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The big debate

We’re delighted to present a special legal roundtable in this issue. As most of us in the sector will be aware, the legal industry’s influence has become particularly focussed on wind energy in recent years and we were keen to present a platform to the growing ranks of expert legal minds.

Let the questioning commence!


Laurence Lacey,
Partner in the Commercial Property team at Clarke Willmott (Bristol, UK)

Ben Stansfield,
Stephenson Harwood

Chris Scott,
Partner, Schillings

Martin Sales,
Partner in the Energy team at business law firm DWF

PES: Welcome to the roundtable. Would you like to open the discussion by explaining a little about your company and your interest in the wind industry?

Laurence Lacey: I am a partner in the nationally-rated renewable energy sector at Clarke Willmott, based in our Bristol office. We act in relation to large scale wind, solar and anaerobic digestion projects from their inception through to land acquisition, planning, financing, construction, regulatory and commercial aspects.

We have acted in the wind industry, in particular, for many years. Priscilla Hall, who is the head of the sector and a construction partner has a wealth of experience in relation to the project management and delivery of wind projects and we act for some of the biggest players in the market.

Ben Stansfield: Stephenson Harwood is an international law firm, based in London and with a very strong presence in Asia. We help a variety of clients in the power and oil and gas industries. We have a core group of lawyers who focus on energy and spend a lot of time getting to know the industries in which our clients operate – if you don’t understand the commercial drivers, you can’t provide effective legal advice. Worldwide we have over 400 lawyers and we’re growing – attracting the brightest lawyers and opening in new countries – most recently in South Korea – which we are really excited about.

Chris Scott: We help businesses and the people behind them defend their reputations and privacy, focussed on identifying where they are at risk and helping them take steps to protect themselves. Any sector that provokes public debate or campaigning has a raised exposure to the type of risks we protect against, and that certainly applies to wind as well as the broader energy sector.

Martin Sales: DWF’s Renewables team consists of more than 50 legal experts who specialise in meeting the needs of clients with renewable energy challenges in the UK, Ireland and internationally. Renewable energy is changing rapidly, from funding and legislation through to technology and supply chain. This is particularly relevant in the wind sector and the difficulties some of the offshore wind projects present. DWF’s experts deal with projects from feasibility to the disposal of a completed project: consenting,

procurement, financing, commissioning, generation, transmission, distribution, storage and supply of energy. We also work closely with the insurance and banking sector to enable project developers to engage early with them to achieve the best risk transfer solutions.

We also work closely with policy makers in Government and the European Union, and have recently participated in the Electricity Market Review, resulting in a change in regulation to make it easier for risk to be transferred into the insurance market. We are currently working with the European Commission in relation to Maritime Spatial Strategies in the North Sea and elsewhere.


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