GREEN GUIDE EMEA 2023: Iceland
Icelandic multi-service law firm BBA Fjeldco stands out for its work in the green energy sector, particularly for its contribution to changes in legislation and the regulatory environment in the field of research and development of renewable energy sources internationally. Notably, the firm has been active in the geothermal development space, having advised leading companies domestically and globally, working on matters including securing terrain for geothermal research, PPAs, and project agreements. It has also worked with international development banks and individual countries, including Turkey, France, Djibouti and Kazakhstan, to develop a regulatory environment for renewable energy sources.
In an ongoing highlight, Baldvin Bjorn Haraldsson and Antoine Lochet are advising the Icelandic Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate in preparing a report on wind energy legislation in Scotland, Norway, Denmark, and New Zealand. The report focuses on the regulatory aspects of wind energy transition and will serve as a guiding document for Iceland’s government in deciding how to create a legislation for wind energy in the country.
Haraldsson and Lochet are also advisors to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in creating law and regulation relating to the harnessing of geothermal reservoirs in Comoros, a country highly dependent on fossil fuels. The project aims to support an enabling environment for private sector participation in developing renewable energy in the region.
In January 2017, the firm published the Geothermal Transparency Guide, which provides an insight into the legal frameworks governing the exploration and production of electricity from geothermal sources across several countries. This is likely to contribute to an eventual international cooperation for the purposes of creating industry standards in this field. The firm is also in the process of launching a website that provides information on the legal framework for renewable energy resources in over 30 countries.
Lagahvoll, an Icelandic firm founded by Daði Bjarnason and best known for its expertise in financial and corporate matters, has seen a growing practice advising on ESG matters. The firm often assists start-ups; one of its key clients is Pikkoló, a start-up company specialising in sustainable delivery platforms.
In an ongoing matter, Jóhann Tómas Sigurðsson is advising Carbon Iceland with regards to setting up a carbon capture plant in Iceland, which aims to directly capture CO2 from the atmosphere. Sigurðsson is also representing Isorka, one of the leading EV charger operators in the region, in a dispute with Icelandic power company Orka náttúrunnar and the city of Reykjavík before the district court regarding the validity of a concession agreement for EV stations in Reykjavík.
Two other clients are Beka and Vistbyggð: The firm has advised the former, a company which has developed and built some of the first eco-friendly cross-laminated timber (CLT) houses in Iceland, on various issues including the joint venture and financing of Vistbyggð, a construction company focusing on green housing. The firm then also acted for Vistbyggð in one of the first project financings of certified green housing in the country.