In our seventh year of writing and publishing The Energy Regulation and Markets Review, we have seen dramatic changes in global energy policies. Europe has experienced a strong economic rebound, which has allowed many countries to dedicate increased resources to the infrastructure needs of the energy sector, including for renewables. While the United States commenced efforts to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the signatories to the Paris Agreement countries have continued to make efforts to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs). There is still a significant need to invest in infrastructure, and we have seen significant investment throughout the supply chains in the oil, gas and power sectors globally. The 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident continues to impact energy policy in many countries, and we continue to see extensive liberalisation of the energy sector. Oil prices have started to rebound somewhat, which presents some hope to those countries that remain dependent upon oil prices for national revenue.
I CLIMATE CHANGE DEVELOPMENTS
With respect to climate change efforts, the Paris Agreement was placed into effect on 4 November 2016, but President Trump announced last year that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. Nonetheless, we continue to see significant carbon reduction efforts, such as increased development of renewable resources, as well as energy efficiency and demand reduction measures, globally, including in the United States.
Following the Brexit vote, the United Kingdom closed its 'renewable obligation' programme to new generation, and limited new contracts for differences, which has significantly reduced new renewable construction this year. France has announced a plan to close all coal-fired power plants within five years, double the capacity of wind and solar renewable generation and prohibit shale gas production and all new searches for hydrocarbons. Denmark continues to seek to have renewable energy meet all of its electricity demands by 2050, and over the past year has initiated an effort to improve the output of solar and wind resources through technology improvements. The Netherlands has a goal of reducing GHGs by at least 25 per cent by 2020, and has announced its intent to close all coal plants by 2030. While Germany will likely miss its 2020 renewable energy goals, it has an ambitious goal to achieve 65 per cent renewable generation capacity by 2030. Belgium has continued its effort to develop offshore renewable wind resources (including the development of an offshore grid), but has reduced historical green certificate subsidies. Italy is seeking to reduce carbonisation by having a goal of relying on renewable resources for 28 per cent of its energy needs by 2030. Switzerland has continued to promote the development of renewables and is supporting the development of large-scale hydroelectric resources through state subsidies. Spain is seeking to reach 20 per cent renewables by 2020, and has initiated new auctions for 6,000MW of new renewable installed capacity. Turkey seeks to have 30 per cent renewables by 2023.
China released a plan to have 15 per cent of its energy supplied by non-fossil fuels, 20 per cent from natural gas and no more than 58 per cent from coal by 2020. Korea's goal is to cut GHGs by 37 per cent by 2030, and it is seeking to have 95 per cent of all new installed capacity come from clean energy sources and to shut down coal power plants that are more than 30 years old. India's announced goal to have at least 40 per cent of its installed electric capacity powered by non-fossil fuels may be overshadowed by the fact that it is developing and constructing 50,000MW of new coal-fired generation capacity. Japan is looking at offshore wind and a variety of other new renewable energy sources to assist with the reduction of capacity following the shutdown of most of its nuclear generation capacity. Malaysia has been working hard to reduce its overdependence on coal and natural gas, and to encourage the production and use of renewable energy in an effort to meet its target of 50 per cent renewable resources by 2050. As of last year, 33 per cent of the installed capacity in the Philippines was from renewable resources, and 35 per cent was from coal generation. The United Arab Emirates continues its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, announcing a goal of having 25 per cent of its capacity from renewables by 2030, and 75 per cent by 2050. South Africa relies upon coal generation for 85 per cent of its generation capacity but has taken steps to increase the development of renewable resources. Australia is adding significant new renewable resources to meet its 2020 renewable energy targets.
While the Trump Administration is seeking to reverse the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, we are seeing continued significant investment in renewable energy development in the United States. Individual states are moving forward to achieve reduced reliance on fossil fuels and greater reliance on renewable energy, including California and New York, which are seeking a 50 per cent renewable portfolio standard goal by 2030, and Hawaii, which is seeking 100 per cent reliance on renewables by 2045.
II INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
For many countries, reliable energy supply is the primary concern, regardless of fuel source. Rural electrification and system reliability remain priorities in India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Mozambique, Angola, parts of Nigeria and Central and West Africa and we are seeing significant efforts to pursue electric generation and transmission projects in those regions. Turkey seeks to increase energy industry infrastructure in the power sector and the oil and gas sectors, in light of an estimated 6 per cent demand growth per year through 2023. Denmark has a new North Sea Agreement to secure future exploration and production of hydrocarbons from the North Sea. Panama continues to seek to attract foreign investment to assist with badly needed transmission and generation infrastructure needs. The 8 May 2018 announcement by President Trump that he intends to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and institute significant new sanctions is expected to present a significant roadblock to further foreign investment in the Iranian energy sector.
III NUCLEAR POWER GENERATION
Seven years after the Fukushima disaster, Japan has stopped operations for 43 out of its 48 nuclear power stations, and 14 nuclear power stations are in the process of complying with new safety standards for possible restart. Germany continues to phase out all nuclear generation by 2022. Belgium is seeking to dismantle all nuclear plants by 2025. France is seeking a reduction of nuclear power generation to 50 per cent of total electricity production within five years. Switzerland and Korea are planning to limit the life of their nuclear generation units, with Korea abandoning the construction of six new nuclear power plants and cancelling the extension of others.
On the other hand, Turkey is continuing with development of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant (first unit estimated to be operational in 2023), and the United Arab Emirates is almost finished with the construction of the Barakah nuclear power plant, both of which are expected to be operational in 2020. South Africa is facing substantial resistance to its efforts to develop 9,600MW of new nuclear generation capacity. India's goal of 40 per cent non-fossil fuel generation is expected to require a substantial ramp-up of nuclear generation capacity.
In the United States, the early retirement of certain nuclear plants has been driven by cost and power market considerations, rather than safety concerns. Some nuclear owners in the United States have sought state subsidies in New York, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, among others, in order to avert premature retirements. Illinois and New York have implemented legislative and regulatory payment programmes for nuclear facilities in those states, but they are currently being challenged on constitutional grounds and remain pending before US federal circuit courts of appeal.
iV LIBERALIsATION OF THE ENERGY SECTOR
We have seen significant energy sector regulatory reforms in many countries. Italy is seeking to reduce the gap between price and cost of energy, compared to the rest of Europe. Portugal continues to work on liberalising its electricity and gas markets. Japan has now fully liberalised the retail electricity sector. And we are seeing continued efforts to encourage further privatisation of the electricity sector in the United Arab Emirates and in certain countries in Central and West Africa. Turkey is seeking to privatise its generation assets. Brazil has seen significant privatisation, including the auction of four hydroelectric plants. Given Switzerland's interest in promoting the use of renewable resources, it has suspended a planned 49 per cent divestiture of its state-owned hydroelectric fleet. China has made moves to deregulate energy pricing. In a move away from privatisation, Colombia ordered the liquidation of Electricaribe (owned primarily by Gas Natural Fenosa), which is now in arbitration.
I would like to thank all the authors for their thoughtful consideration of the myriad of interesting, yet challenging, issues that they have identified in their chapters in this seventh edition of The Energy Regulation and Markets Review.
Latham & Watkins LLP