Energy in Northern Ireland
A&L Goodbody has a strong track record of advising lenders on complex, high-value energy projects, as well as handling high-profile M&A transactions in the sector, including the sale and acquisition of wind, solar and anaerobic digestion (AD) projects. The team also has expertise in electricity and gas regulation, and acts on energy sector disputes. The team is led by Mark Thompson and project finance specialist Ciaran McAlinney. Newly promoted partner Mark Stockdale is particularly noted for his regulatory advice.
Mark Thompson; Ciaran McAlinney
Other key lawyers:
‘A&L Goodbody has a very experienced banking team who have extensive knowledge in structuring and documenting complex energy-related project finance transactions.‘
‘Ciaran McAlinney is highly experienced and intelligent, thorough, detailed, hardworking and easy to deal with. He inspires a high level of trust and confidence.‘
‘Mark Stockdale has excellent knowledge of the energy and renewables sector and complements the banking team on energy-related transactions. He has a strong network in the energy sector, and is very approachable and easy to deal with.‘
Greencoat UK Wind
Renewable Energy Systems
Gas Networks Ireland
First Trust/AIB Bank
- Advising Action Renewables on establishing the Renewable Heat Association as a special interest group to represent the owners of non-domestic biomass boilers who availed of the Northern Ireland Renewable Heat Incentive. This was in response to the highly publicised RHI scandal which ultimately led to the collapse of the Northern Irish government.
- Acting as lead adviser to Brookfield Renewables as the purchaser of the 23MW Elginny wind farm, and on the project financing of the wind farm immediately post acquisition.
- Advising the lender on the Northern Ireland aspects of a bond issue to fund the development of a gas transmission pipeline.
- Advising Viridian Power and Energy Limited on the acquisition of Huntstown Bioenergy Limited.
- Acting for Bayern as lender to the purchaser of a large portfolio of operational single wind turbines.
Carson McDowell has advised on a range of significant regional energy projects, including the construction of gas distribution networks and power stations, and the sale, acquisition and project financing of wind turbine and AD projects. The team has recently expanded its client base to include a number of energy sector businesses and utilities companies. Practice head Neasa Quigley specialises in M&A and equity funding in the sector. Gary McGhee and Emma Cooper advise on the planning and property aspects of energy projects.
Simple Power Limited
Northern Ireland Networks Limited
System Operator for Northern Ireland
Renewable Energy Systems Limited
Scotia Gas Networks Limited
- Representing the owners of Simple Power Limited, which has the largest portfolio of 250k single wind turbines in Northern Ireland, in its sale to Foresight Group.
- Acting for Northern Ireland Electricity Networks on its £350m bond issue to support an investment programme.
- Advising the supply and distribution sides of the Firmus Energy business across a broad range of energy-related matters.
- Advising SONI on the North-South Interconnector project connecting the electricity grids of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
- Advising Renewable Energy Systems on the judicial review of a planning decision in respect of its proposed seven-turbine wind farm (known as Barr Cregg wind farm).
Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP acts for public and private sector clients in the energy sector, including utilities, energy companies and government bodies, and is advising a number of new investment fund and lender clients on high-value investments in energy projects in Northern Ireland. The team also advises on regulatory issues. Practice head Richard Murphy is 'very knowledgeable in the energy industry across Ireland'.
Other key lawyers:
Laura Donnelly; Michael Hamill
‘The team’s client empathy is second to none. This, combined with a “value for money” service which is continually delivered in a prompt and knowledgeable manner, makes this practice unique.’
‘The standout is Richard Murphy, who is always empathetic to clients’ business requirements and budget. Despite being a particularly “in demand” individual, he remains a very accessible contact. Richard is also a very affable individual who is a pleasure to work with.’
‘Solicitor Matthew McMurray is a very pleasant, approachable and “nothing is a problem” character who will always work to provide an appropriately considered, yet prompt response to any request asked of him.‘
‘Richard Murphy has excellent technical knowledge.‘
Vayu Limited (t/aNaturgy)
The Renewable Infrastructure Group (TRIG)
The Foresight Group LLP
SL Capital Infrastructure (Aberdeen Standard Investments)
Scottish Equity Partners
- Advising Mutual Energy on a £250m infrastructure project to bring natural gas to counties Tyrone, Londonderry and Fermanagh.
