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Offshore Renewable Energy Development in the British Islands: Legal and Political Risk

Glen Plant


In Part 1 of this two-part article, it was argued that: offshore renewable energy development is a central pillar of United Kingdom plans for a largely decarbonised economy by mid-century; in order to reach ambitious climate change targets and budgets, and a related renewables target, step changes are needed in levels of investment in offshore generating stations, electricity transmission networks and related supply chains; and so key aims must be driving down costs and delivering for investors short-term certainty and longer-term visibility (balanced, of course, with a degree of policy flexibility). The first of the twomainmechanisms in which the law will play a major part in meeting those key aims, Electricity Market Reform (EMR), was discussed in Part 1, in the context of political and legal risk for investors, to the extent that EMR had emerged by 24 July 2013. It should be noted that the relevant political landscape has changed fundamentally since that date, warranting an update of Part 1 now. The secondmechanism, removing barriers to offshore renewable energy development through improving or introducingmajor infrastructure planning,marine planning, licensing consents, environmental management, transmission network (grid) access and use/amenity accommodation and decommissioning processes, are now discussed in this second part, following the above-mentioned update. Account will again be taken of developments in Devolved Administrations and the Crown Dependencies. The piece is up to date as of 19 September 2013.

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