Allen & Overy LLP‘s cross-practice team is regularly engaged on a number of big-ticket renewable and conventional energy sector matters, ranging from strategic joint ventures and project financings to new power plant developments and cross-border claims. The practice is chaired by managing partner Tom Schoors, an experienced adviser in the offshore wind space who divides his time between Antwerp and Brussels. Schoors is supported by the Antwerp-based Filip Tanghe, an expert in project finance and PPP, and Yves Van Pul, a Brussels-based finance lawyer whose energy sector capabilities are concentrated in offshore wind matters. Other key names to note include senior associate Dennis Lievens, who notably advises sponsors on both gas and wind ventures, and Astrid Lecomte, a litigation associate whose experience includes contract drafting and negotiation.
Firms in the Spotlight Industry focus: Energy
Industry focus: Energy in Belgium
Allen & Overy LLP
Other key lawyers:
Filip Tanghe; Yves Van Pul; Dennis Lievens; Astrid Lecomte
- Advising various offshore wind farm operators on the operation and exploitation of their wind farms, including regulatory issues, force majeure issues and liability disputes, as well as on the new regulatory framework for future tenders for offshore wind energy production installations in the Princess Elisabeth Zone in the Belgian North Sea.
- Advising various major, international corporates on their investments in renewable energy projects (including offshore, onshore and geothermal energy).
Led by the very experienced Damien Verhoeven – regarded by clients as ‘one of the front-runners in the energy law world‘ – Liedekerke‘s cross-departmental team acts for a formidable roster of market-leading producers, suppliers, and other entities on the full gamut of energy sector work. Recently, the team has been involved in Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM) implementation, carbon capture projects, and nuclear phase-out efforts, as well as new project developments and contentious proceedings within the industry. François Tulkens is noted for his experience in nuclear sector work, as well as for assisting with permitting issues for various gas and electricity heavyweights. Olivier Vanden Berghe specialises in commercial contract issues and litigation, and former Kinshasa office head Thibaut Hollanders is noted for his expertise in international renewable energy projects, with recent highlights including major hydropower and solar development in the DRC. Names to note at associate level include the ‘brilliant’ Lola Malluquin, a regulatory specialist who notably advises on CRM and battery storage matters, and Jonas Van Orshoven, who has most recently assisted multinationals with burgeoning domestic solar projects. All named lawyers are based in Brussels.
Other key lawyers:
François Tulkens; Olivier Vanden Berghe; Thibaut Hollanders; Lola Malluquin; Jonas Van Orshoven
‘Damien Verhoeven is, and remains, one of the front-runners in the energy law world, always ready to jump in and offering sharp and outstanding advice in very technical matters, like tariffs, market and capacity mechanisms.’
‘Lola Malluquin is brilliant, and therefore complements Damien very well.’
‘Administrative follow-up and billing are smooth and exemplary.’
Fortescue Metals Group
- Advising Elia in the implementation of the Belgian Capacity Remuneration Mechanism to ensure adequacy of electricity capacity after nuclear phase-out.
- Assisting Nala Renewables (a joint venture between Trafigura and IFM Investors) with the development of a 25MW/100MWh Battery Electricity Storage System on Nyrstar’s site in Balen.
- Assisting Air Liquide with its participation in the CO2 capture, transport and liquefaction project Antwerp@C in the Port of Antwerp.
Loyens & Loeff
‘The most experienced and complete Belgian law firm for advice in the renewable energy sector‘, according to one client, Loyens & Loeff‘s energy and infrastructure team has significant capabilities in both domestic and international renewable energy ventures, as well as energy storage, CRM, hydrogen ventures, and windfall tax reviews. Practice chair Koen Panis is a key port of call for various financial institutions, investors, and developers seeking assistance with solar energy projects and public-private partnership (PPP) financing across the Benelux region. Thomas Chellingsworth, who is lauded for the breadth of his energy sector expertise, regularly advises major public and private sector players on a wide array of matters, including smart electricity meter rollouts and new heating grid developments. Senior associates Christine Delagaye and Bram Devlies are also highly recommended. All named lawyers are based in Brussels.
Other key lawyers:
Thomas Chellingsworth; Christine Delagaye; Bram Devlies
‘Dedicated team which knows about the Belgian federal regulations, but also for each region: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. The team is also well aware of the European obligations and constraints.’
‘Very skilled and broad legal advice in the renewable energy sector.’
‘Thomas Chellingsworth is the most knowledgeable Belgian lawyer on energy law matters in its broadest form. He advises project developers on the development of their projects in all its aspects. He is very knowledgeable as well in all relevant regulatory matters but also in all relevant contract and construction law matters. ‘
‘ The most experienced and complete Belgian law firm for advice in the renewable energy sector.’