- Acting for Foresight Group LLP on the acquisition of Simple Power Limited, including its portfolio of 52 operational onshore wind turbines located across Northern Ireland.
- Advising Greencoat Capital on the Northern Irish aspects of the acquisition of Brockaghboy wind farm.
- Advising SSE Airtricity on requirements related to the integrated single electricity market (I-SEM).
- Acting for Scottish Equity Partners on the acquisition of seven onshore wind turbines from a local developer.
Arthur Cox Belfast is known for its strength in advising on large energy sector M&A, particularly cross-border transactions, financing for conventional and renewable energy projects, and energy regulation. The team has been particularly active advising on onshore wind projects across the island of Ireland, and also assists with natural resources issues such as mining. The practice is led by chairman Alan Taylor and Dublin-based Alex McLean, and also includes Paul McBride.
Alan Taylor; Alex McLean
Other key lawyers:
Premier Transmission Limited
Belfast Gas Transmission Limited
Power NI Energy t/a PowerNI
Department for the Economy
Kingspan Environmental Limited
Island Green Power
- Advising arc21, a body formed by six Northern Ireland councils, on the grid connection application for its energy-from-waste generator.
- Advising Premier Transmission, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mutual Energy Limited (the owner of three of the four gas transmission pipelines in Northern Ireland), on the extension of a transportation agreement.
- Advising Gas Market Operator for Northern Ireland on gas transportation issues.
- Advising Phoenix Natural Gas on its terms and conditions relating to gas connections to comply with new licence conditions imposed by the Utility Regulator.
- Acting for Barclays as joint lead manager on the Northern Irish aspects of the £350m bond provided to NIE Networks.
Cleaver Fulton Rankin's wide-ranging client base includes renewable developers, UK and international investment funds, banks, large utilities, system operators and regulatory bodies. The 'strong' team advises on the financing of significant energy projects, high-profile M&A transactions in the energy sector, and regulatory issues. Stephen Cross, who has particular expertise in energy regulation and project finance, leads the team. Karen Blair and Joe Marley handle the planning and real estate aspects of energy transactions.
Equitix Investment Management
Electricity Supply Board
- Acting for Equitix Investment Management in its successful bid to purchase Firmus Energy, one of the largest local natural gas distributors and suppliers in Northern Ireland.
- Advising EirGrid plc and SONI Limited, the system operators in Ireland and Northern Ireland, on the European Market Integration Project (EMIP) which was implemented in Ireland and Northern Ireland in October 2018.
- Acting for Blackbee Investment Limited on its financing of six wind turbine projects in Northern Ireland.
- Advising Assured Energy on the development of AD biomass plants.
- Acting for Close Brothers Asset Finance on its financing of a number of renewables projects across Northern Ireland.
TLT is particularly active in the renewables market, with expertise in advising on the development, acquisition, funding and disposal of clean energy generation projects, including onshore and offshore wind, solar and biomass projects. The team acts for a range of utilities, developers, funders and investors. The practice is led by Andrew Ryan, who stands out for his 'knowledge, responsiveness and flexibility', while Kevin Murphy handles the real estate aspects of energy projects. Sarah Ewing moved to Shoosmiths LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘TLT stands out for its ability to offer seamless energy specialist resource across all relevant UK jurisdictions.’
‘Andrew Ryan’s knowledge and experience of the Northern Ireland energy market – particularly in relation to power purchase agreements and the recent I-SEM changes – is invaluable.‘
SQN Asset Finance Income Fund Limited
M.J.M. Marine Limited
H6 Energy Limited
ABO Wind NI Ltd
B9 Organic Energy/Granville EcoPark Ltd
Albion Community Power plc
Industrial Finance & Leasing
Vortex Projects Limited
SSE Renewables Developments (UK) Limited
- Advising H6 Energy Limited in relation to a proposed sale of one of the largest optioned solar farm sites in Northern Ireland to Elgin Energy Limited.
- Advising ABO Wind NI Ltd on a number of planning applications for wind farms in Northern Ireland, including a major infrastructure application for a proposed wind farm in the Mourne Mountains.
- Acting for Brookfield on a number of planning applications for wind farms in Northern Ireland.
- Advising B9/Granville on a number of issues in relation to the ongoing development and operation of a large-scale AD plant in Dungannon.
- Advising Albion Community Power plc on the acquisition of a portfolio of single 250kW wind turbines across Northern Ireland from Wind NI Ltd.
