Energy, project finance and PFI in Northern Ireland

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody has recently changed the structure of its team with Mark Stockdale now leading the practice. Stockdale works across all aspects of the energy industry, particularly in relation to the renewables and natural gas sectors. Former practice heads Ciaran McAlinney and Mark Thompson are still integral parts of the team; McAlinney is a key name for project finance work and Thompson focuses on energy-related corporate transactions. The firm’s wider offering can also draw upon the expertise of Micaela Diver, who is an expert in public law and procurement mandates.

Practice head(s):

Mark Stockdale

Other key lawyers:

Ciaran McAlinney; Mark Thompson; Micaela Diver

Testimonials

‘Mark Stockdale – exceptional.’

Key clients

Energia Group

SONI

Brookfield Renewables

Granville Ecopark

Foresight/Simple Power

Renewable Energy Systems

Statkraft Markets GmbH

Energy Trading Ireland Limited

Renewable Heat Association

SGN

Work highlights

  • Advising Energia on a collaboration project with Translink (the monopoly public transport provider in NI) to provide hydrogen fuelled buses in Belfast.
  • Advising SONI on a highly important case that will set a precedent for future connection offers and also possibly raise the prospect of retrospective claims.

Carson McDowell

Carson McDowell has a diverse offering and particularly stands out for its expertise in advising private equity houses on energy investments; it assisted Brookfield Renewables with its investments in Northern Ireland. Other core areas of focus for the group span wind energy work, natural gas mandates and electricity regulations. The team is led by Neasa Quigley, who is an expert in corporate energy deals. Corporate partner Gerard Armstrong is also active in this area, along with planning specialist Gary McGhee, financing expert Sinead McGrath, as well as property experts Emma Cooper and Dawson McConkey.

Practice head(s):

Neasa Quigley

Other key lawyers:

Gerard Armstrong; Gary McGhee; Sinead McGrath; Emma Cooper; Dawson McConkey

Key clients

Air Core Limited

Firmus Energy

Bright Energy

Belfast Power

Brookfield Renewables

NIE Networks Limited

SONI Limited

RES UK & Ireland

Elgin Energy

Work highlights

  • Advised Air Core on the sale of 11 onshore ROC accredited wind turbines via the purchase of 100% of the issued share capital of Windmills No.3 Limited.
  • Advised the founders of Ever Energy Supply Limited t/a Bright Energy in relation to a private equity investment, and commercial and corporate governance matters.
  • Provided significant and varied advice to the SONI project team in respect of the project management of the North-South interconnector project.

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP is the only international law firm with an energy practice in Northern Ireland, and the firm's wider network makes it well placed to handle cross-border issues. Richard Murphy heads up the firm’s energy team across Belfast and Dublin, with a particular interest in the renewables space. Also in Belfast is Ciaran McNamara, who focuses on contentious and non-contentious issues surrounding construction and infrastructure projects. Associate Laura Donnelly is also a key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Richard Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Ciaran McNamara; Laura Donnelly

Testimonials

‘Local knowledge combined with legal expertise. Excellent commercial guidance.’

‘Great energy team lead by Richard Murphy, up to speed on latest policy and regulatory issues.’

‘Personal touch.’

‘Efficient, personable, good communicators.’

‘I work almost exclusively with Richard Murphy. As well as his obvious ability in his role, he displays a personal passion for the energy transition and gives personal time and commitment to the work.’

Key clients

DCC PLC/Flogas Natural Gas Limited

Capital Dynamics

EDF Renewables

SUSI Partners

NTR Plc

Energia Group

firmus Energy

Mutual Energy Group

Brookfield

Resonance

Work highlights

  • Advising Flogas on the acquisition of Budget Energy.
  • Advising the EDF Group on its move into Ireland by acquiring 50% of the Codling offshore wind project from Hazel Shore.
  • Advising NTR Plc on the €370m refinancing of its 220MW onshore wind portfolio.

Arthur Cox Belfast

Arthur Cox Belfast’s sizable corporate practice has a strong presence in the energy and infrastructure sectors, and is also able to draw on the expertise of William Curry, who is a leading procurement specialist in Northern Ireland. Curry leads the practice and has expertise in both contentious and non-contentious procurement issues. Alan Taylor is a key name for corporate deals in the energy and infrastructure arenas, with recent mandates involving wind farms and natural gas projects.