‘The team offers all you need as a company involved in the hydrogen sector: strong expertise and deep knowledge of the industry, sound recommendations and advice and flawless execution.’
‘Great communication, top-level expertise, and sound and clear recommendations along with perfect execution.’
‘Bram stands out as he is one of the few lawyers on the Belgian market that combines a thorough energy regulatory practice with excellent contract drafting and negotiation skills. For onshore renewable energy projects, he is the go-to lawyer.’
‘Bram is well-versed in the negotiation of power purchase agreements and construction contracts in the energy sector. He is also one of the very few lawyers we know that already has a practice on assisting newer technologies such as battery storage projects on their contracting.’
Nippon Koei Energy
Flemish Regional Government (Energy Minister)
Plug Power Inc.
Northwester 2 NV
Maurel & Prom
European Investment Bank
KBC Bank NV
International Car Operators
- Advised a consortium of international lenders led by ING Bank N.V. in relation to the financing of BASF’s investment in the Hollandse Kust Zuid offshore wind farm project.
- Representing the Flemish Regional Government in a series of civil suits regarding the new billing system for solar panel owners with a smart meter.
- Assisted Nippon Koei Energy in respect of a planned large-scale (20 MW) battery energy storage plant in Schelle, Belgium.
The ‘excellent‘ Clifford Chance is regularly engaged by a number of leading energy companies and banks for its capabilities in high-value, cross-border work, ranging from new renewable plant developments to project financing transactions and strategic joint ventures. The cross-practice team is chaired by Xavier Remy, a highly experienced partner whose recent engagements include major solar and offshore wind infrastructure projects. Counsel Patrice Viaene is a renewable energy specialist with niche expertise in clean hydrogen ventures. All named lawyers are based in Brussels.
Other key lawyers:
‘Highly skilled experts, able to produce excellent results within very tight timelines. High quality, and value for money. Excellent!’
‘Enthusiastic, knowledgeable individuals always trying to support the clients in an efficient way.’
‘Great professionalism across the whole team, who have a deep knowledge of the energy sector.’
‘Always very available to respond to our requests. A very thorough knowledge of the offshore wind sector.’
Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator S.A
European Investment Bank
- Advising Elia on the development and construction of its artificial energy island accommodating a very wide range of new offshore grid infrastructure (interconnectors, offshore substations, HVDC converters, submarine power cables, etc.) that is critical for Belgium’s energy mix and climate objectives in the Belgian part of the North Sea near the border with France (“MOG II”).
- Advising Resa, the main distribution network operator (“DSO”) for both electricity and gas in the Liège province, on various energy innovation projects.
- Advising 50Hertz on the development of Ostwind 3 and Gennaker, two offshore infrastructure projects.
Underpinned by a significant global network of offices, the ‘excellent’ team at DLA Piper advises on a host of cross-border transactional, regulatory, and project financing matters – ranging from power purchase agreements (PPAs) to CRM issues. The team is particularly noted for its strength in Greek and South-East European work, anchored by the ‘one-of-a-kind‘ Orestis Omran, a highly regarded expert in EU energy asset privatisation and energy transition projects. The practice is chaired by market veteran Bob Martens, whose significant regulatory acumen sees him advising a range of market-lading energy producers on all manner of issues. In Antwerp, counsel Alec Van Vaerenbergh is praised for his knowledge of EU and Belgian energy regulation, contract negotiation, and climate change initiatives. All named lawyers are based in Brussels unless noted otherwise.
Other key lawyers:
Orestis Omran; Alec Van Vaerenbergh
‘Orestis Omran is second to none in the energy sector. Well respected and widely recognised, he is always available to provide assistance even when it comes to highly technical matters where industry and multidisciplinary knowledge is indispensable and cannot be found amongst lawyers.’
‘Orestis Omran has a robust knowledge of the legal and commercial background of each energy related deal he handles. He is a go to lawyer for complex transactional and regulatory energy matters across the EU which makes him a market leader. He has extensive experience handling high-profile transactions on behalf of domestic and international financial institutions and energy companies. His commercial driven approach and flexibility to find alternative solutions that fit to the particularities of each deal is particularly notable.’
‘Every team member of DLA Piper is highly qualified, supportive, and positive. It is always productive and a pleasure to work with them.’
‘Excellent team – great communication and responsiveness make them stand out. They work seamlessly together and often leverage on the resources of the firm’s global platform and international offices.’
‘Orestis Omran is simply number one. Have never worked with a smarter, more skilful, technically excellent lawyer. Definitely, top of the top- would recommend him any day.’
‘Worked closely with Alec Van Vaerenbergh on international climate negotiations, and I was truly impressed by his commitment and engagement.’