John McKee Solicitors is noted for its 'significant industry knowledge and experience'; practice head Alan Bissett, who joined the firm in June 2018 from an in-house role at AES, 'knows everything there is to know about the power sector in Northern Ireland'. The team has expanded its client base to include electricity and fuel distributors, government bodies, power stations and AD facility operators. The team has been particularly active advising on high-profile M&A transactions in the energy sector.
‘Alan Bissett’s knowledge of his clients’ business (and the industry) is wide ranging.‘
‘Alan Bissett is an extremely pragmatic lawyer who provides advice in a timely, efficient manner. His availability makes him stand out from his competitors – he does whatever he can to make himself available and provides a true “Rolls-Royce” service. He is the only true energy specialist in Northern Ireland.‘
‘John McKee Solicitors has top-notch local knowledge of both the legal landscape and the industry trends delivered in a way that clients can quickly understand.‘
‘In addition to being a massive store of knowledge of both the legal structure and the Northern Irish electricity industry generally, Alan Bissett is also an excellent commercial attorney who can help navigate any issues.‘
‘Alan Bissett knows the sector and is straightforward to work with.‘
‘Alan Bissett is a great communicator, with the ability to clearly explain complex issues and identify options and impacts or risks.‘
‘Alan Bissett really knows the Northern Irish electricity market. His commercial and business insights are invaluable and he is in total command of the legal issues. He is able to communicate those extremely well, to colleagues and clients and in negotiation. A complete joy to work with.’
AES Ballylumford Power Limited
AES Kilroot Limited
Department of Finance
Nicholls’ (Fuel Oils) Limited
The AES Corporation
- Advises AES Kilroot Power Limited on all energy-related matters, including contract negotiations to ensure the Kilroot Power Station remained in operation.
- Representing Nicholls’ (Fuel Oils) Limited in its acquisition of the oil distribution business of DCC Energy Limited in Northern Ireland.
- Advising AES Ballylumford Limited on all energy-related matters, including statutory and other emergency fuel-stocking requirements in Northern Ireland.
- Acting for AES Corporation on the sale by auction of Northern Ireland’s biggest power stations, Ballylumford and Kilroot, to Czech company Energeticky a Prumyslovy Holding (EPH) for approximately £163m.
Millar McCall Wylie LLP advises on corporate transactions in the energy sector, including restructures, joint ventures and high-value M&A. In addition, the team assists with the development and financing of energy projects, particularly in the renewables sector, including wind, solar/PV and biomass schemes. The team also advises on regulatory and compliance issues. Andrew Kerr, who has particular expertise in the renewables sector, leads the practice.
Scottish Power Renewables (UK) Limited
- Representing a local bank in respect of £1m of facilities being made available for the construction of an AD generation facility in Northern Ireland.
- Acting for a major energy provider in respect of the repowering of one of its wind farms.
- Advising on the £30m sale of a multi-turbine wind farm in County Antrim.
Mills Selig advises on the acquisition, financing and disposal of energy projects, including biomass, hydro, geothermal and wind energy developments. The team also assists with contracts for the supply of energy, including natural gas and electricity generated by wind turbines. Clients include conventional and renewable energy generators and distributors. Practice head Anna-Marie McAlinden specialises in the property aspects of energy projects.
Tughans' 'friendly and capable' team has a wide-ranging client base which includes banks, utilities, developers, transmission system operators and public bodies. The team advises on energy sector M&A, with particular strength in cross-border transactions, and also assists with the financing of major energy projects. John-George Willis leads the practice, while Andrew Kirke, who was recently promoted to director, has expertise in the regulatory and contractual aspects of energy transactions.
Other key lawyers:
Adman Civil Engineering
Northern Ireland Water
Lissan Coal Company
- Acting for the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, an independent non-departmental public body, in developing new terms and conditions for suppliers.
- Advising the B9 Energy group on a number of ongoing energy-related matters, including contracts with technology suppliers.
- Acting for ND Berry & Sons in connection with the development on the client’s farm of an AD plant by Isle of Man company United Renewables Ltd.
- Advising SONI, the sole operator of the high-voltage electricity transmission network in Ireland, on the negotiation of a contract with AES Kilroot Power Limited to allow its plant at Kilroot Power Station to remain open for a further year to provide system support services to the Northern Ireland grid.
- Advising Adman Civil Projects Limited on a number of wind farm projects both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.