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The pace of regulatory change is accelerating year on year as climate ambition increases and the levels of sophistication in improving, measuring, reporting and being held accountable for environmental performance increase.

Our cross-disciplinary ESG team has extensive experience in the environmental aspects of the energy transition, major projects, M&A transactions, real estate transactions, carbon and other trading, sustainable finance, green bonds, climate-related target plans and disclosures, shareholder activism, due diligence and climate litigation.  Collectively we are uniquely qualified to assist our clients in navigating domestic and European climate and environmental laws and regulations relevant to their operations and investments.

We are at the forefront of the energy transition and sustainable investment, supporting clients to manage risks and take advantage of opportunities in the rapidly changing global landscape.  We have extensive experience acting for sponsors, investors, developers, funders, regulators and State bodies in regulating, developing, funding and investing in sustainable projects and businesses.

Our practice includes:

Energy System Transition

  • Renewable energy including advising sponsors, lenders and offtakers on more than 120 onshore wind projects on the island of Ireland including many of Ireland’s largest projects, including the 172MW Oweninny Phase 1&2 Windfarm, the 100MW Knockcummer Windfarm and the 95MW Meenadreen Extension Windfarm, and advising Highfield Solar on the development and financing of the 282MW Rosspile and Gillinstown Solar Portfolio, the largest solar portfolio financed in Ireland. We are also the sole external legal advisor to the State for almost 20 years on the grant and administration of all Foreshore Leases for offshore wind projects in Ireland.
  • Energy Storage including advising the Export Import Bank of Korea and Kookmin Bank on the financing of the 2x100MW Lumcloon and Shannonbridge Battery Energy Storage Systems and Corre Energy on the 300MW Zuidwending Compressed Air Energy Storage Project in the Netherlands.
  • Transmission, Distribution & Interconnection including advising the sponsors on the 500MW HVDC Moyle Interconnector; the 500MW HVDC East West Interconnector, the 500MW HVDC Greenlink Interconnector and the proposed 700MW HVDC Celtic Interconnector.

Energy Efficiency & Demand Side Response

  • Energy services concessions & retrofitting including advising on energy efficiency obligations, energy efficiency contracts and energy services concessions for public buildings, including a number of hospitals, retrofitting buildings and green leases.
  • Demand side response, aggregation and smart metering including advising on aggregation of distributed generation and demand response; DS3 services and regulatory and data protection considerations associated with smart metering.
  • Electric vehicles including advising on charging infrastructure and regulation of charging services.

Resource Management & the Circular Economy

  • Energy Recovery Projects including advising the sponsors on the development and financing of the 600,000 tpa Dublin Waste to Energy Project, Ireland’s largest Waste to Energy Facility.
  • Water and wastewater projects including advising Irish Water and its technical advisors on obtaining all project consents, including the planning permission, water abstraction consent and compulsory purchase order for the State’s largest water infrastructure project. We also advise major water users on connection to the water networks and advise on non-domestic water and wastewater tariffs.
  • Flood relief and arterial drainage projects including advising the Office of Public Works on various contracts, including for flood relief schemes and assisting in various conciliations and other dispute resolution fora for a number of schemes.

Carbon Sequestration & Emissions Reduction

  • Emissions Trading including advising on the EU-ETS, non-ETS sectors and voluntary carbon trading.
  • Carbon capture and storage including advising on regulatory and environmental consenting aspects of carbon capture and storage under domestic and European law.
  • Land Use, Land Use Change & Forestry including advising Coillte on its Sliabh Bawn wind farm development and on its diversification into energy, and on environmental and planning matters arising from the State forestry company’s land holding and changing land use.
  • Transition to non-fossil Fuels including advising and representing Irish Cement in relation to its solid recovered fuel at its cement factories in Limerick and Meath and also on its parallel applications to the EPA in relation to the replacement of fossil fuel with non-fossil waste.

Sustainable Finance

  • Asset management/investment funds including advising UCITS management companies and AIFMs on the impacts of various European Commission legislative initiatives including the Taxonomy Regulation, the Disclosures Regulation and the Low Carbon Benchmarks & Positive Impact Benchmarks Regulation and other corresponding changes to UCITS and AIFMD to integrate sustainability into organisational and operational requirements and risk management.
  • Green and Sustainable Lending including advising a range of corporate issuers including Vodafone, Tesco, Ryanair and Glencore on their Irish financing vehicles. We also have extensive experience advising on sustainable finance and green bonds. Other representative experience includes advising Johnson Controls on its debut $625m Green Bond and its first Sustainability-Linked Bond ($500m), acting as Irish counsel to Arctic Securities as sole manager of a €110m Norwegian law green bond to fund the development of solar power generation assets, and advising the managers on the landmark issuance of Ireland’s (acting through the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA)) first sovereign green bond.
  • Green Bonds including advising the managers on the landmark issuance of Ireland’s first sovereign green bond and acting as Irish counsel to Arctic Securities as sole manager of a €110m Norwegian law green bond issued by an Irish SPV subsidiary of Alternus Energy Group PLC to fund the development of solar power generation assets in Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland and Romania.

Climate-Related Plans, Disclosures and Activism

  • Horizon scanning legislative, regulatory and voluntary developments in relation to climate-related disclosures, plans and targets, including the interaction between domestic and international frameworks.
  • Strategic advice to companies on devising and implementing policies and work-streams to manage climate-related impacts, plans, targets and resulting disclosures.
  • Shareholder Activism including advising listed companies on shareholder expectations in relation to climate change and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

Environmental Due Diligence

  • Due Diligence obligations in relation to environmental impacts, including assisting companies prepare for mandatory obligations for their value chains through the development of policies and strategic oversight.

Environmental Contacts

Alex McLean

Partner, Dublin Energy

Maedhbh Clancy

Of Counsel, Dublin Banking and Finance

Phil Cody

Partner, Dublin Capital Markets

Danielle Conaghan

Partner, Dublin Environment and Planning

Grainne Hennessy

Partner, Dublin Banking and Finance

Suzanne Kearney

Of Counsel, Dublin Corporate and M&A

Conor McCarthy

Partner, London Corporate and M&A

Niamh McGovern

Partner, Dublin Construction and Engineering

Kevin Murphy

Partner, Dublin Asset Management and Investment Funds

Tara O’Reilly

Partner, Dublin Asset Management and Investment Funds

Deirdre Sheehan

Partner, Dublin Real Estate

Imelda Shiels

Partner, Dublin Banking and Finance

Sarah Thompson

Partner, Belfast Financial Regulation