Practice head(s):

Alan Taylor; William Curry

Testimonials

‘Very methodical and detail oriented.’

‘William Curry has great commerciality.’

‘William Curry was excellent, he was constantly calm and diligent which enabled the deal to get done.’

‘I have recently engaged Arthur Cox in respect of a procurement challenge involving a wholly owned subsidiary of a major utility. Arthur Cox from the minute I contacted them displayed professionalism, courtesy and an expertise in the relevant areas. Arthur Cox displayed an attention to both our needs and to the details of the case which greatly expedited matters. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to my peers.’

‘Arthur Cox has a great level of expertise across a range of specialist services and offer good practicable advice at competitive rates.’

‘I have worked with William Curry for several years in seeking professional advice. The support has always been very valuable and well received.’

Key clients

Mutual Energy Group (including Moyle Interconnector Limited and Premier Transmission Limited)

Phoenix Natural Gas Limited

Arena Capital Partners Limited

WindNI Limited

HHT Management Limited

Northern Ireland Housing Executive

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council

Ulster University

arc21

Department of Finance (LPS)

Work highlights

  • Advised Moyle Interconnector Limited on the drafting and negotiation of a contract with Siemens in relation to Phase II of the Control System Upgrade Project.
  • Advised Premier Transmission Limited on whether amendments were required to an existing Tripartite Agreement with National Grid Gas plc and GNI (UK) Limited.
  • Advised six local councils (through the arc21 corporate vehicle) on the procurement for an energy from waste facility.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin

Cleaver Fulton Rankin is ‘diligent and effective in the Northern Ireland renewable energy sector’, advising on wind and solar farms in the region. The team also handles traditional energy work, especially projects involving natural gas and mining issues. Stephen Cross leads the practice and is also equipped to handle projects involving the tourism sector and agribusinesses. Also supporting the team is corporate partner Hilary Griffith and property expert Joe Marley, who both have expertise in energy and infrastructure matters.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Cross

Other key lawyers:

Hilary Griffith; Joe Marley

Testimonials

‘The CFR team are diligent and effective in the Northern Ireland renewable energy sector. Very knowledgeable yet approachable regarding queries or guidance.’

‘Staff are always welcoming regardless of novel circumstances or a challenging environment. Special recognition must be awarded to Stephen Cross and Joe Marley who are exceptional assets for the CFR team. Their knowledge, understanding and approachability have been greatly appreciated during recent engagement.’

‘Good sector knowledge across the local industry including regulatory interfaces.’

‘Good knowledge of the peculiarities of the local market.’

‘A very professional Firm, which always gave a prompt reply to any query I may have had concerning my particular project. I found this firm very knowledgeable, and I had a first class service!’

‘It was Joe Marley I was dealing with. He did his utmost to get the best deal for me, I found him to be very dependable, thorough, very knowledgeable, and was always quick to respond to any query I had about anything. It was a real pleasure working with him, and he was always willing to go the extra mile to make sure I was happy with everything.’

Key clients

Equitix Investment Management

Dalradian Gold Limited

Axpo UK Limited

Arena Capital Partners

EirGrid Plc / SONI Limited

Blackrock Asset Management

Power NI

Canadian Solar

AIB (NI) (formerly First Trust Bank)

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks

Close Brothers Asset Finance

Assured Energy LLP

Gravis Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised Dalradian on its ownership of mineral prospecting licences for the consent it seeks for a proposed gold, silver and copper mine in County Tyrone.
  • Providing cross-border consultancy advice to EirGrid / SONI on the operation of the Single Electricity Market and the Trading and Settlement Code in Ireland.
  • Advised Assured Energy on its portfolio of 10 Anaerobic Digestion Plants and on the sale of one plant.

TLT

TLT has an ‘impressive knowledge of environmental programmes and eligibility criteria’ according to clients. The firm’s recent workload has involved advising both sponsors and lenders on major renewable projects, particularly wind energy and anaerobic digestion mandates. The team has a diverse offering led by infrastructure and planning expert Andrew Ryan; he is supported by property specialist Kevin Murphy.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Ryan

Other key lawyers:

Kevin Murphy; Sarah Mulholland

Testimonials

‘Impressive knowledge of environmental programmes and eligibility criteria. Good experience in the sector and demonstrated ability to deliver on promises.’

‘All members of the TLT team and professional yet approachable, very down to earth and effective communicators. Special praise to Andrew Ryan and Sarah Mulholland who are great assets for TLT.’

