Practice work covers all technologies and all parts of the development of a project, as well as non-project energy matters. It includes the different subsidy schemes as they affect all the renewable technologies. An illustrative sample of some of the most relevant cases to date are listed below, in areas such as domestic solar PV schemes using the Feed-in Tariff (the FiT), wind-farm schemes using the Renewables Obligation Scheme (RO or ROCs), field-based solar schemes using Contracts for Difference Feed-in Tariff (CfDs) and district heating schemes, both using and not using the Renewable Heat Incentive.
5MW Solar Scheme in Norfolk
A rather frequent setup, for either law firms or on a risk basis.
The project was on a site adjacent to, and owned by, a chemical company. It was developed on a ‘risk’ basis by all those involved and held in a company established for the purpose (a special purpose vehicle, or SPV). The SPV was sold to the market by a share sale when the project was ‘shovel-ready’, that is to say, when it had rights to the land, a long-term power purchase agreement, planning consent and grid-connection arrangements.
Development took place over three years and legal input began at the outset with exclusivity arrangements and heads of terms for a lease option – and ended with conclusion of a share purchase agreement.
4MW Battery Project in Manchester
One of a number of similar on-going projects, of size varying from 4MW to 32MW.
This particular project is one to install a battery-generation scheme on an industrial site. A firm grid-connection arrangement, a purchase or lease arrangement with a battery manufacturer, and planning consent will be needed to secure funding. The output is to be sold to National Grid for frequency response or to an aggregator with its own National Grid contract.
32MW Oil Recovery Plant Immingham
Full legal service for a pyrolytic conversion green project.
A developing project on a large industrial site, it converts waste tyres into oil to be used as a renewable product and mixed into other fuels, to reduce their carbon content. All inclusive legal support was established from the outset: non-disclosure agreements, funding agreements, information memoranda, fuel supply, the lot, as well as the sale agreement at the end.
Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)
The one contract all projects need to sell output and all buyers need to buy input.
Without a PPA, a project other than a battery-generator won’t be funded, unless, and rarely, the funder is also an off-taker. The bigger the input, the more complex the PPA, as the more the buyer needs to manage price, volume and imbalance ‘penalty’ risk.
Risks in smaller PPAs or either side of the purchase arrangement need to be balanced against changes in market prices, changes in the ‘add-on’ costs of subsidies, the Capacity Market, the costs of using the network and against interruptions in supply.
Direct Heating Schemes
Finished projects include EESCO and heat supply arrangements for a scheme for 7,000 houses and amenity facilities (shops, clinics, schools) in the West Country, or heat supply arrangements and framework agreement for 3,000 homes in the east.
De rigueur for all major housing developments. Smaller ‘conversion’ schemes tend to be fuelled by renewable generators, but large-scale schemes are (until or unless hydrogen becomes a commercial option) fuelled by gas generators. Such schemes have two basic requirements: an ESCO (energy services company) arrangement that provides the contractor/operator with a return and a mandatory energy supply arrangement that crystallises that return in the form of consumption by householders.
Striking the balance between the needs of householders and the needs of contractors can be tricky, particularly for the house builder who needs to be able to sell the housing it is building ‘tied’ to unregulated heat schemes.
PPA and connection agreement for 24 MW wind farm in Wales.
A buyer looking into a portfolio of wind farms about to become operational needed due diligence on all the project contracts relating to each wind farm, together with an analysis of the risks.
The contracts included turbine supply agreements, operation and maintenance arrangements, meter operator agreements, export registration agreements, certain pre-accreditation information, Feed-in Tariff preliminary accreditation and connection agreements.
Fuel company, advised on future options
Strategic options analysis and financial model devised for optimal decision making
The company is a UK-wide supplier of fuels with a healthy balance sheet, looking to diversify and expand its operations into the future.
A report was prepared for the company, setting out the strategic options, including a detailed analysis of the state of the energy market – both as it was at the time and as it would look going forward over the next few years. It took account of the present regulatory framework and impending/likely changes and of the players in different parts of the market. It also provided a detailed financial model, together with guidelines.
Future connection report for local authority body
Renewables organisation sub-contracts report on major housing scheme
A local authority in the south commissioned a report from an organisation undertaking renewables development, seeking advice about the shape of a proposed major housing scheme, in particular, whether it could include solar panels.
The organisation ‘sub-contracted’ that part of the report dealing with the constraints, costs and timescales for connecting such a scheme to the electricity network and the obstacles to connecting both with and without two-ways flows of excess solar power.