‘Orestis’ deep regulatory and technical knowledge of the energy market and its trends and outside-the-box-thinking ensures the successful completion of each deal he is handling. He is well-known for the breadth of his capabilities, which are reflected in the professional and successful handling of our instructions. Based on our collaboration, we can assure that Orestis is among the most experienced and highly regarded lawyers in the industry, a true leading attorney in Brussels.’
‘Orestis has a one-of-a-kind background in energy related transactions and his tenacity and perspicacity in every step of the transaction process do not go unnoticed. His wide experience and business focused advice on energy related matters certainly render him amongst the leading energy partners in Brussels and in Europe overall.’
Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy
Belgian federal Ministry of Economy, DG Energy – Cabinet of Belgian Federal Minister for Energy
Fluvius System Operator CV
EuroAsia Interconnector Limited
Piraeus Bank S.A.
Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator SA
Claritas Investments (Claritas Hellas Energy BV)
Eunice Energy Group
Vlaams Klimaat- en Energie Agentschap (VEKA)
DEME Group (including DEME Offshore)
General Electric (Renewable Energy business unit)
European Commission (DG Climate Action)
Belgian Eco Energy (BEE)
ParticipatieMaatschappij Vlaanderen (PMV)
Eurogas (EU-wide gas supplier industry association)
City of Antwerp
City of Ghent
VLEEMO group (incl. Wind aan de Stroom, Polder Investeringsfonds, Ravawind)
Kuwait Petroleum (Q8)
Bonobo Conservation International
Regulatory Authority for Energy
Energetický a průmyslový holding, a.s. (EPH)
Hellenic Corporation of Assets and Participations
UGI International – Antargaz
DIF Capital Partners
- Advising the Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy and PPC on the resolution of the long-running case AT.38700, concerning Greek lignite and electricity markets and remedy commitments.
- Acting on various matters concerning Belgium’s capacity remuneration mechanism (CRM), including providing regulatory and State aid advice in respect of CRM to the Energy Ministry.
- Assisting Fluvius – the sole distribution system operator (DSO) for electricity and natural gas in the Flemish Region – in relation to its district heating projects and other matters.
Roundly praised for its ‘excellent knowledge‘ and ‘commercial acumen‘, Fieldfisher‘s energy and utilities offering is a popular choice for a range of high-profile public and private sector clients, who turn to the team for its wide-ranging capabilities in cross-border regulatory and contractual matters, project strategy advisory, and compliance issues, to name a few. Functioning as part of the firm’s EU Regulatory, Competition & Trade department, the practice is co-chaired by the ‘pragmatic‘ David Haverbeke, a specialist in electricity and gas sector work, and Wouter Vandorpe, whose recent engagements include public procurement analysis for international wind farm developers. Senior associate Nicolas Celis, who joined the practice from Janson in January 2022, is noted for his expertise in environmental law and climate change litigation and associate Elise Van Gerven specialises in regulatory frameworks – from green electricity to Belgian climate strategy. All named lawyers are based in Brussels.
David Haverbeke; Wouter Vandorpe
Other key lawyers:
Nicolas Celis; Elise Van Gerven
‘Availability of the team around Wouter Vandorpe and David Haverbeke is excellent; they’re very good at putting themselves in our shoes and helping us navigate through the Belgian legislation. I find their advice to the point and pragmatic.’
‘Mix of excellent knowledge, capacity to understand and listen to the needs of the clients, both in terms of substantive content and costs. Excellent network. Excellent value. Affordable service.’
‘David Haverbeke has a very precise knowledge of the energy sector, he is particularly reliable, always available and never under pressure.’
‘Steady firm with good lawyers; in-depth knowledge of energy market and also a good sparring partner on strategic matters.’
‘Commercial acumen combined with good knowledge of market practice.’
‘David Haverbeke is pragmatic and good value for money. We use him as our primary point of contact for Belgium law questions in the energy sector.’
‘The team has extensive experience in energy-related projects and consists of specialist lawyers with different areas of expertise so regardless of the question at hand, they can answer it quickly. Because the firm has multiple offices throughout Europe, they are also capable of handling pan-European cases, without having the need for multiple points of contact.’
Flemish Government (Vlaamse Overheid)
FuelCell Energy Inc
Scopus EV Charging
Eneco Solar Belgium
Amundi Energy Transition
Windvision Belgium NV
- Advising Centrica on their flexibility services both on regulatory and contractual matters including its relationships with the relevant regulatory authorities (energy administration, energy regulators) both at European and at national levels.
- Assisting Dutch PV developer Sunrock on its strategy towards solar energy projects in multiple European countries.
- Advising U.S. based fuel cell technologies’ manufacturer and developer FuelCellEnergy on their European strategy including advocacy mapping and regulatory monitoring.