Key clients

Greenville Energy

ABO Wind NI Ltd

Low Carbon

Albion Community Power Limited

Brookfield Renewable

Allied Irish Bank

EP Kilroot Limited

Deepbridge Renewables Capital LLP

Alpha Real Capital

SSE Renewable Developments

Work highlights

  • Advising EP Kilroot Ltd. on its £600m “energy park” redevelopment of the Kilroot Power station site, Northern Ireland’s largest energy generation site.
  • Advising LCC, a major fuel distribution and supply company on its multi-million pound redevelopment of Northern Ireland’s only deep water oil storage facility.
  • Advised Alpha Real Capital in relation to the acquisition of an eleven NIRO accredited single wind turbine portfolio of assets across Northern Ireland.

Tughans

Tughans’ energy practice has been significantly strengthened through the promotion of Andrew Kirke to partner and the arrival of Chris Milligan from Arthur Cox Belfast, who both now lead the practice. Kirke is an expert in the regulatory and contractual aspects of energy transactions. Milligan meanwhile is particularly skilled in advising on the property aspects of major energy and infrastructure projects.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Kirke; Chris Milligan

Testimonials

‘Andrew Kirke is technically excellent in terms of legal advice and knowledge and also has a strong commercial and practical outlook which is hugely helpful in terms of reaching solutions which are legally compliant as well as business focused. Andrew has excellent client management and communication skills, particularly in terms of his responsiveness and his ability to communicate legal advice to people with non-legal backgrounds.’

‘Chris Milligan brings experience and knowledge to the team, he’s very approachable, diligent.’

‘I have worked with Chris Milligan during the delivery of a national infrastructure project, the project had a unique and sometimes complex structure. Chris brought a depth of knowledge in a particular from the perspective of land and financier requirements.’

‘Good knowledge of Northern Ireland property related matters.’

Key clients

SONI Ltd

Greencoat Capital

Adman Civil Engineering

First Trust

Indaver

Natural World Products

Northern Ireland Water

Granville Ecopark

Lissan Coal Company

Bryson Recycling

Work highlights

  • Acting as sole in-house legal counsel to SONI.
  • Advised Greencoat Capital on its bid to acquire Gruig Wind Farm in Northern Ireland.
  • Advised Santander (as lead arranger) in relation to NI-specific matters during the refinancing of NTR’s onshore wind portfolio across the UK and Ireland.

Millar McCall Wylie LLP

Millar McCall Wylie LLP has revamped its energy team with Simon Fleming  now leading the practice following the departure of Andrew Kerr to an in-house role. Fleming has a particular focus on wind and solar energy mandates, with expertise in commercial agreements and property-related issues. Abbie Long, who is a corporate partner with experience in the energy sector, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Simon Fleming

Other key lawyers:

Abbie Long

Key clients

Scottish Power Renewables (UK) Limited

Mills Selig

Mills Selig has been particularly busy in the renewables sector, most recently advising on projects involving wind energy and anaerobic digestion plants.  The team is led by Anna-Marie McAlinden, who is supported by corporate partner Glenn Watterson.

Practice head(s):

Anna-Marie McAlinden

Other key lawyers:

Glenn Watterson

Testimonials

‘Mills Selig are smart, fast, humble and value for money – I don’t think there’s any more to it for an entrepreneur – it’s surprisingly unique in my experience!’

‘Anna-Marie McAlinden and Glenn Watterson are stand out, amongst a stand out team.’

‘I have worked with Glenn Watterson on several small transactions and his delivery is superb. Communication is super; tempo and time management great; controlling the situation; protecting my interests with no ego. He’s a ‘go to’ professional.’

‘Anna-Marie I have known for a long time – and worked on transactions in property and energy. She has always been a dream to work with – and has remarkable empathy for the client which means she always goes the extra mile, and when combined with being super smart – it’s a heck of a combination.’

Key clients

Natural World Products Limited

Power On Technologies Limited

Girona Energy Limited

BSI Wind Limited

Jurgen Fuhrlander

3T Power Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Girona Energy on the contractual aspects of the “Girona Project”, which involves a smart grid ecosystem in the Causeway Coast and Glens District Council area.
  • Advised solar energy company Power On Technologies Limited on licensing issues.
  • Advised BSI Wind Limited on the sale of wind farm projects.