The Renewable Energy Law Review: Editor's Preface

At the start of my career in the renewable energy industry, renewable energy generation was seen as an immature, fast-developing subsector that was seeking to get a foothold in, and be accepted within, the existing mature and stable electricity sector. Renewables focused on gaining political and social support for new or decentralised technologies that were often perceived as costly and unreliable. At that time, it was also primarily developed economies that were funding and supporting this nascent industry through feed-in tariffs or certificate schemes.

While renewable energy remains a subsector in transition, the conversation has moved on substantially. In recent years it has been refocusing on new jurisdictions, much larger projects and marginal efficiencies from technological gains. Industry has also pivoted to looking at whether governments, through facilitative legal and regulatory regimes, are willing to catalyse the development of a sufficiently long and sizeable pipeline of projects to feed the almost insatiable desire of banks, investors and developers to deploy capital and debt in the sector.

The Glasgow Climate Pact, formed during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2021, led to a historic pledge to accelerate the phase-down of coal, adding legitimacy to efforts to hasten the transition to renewables. In addition, the agreement of rules on global carbon markets, a tightening of the Paris Agreement 'ratchet' mechanism, and the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero could open the door for huge amounts of investment in renewable energy initiatives. As stipulated during the conference, the decarbonisation of energy systems remains fundamental in global efforts to keep the global temperature increase below 2°C.

However, it has been the global energy crisis fuelled initially by the covid-19 pandemic-related economic slowdown and recovery as well as Russia's invasion of Ukraine that have produced a series of significant political pledges to accelerate the world's clean energy transition. The climate debate has been bolstered by an increased interest in energy security, with renewables often taking centre stage in policy plans. For example, the REPowerEU programme is seeking to support investment and reforms worth €300 billion to move away from reliance on Russian gas, including increasing the European renewables target for 2030 from 40 per cent to 45 per cent. The United Kingdom's recently published Energy Security Strategy commits to 95 per cent low-carbon electricity by 2030, introducing new ambitious targets for offshore wind and solar.

The attraction of renewables has been heightened by many technologies moving away from active subsidies for the sector. The industry is more fixated on removing remaining legal, political and structural barriers to deployment. Renewable power is now, in many places, the cheapest form of new capacity to add to the electricity system. In addition, many people are anticipating a very significant increase in clean power consumption driven by, among other things, the electrification of transport.

This guide has been produced to provide an overview of the legal framework and current status and challenges in structuring, financing and investing in renewable energy projects in the selected jurisdictions. Whether you are already active in the sector or simply interested in learning more about the legal framework and key developments underpinning the renewable energy industry, I hope that this guide will provide you with an insight into our exciting industry.

Munir Hassan
CMS
London
July 2022

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