GREEN GUIDE EMEA 2023: Netherlands
Multi-service Benelux law firm AKD actively advises clients on their positive contributions in mitigating climate change and supporting the energy transition. Most notably, in an ongoing matter within the emerging green litigation sector, Patrick Haas in Rotterdam has been retained by non-profit foundation Stichting Car Claim, initiating proceedings before the District Court of Amsterdam on behalf of over 400,000 Dutch car owners impacted by the diesel emission violations and manipulations attributed to manufacturers Volkswagen Group, Renault, Dacia, and Daimler.
Supporting the energy transition platform InnoEnergy in raising and investing capital, the firm has advised on €1.5bn of fundraising and €200m of investments into battery storage, green hydrogen, and renewable energy innovations. The firm has wide experience in advising public and private clients with their investments in renewable energy projects, having assisted provincial development agency OOST NL with all legal and tax services related to their new energy transition, climate adaptation, circular economy, and biodiversity investment fund.
The firm is also providing contractual, fiscal, and energy regulatory advice to support Verbrugge Terneuzen Terminals’ construction of one of the largest MW rooftop solar projects in the Netherlands, helping expand the renewable electricity capacity in Zeeland province.
Marjolein Dieperink, Amsterdam-based head of the firm’s energy team, is a professor in Energy Transition and Climate Change at the VU University in Amsterdam and a member of the Energy Reinvented Community, where she recently organised a roundtable on community participation in renewable power projects.
The firm’s internal initiatives complement its client work toward a green transition. It provides pro bono legal services to The Ocean Cleanup, advising on permits, regulations, and contracts within their mission to eliminate the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
DLA Piper in the Netherlands is involved in innovative green IT projects. Amsterdam-based IT, competition and privacy law expert Khaled Dadi is assisting Rabobank with the implementation of agroforestry carbon reduction schemes. This includes the launch of a new ‘Carbon Insights’ app which allows bank customers to track the carbon footprint of their purchasing patterns.
The firm is also involved in numerous high-value sustainable financing matters, such client Royal A-ware Food Group’s €400m ESG-linked financing provided by a syndicate of banks.
The construction group has a strong focus on renewables and is currently leading the multi-disciplinary advice to Hitachi Energy Sweden AB / Hitachi ABB Power Grid as one of the bidders in a consortium with Petrofac International (UAE) on the tender and construction of wind farms in the IJmuiden Ver wind energy area forming part of the Netherlands 2030 Offshore Roadmap with a combined capacity of 4 GW.
Globally, the firm publicly discloses its environmental impact through the CDP disclosure system and has committed to reducing absolute emissions across all SBTi scopes by 90% by 2040, and in the short term has an SBTi goal to cut scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 from 2019 levels.
Michel Chatelin and Max van Drunen led Eversheds Sutherland’s Dutch team in advising Groenleven/BayWa, a major renewable energy project developer, in a dispute with the local tax authorities regarding one of the largest floating solar parks in the region, Bomhofplas. The client argues that since the solar park is a movable property, it should be legally qualified as a ship and therefore not taxed as real property. This matter is likely to play a part in determining the future commercial viability of floating solar parks in the Netherlands. Chatelin also recently advised 2tokens Foundation on the development of infrastructure that supports an energy token enabling fractionalised ownership of renewable energy assets and the tokenisation of green certificates and energy.
The firm’s engagement goes beyond work for clients: Chatelin authored a chapter on solar energy for the Elgar Encyclopedia of Environmental Law series, and often speaks about renewable energy, having recently given an interview on the topic for Solar Magazine. Drunen publishes frequently in the field of renewable energy and lectures on building rights related to sustainable energy projects, and Natascha Geraedts, also based in the Netherlands, was a speaker at the first Global Floating Solar Conference in Amsterdam.
The firm is a UN Global Compact participant and a founding member of the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance.
HVG Law LLP
Dutch business law firm HVG Law LLP has a core ESG team to assist corporate clients with their environmental sustainability strategies, with particular expertise advising on investments and transactions in innovative green technologies.
Within the renewable energy sector, a key client is offshore developer SolarDuck. The firm provided regulatory and contractual advice in the client’s provision of its floating solar technology as part of energy company RWE’s bid for the offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust West.
Key individual Bart Wolters, who handles corporate matters within the firm’s ESG team, advised insect-based ingredient manufacturer Protix with a €50m funding round in equity. The funding supports the client’s expansion as it works to create a circular food system with a low ecological footprint.
Another client is renewable energy-focused investment and asset manager Taaleri, whom the firm advised in its investment into ecological packaging company Colombier. The investment was the first made by the client’s bioindustry fund, which is compliant with Article 9 of the EU SFDR and will invest in facilities and companies toward accelerating bioindustry production.
Also within the green innovations space, the firm advised Ioniqa Technologies, which have developed a process to infinitely recycle low-grade PET waste and consequentially replace oil-based raw materials in PET polyester production, on the investment offered by Koch Technology Solutions to scale-up the development of the innovative process.