Stibbe acts for a growing number of heavyweight private sector energy companies and is proficient in the gamut of regulatory, contractual, and project-based work – particularly in the nuclear sector. Practice chair Frederik Vandendriessche is a highly experienced practitioner whose expertise is concentrated in regulatory frameworks and distribution grid operation. Associate Pieterjan Claeys is an energy and climate law specialist with proficiency in both contractual and regulatory matters, including the real estate aspects of energy infrastructure developments. New arrivals include associate Pauline Van Bogaert (from Schoups) and junior associate Natan Vermeersch – who joined the team in February and September 2022, respectively.
Other key lawyers:
Pieterjan Claeys; Pauline Van Bogaert; Natan Vermeersch
- Assisting EDF Luminus on the CRM auction process and contemplated transaction for a new gas-fired power station in Seraing, Wallonia, southern Belgium (in collaboration with Herbert Smith Freehills, Paris). Transaction value: €600m
- Advising ENTSO-E on its responsibilities under the Commission Regulation (EU) No 543/2013 of 14 June 2013 on submission and publication of data in electricity markets and amending Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 714/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council (“Transparency Regulation”) concerning both the mFRR- and aFRR-Platforms.
- Assisting Elia Transmission Belgium on its obligations in the context of the gas phase-out plan (designation of crucial gas power plants) and interference with the EU solidarity mechanism on security of gas supply.
Deloitte's cross-practice climate and energy team is regularly engaged on both technical and commercial mandates, ranging from federally commissioned studies to structured transactions, and acts for a strong mix of public and private sector entities. Senior associate Dominique Vanherck – who heads up the climate and energy practice – is noted for her expertise in renewables and associated infrastructure project developments. Other key names to note include managing partner Kathleen De Hornois, a specialist in public procurement and PPPs. All named lawyers are based in Brussels.
Other key lawyers:
Kathleen De Hornois
‘High expertise, strong team.’
Fuel cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (currently the Clean Hydrogen Partnership)
Port of Oostende and REBO
Federal Advisory Board Gas and Electricity (“Adviesraad Gas en Elektriciteit”)
Intermunicipal company Leiedal
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy
- Advised Sibelga on its potential role in the development of a hydrogen economy in the Brussels Capital Region.
- Advised ARGE, the federal Advisory Board for Gas and Electricity, on the possible inclusion of social criteria in the new tender procedure for offshore wind.
- Assisted FPIM with the establishment and operation of a Design, Renovate, Finance & Maintain entity for the energy renovation of a large portfolio of federal public buildings.
NautaDutilh‘s energy and utilities practice is praised for its expertise in a spectrum of renewable and conventional energy work, handling a steady mix of finance, corporate, and regulatory matters, as well as proceedings before the Constitutional Court. The cross-disciplinary team is jointly chaired by corporate and M&A partner Jens Mosselmans and Nicolas de Crombrugghe, a specialist in public and regulatory law. Other key figures include counsel Maxime Vanderstraeten, who focuses on public contracts, and fellow counsel Stef Feyen, an environmental law specialist noted for his expertise in CRM. All named lawyers are based in Brussels.
Nicolas de Crombrugghe; Jens Mosselmans
Other key lawyers:
Maxime Vanderstraeten; Stef Feyen
‘Experts in their field, with a flexible attitude.’
‘Strong project management skills, high levels of engagement, good communication.’
- Providing regulatory advice to ENGIE on the capacity remuneration mechanism (CRM).
- Assisted ENGIE Electrabel as lenders’ legal counsel with the project financing of “Wind4Flanders Projects Alfa” for the development, financing, construction, testing, commissioning, operation and maintenance of six on-shore wind parks.
- Advised Virya Energy and Parkwind with the acquisition of existing and new shares in Fluves and its subsidiary Marlinks.
Philippe & Partners
Leveraging its ties with a wider network of offices, as well as a strategic partnership with independent consulting firm Bernard Energy Advocacy, Philippe & Partners is noted for its focus on energy transition work, assisting a range of domestic and international clients with both regulatory and contentious matters. Practice head Denis Philippe – who splits his time between Brussels and Luxembourg – is an experienced lawyer (as well as a CEPANI arbitrator) whose recent engagements include multimillion-euro criminal investigations and damages proceedings, acting on behalf of major energy multinationals. Liege-based senior associate Mathieu Clément de Cléty is also noted for his contentious expertise.
Other key lawyers:
Mathieu Clément de Cléty
- Assisted Electrabel during criminal proceedings, which were initiated in the context of sabotage of a nuclear power plant in 2014.
- Successfully assisted Electrabel in a claim against a distribution system operator which failed to fulfil its legal obligations due to a problem that occurred during the migration of the IT system.
- Successfully assisted the Brussels Capital Region in the transposition of the European directives of the Clean Energy Package and on the modification of the Brussels regulation relating to the organisation of the energy markets.