences, protection of cultural heritage sites, and production leasing and operation agreements.

We advise on major development and refurbishment projects, issues linked to licence applications, agreements and valuations pertaining to land acquisition, the negotiation of construction and delivery agreements, as well as ongoing assistance during the construction phase.

Wind power – acquisition, development and operation

Onshore wind power has become profitable even in the absence of green certificates. However, this has resulted in a rise in major conflict and disputes concerning land and nature conservation. Thorough knowledge of both planning and building law and energy law is key in resolving these matters. Offshore wind power offers significant potential in energy production,  and for Norwegian industry. We have unparallel knowledge with licensing rules and advisementon all aspects of development and construction projects, as well as transactions and restructurings. Our extensive experience of environmental issues and official dialogue makes us a valuable partner.