Pro bono assistance and internal initiatives are a firm part of the team’s commitment to add value to society. As a founding member of Pro Bono Connect, the firm has extended free legal advice to NGOs including Greenpeace International. As a member of EY’s Law Network, the firm also participated in the ‘Ripples’ programme, which partnered it with climate-action initiative Life Terra to plant trees across the Netherlands.
Holla Legal & Tax
The dedicated Transition Team at Dutch full-service firm Holla Legal & Tax provides cross-practice expertise to support clients within the expansion of renewable electricity and the decarbonisation of the transport industry.
For solar park developer NRG2ALL, the firm advises on all legal matters related to the permits and zoning plans for the realisation of the client’s solar park portfolio. The firm is also mandated for all legal advice by solar park developer TPSolar, who brings a socially and ecologically sustainable approach to the Dutch energy transition through consultation with community stakeholders and close attention to local biodiversity.
Supporting the decarbonisation of the logistics industry, the firm advised Scottish engineering company Russell Group on its cooperation with a Dutch subsidiary of Hyzon Motors to facilitate the deployment of hydrogen-powered, zero-emissions vehicles in the United Kingdom. Another key client within e-mobility is ENGIE subsidiary 50five, a provider of charging solutions for electric vehicles.
Senior associate Harald Wiersema, a key figure in renewable energy mandates, moderated Klimaatweb’s conference on the regulation, market, and operation of energy storage systems. The firm is also contributing to Klimaatweb’s upcoming handbook on sustainability for municipalities, with Wiersema and associate Ko Hamelink co-authoring chapters on energy law, including on district heating and electricity regulations.
Through utilising only renewable energy, preferring procurement through sustainable suppliers, maximising recycling, and moving toward fully digital files, the firm became CO2 neutral in 2021. Additionally, the firm has obtained the ISO 14001 certification, attesting to its environmental management system.
The firm keenly contributes to green associations: It is a member of the Green Business Club in Eindhoven, which connects people, companies, and the municipality to make the area more sustainable; and of the Urban Mining Collective, which repurposes waste building materials to make them suitable for reuse.
Loyens & Loeff
In the Netherlands, European multi-service law firm Loyens & Loeff recently advised a consortium of international lenders led by ING Bank in relation to the financing of BASF’s investment in the Hollandse Kust Zuid offshore wind farm in the Dutch part of the North Sea; the matter was handled by the firm’s cross-border energy & infrastructure practice, including the teams in the Netherlands as well as Belgium. This is one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world, with around 140 wind turbines and a total installed capacity of 1.5 GW.
The team also recently assisted Plug Power, a leading provider of hydrogen solutions, with two projects: an acquisition by Frames Group which will support the client’s goal to reach an installed electrolyser capacity of 3 GW by 2025; and the development of a 100 MW green hydrogen production plant, which is expected to produce 35 tonnes of green hydrogen per day.
Another client is Pure Energie regarding all regulatory aspects of various greenfield windfarm, solar, and storage projects.
Key contact and co-chair of the energy & infrastructure team, Jan-Willem van Rooij, was recently appointed as a teacher for the new Course on Climate Change and Energy Transition at the University of Amsterdam.
Many of the firm’s offices have been awarded environmental certifications, including its Amsterdam office, which has achieved BREEAM Excellent. Furthermore, the firm is one of the founding partners of the Green Business Clubs Amsterdam Zuidas and the Rotterdam Centrum, through which it supports sustainable projects, such as the Circular Procurement Initiative.
Globally, the firm recently created an ESG focus group co-chaired by Roderik Boogaard, which assists clients with sustainable real estate, renewable energy and infrastructure, and sustainable finance and investment matters. It also launched a Green Team to help develop its internal sustainability initiatives.
Driven by a founding ambition (almost a century ago) to contribute positively to society, multi-service Dutch law firm Van Doorne is active in advising corporate clients and foundations on their opportunities to support the transition to renewable energy.
For Dutch transmission service operator Gasunie, Diederik Maessen advised on the development of its national hydrogen backbone and local hydrogen backbone in the Port of Rotterdam, assisting with the development of novel transport agreements which are critical to the Dutch industry’s adoption of green hydrogen.
Providing key experience in energy regulation, Léone Klapwijk advised cooperative association Energie Coöperatie KetelhuisWG in relation to its transition to using sustainable aquathermal heat, rather than natural gas, for its district heating system.
The firm also advised the supervisory board of electricity grid operator Stedin Group on governance matters regarding a €200m equity contribution which will facilitate investments in the energy transition and the feed-in of renewable energy into the electricity grids.
A key client among sustainable enterprises is venture capital fund Rubio Impact Ventures; the firm advised on the incorporation of its funds and with investments. Investment targets include RIFT, who are developing iron fuel as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, and De Warmte, who are offering a CO2-neutral heat supply through transforming domestic wastewater into energy.
A further client is the 75inQ foundation, which – identifying how energy industry boardrooms are male-dominated, despite the consequences of energy poverty predominantly being borne by women – seeks to accelerate the green transition by promoting gender equality within the energy sector.
As a member of the Green Business Club, the firm exchanges knowledge, expertise, and best practices on sustainable projects. Internally, the firm maps its CO2 footprint to become conscious of the opportunities to reduce its energy and paper consumption, and has consequentially adopted sustainable electricity and water sources.