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Energy & Infrastructure Seminar Series 2021/22

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Ryan Near

Global Head of BD - PENRI


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04 October 2021

Updated 1 April 2022: Our 12th annual Energy & Infrastructure seminar series ran from October 2021 until March 2022 across ten sessions. The series provided insight into current trends and developments in both the energy and infrastructure sectors. All sessions were CPD-accredited, giving eligible lawyers the opportunity to collect CPD points, however the series was of interest to a wide variety of professions.

This event has now passed.

Session 1: The Future of Energy

Wednesday 6 October 2021, 9.30am-11am (UK time)
Speaker: Scott Neilson

We are to fundamentally change the energy system of the world in 28 years. The sheer scale of change globally is going to mean we are all going to be rather busy. But how realistically do we do this when we are transitioning in the reverse of the way we have transitioned in the past – from high energy density to low energy density sources? Is electricity the low hanging fruit? Where is all the energy storage we need going to come from if we don’t have fossil fuels? How do we realistically decarbonise the harder to abate areas, such as transportation and industry? What role will new regulation play and when? This talk is practical and will help you identify what is realistic and where the opportunities really are. No business can afford to miss it!

Session 2: A SWOT Analysis of the U.S. Renewables Industry

Thursday 14 October 2021, 5pm-6pm (UK time)
Speakers: Dan Sinaiko and John Marciano

The transition to a decarbonised electric future is in full swing in the United States, with renewables becoming the fastest growing sector of the energy economy. The Biden administration has made clean energy a core objective. At the same time, competing sentiments favouring economic protectionism, fair trade and human rights concerns pose potential headwinds for the sector. We will present an overview of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the U.S. renewables market. 

Session 4: The landscape for hydrogen and CCUS development in the UK

Wednesday 10 November 2021, 9.30am-10.30am (UK time)
Speakers: Michael Diosi, Chris AndrewRachel O’ReillyTom d'Ardenne and Natalie Etchells

The summer of 2021 has been a significant period for energy transition in the UK with a number of important policy publications from the UK Government. These have included the publication of the long awaited UK hydrogen strategy and further details on the proposed business models to support investment in carbon capture and storage and hydrogen projects in the UK, alongside the launch of the cluster sequencing process for the allocation of such support to pathfinder projects. In this session we will take stock of the landscape for prospective hydrogen and CCUS projects in the UK in light of the summer’s developments and explore the key risks and issues for investors seeking to participate in the developing UK hydrogen economy.

Session 5: Renewables in the Spanish Market

Thursday 18 November 2021, 11.30am-1pm (UK time)
Speakers: Charles Poole-Warren, Ignacio HornedoVanessa Cuellas and Alvaro Sanchez-Bordona

In line with many other jurisdictions, the Spanish renewables sector is currently experiencing a boom, with a large number of MWs being developed and active secondary market trading. This session will explore what we are currently seeing in the sector, what we have learnt from the past and hopefully provide comfort for future investment in Spanish renewable assets and also what we see coming in the market in the coming years.

Session 6: Mind the gap: Emerging markets, ESG and the energy transition

Wednesday 24 November 2021, 12pm-1pm (UK time)
Speaker: Suzanne Spears

Decarbonisation presents many opportunities for energy and infrastructure investors. However, it is occurring alongside a surge in resource nationalism and a heightened focus on ESG performance in many of the emerging markets that have attracted foreign investors in renewable energy, transition minerals and related infrastructure in recent years. This session will highlight the political and ESG risks associated with the energy transition, lessons from recent investor-State arbitration cases, and key steps that energy and infrastructure investors should be taking now to protect their investments in emerging markets.

Session 7: Global Hydrogen Seminar

Wednesday 1 December 2021, 8.30am-10am (UK time)
Speakers: Michael DiosiGoran Galic, Simon Huxley, Matthias VossJackson AllenHitomi Komachi and Moritz Meister

Hydrogen is emerging at a faster pace than anticipated. While market and demand are not yet developed, key governments globally have or are developing hydrogen strategies that will drive how these markets develop. We will cover the important aspects of key hydrogen strategies in the Asia-Pacific, Middle Eastern and European markets, together with trends, opportunities and challenges in and for this sector moving forward.

Session 8: Asia Pacific Renewables

Wednesday 8 December 2021, 9am-10.30am (UK time)
Speakers: Jason Humphreys, Adam Moncrieff, Xue Wang and Simon Huxley

Asia Pacific accounts for 60% of the global population and has the world’s fastest rising energy demand. Whilst most of this energy currently comes from fossil fuels, renewable energy is growing and Asia Pacific is starting to overtake the U.S. and Europe with major renewables projects in Taiwan, Vietnam, India, Japan, Korea, Indochina, mainland China, Indonesia and Australia. What does the future hold and how quickly can Asia Pacific make the transition to renewable energy? What are the biggest challenges and how can we overcome them?

Session 9: Key M&A considerations for Data Centres

Thursday 9 December 2021, 1pm-2pm (UK time)
Speakers: Max Landshut, Filip Van ElsenZeeger de JonghAlun EvansJamie PalmerMarinus Winters and Grace McLeish

Fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic and users’ incremental appetite for public cloud space, data centre M&A surged to an all-time high in 2020 and this trend continues in 2021. This session will look at what makes data centre M&A a category of its own requiring multi-disciplinary expertise as well as key European and Asia-Pacific market trends and drivers, pitfalls to watch out for and best market practices. We will also give an outlook on what is to expect from data centre M&A in 2022 and beyond.

If you have any questions about the series please get in touch with Ryan Near or Carolyn Andrews.

Session 10 (rescheduled session 3): European M&A Trends

Tuesday 8 March 2022, 1pm-2.30pm (UK time)
Speakers: Sara PickersgillJan Skuhravy and Eimear Coady

European M&A activity over the last year has evidenced the continued resilience of the infrastructure market. In this session we will explore the legal drivers that are getting deals done and where investors are leveraging deal terms for opportunities, as well as the common challenges faced by buyers and sellers of European infrastructure. To what extent is investment appetite adjusting to perceived legal risks, which assets are proving most attractive to whom and for what reasons? Where is the market headed in 2022, and how will investors make the most of opportunities?

Session 11: Investment treaty and tax structuring update

Monday 7 March 2022, 12.30pm - 2pm (UK time)
Speakers: James FreemanNaomi BriercliffeJames Burton and Gareth Banfield

As we move into 2022, the environment for infrastructure investment globally looks increasingly uncertain.  Disruption caused by Covid-19, growing economic nationalism in many countries and anticipated regulatory intervention to seek to address the climate crisis are all factors which contribute to this picture.  Traditionally we have looked to investment treaties to provide protection against unlawful State intervention (whether it is licence withdrawal, tariff reform, extreme tax hikes or something else). This protection is perhaps more important than it has ever been. At the same time, the landscape for protecting foreign investment using investment treaties has become more complex.

In this session, our investment treaty arbitration specialists will:

  1. explain the benefits of effective structuring for treaty protection;
  2. outline recent developments in this area; and
  3. explain why, in light of some of these developments, the UK may be an attractive jurisdiction to base an investment holding company. 

Specialists from our tax team will also explain why structuring through a holding structure in the UK may be increasingly attractive from a tax perspective. In particular, the introduction of the Qualifying Asset Holding Companies regime in the Finance Act 2022 provides a tax efficient holding vehicle for infrastructure investments, potentially allowing institutional investors and infrastructure funds the option of holding their assets in a structure that gives rise to limited tax costs, while still providing access to both tax and investment treaties.