This article provides an initial assessment of the ECT-based arbitration risk flowing from the COP 26 pledges due to their impact on fossil fuel investments in ECT contracting parties. It further estimates how these impacts could translate into investor–state arbitration claims based on past and ongoing cases in the energy sector.
Spain held liable in another renewable energy case and ordered to pay EUR 22 million in compensation for damages
BayWa r.e. Renewable Energy GmbH and BayWa r.e. Asset Holding GmbH v. Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/16
Since our last report, two more negotiation rounds have taken place on ECT modernization. The seventh round took place from October 28–November 1, 2021, while the eighth round was held from November 9–11, 2021.
As we reported, German-owned energy company Uniper put the Netherlands on notice of an investment dispute last year, following the announcement of the country’s plan to phase out coal-burning power plants by 2030. Alongside RWE, another German energy company, Uniper made good on that threat earlier this year; both companies initiated ICSID claims lodged under the ECT this spring.
Tribunal rules in favour of claimants in another Spanish solar dispute; Dissenting arbitrator argues that tribunal nonetheless over-emphasized Spain’s “right to regulate”
In another renewables case against Spain, an ICSID tribunal awarded over EUR 28 million to two subsidiaries of the German company RWE (jointly, RWE).
There have been more than 150 known ISDS cases brought by claimants whose business involves extracting, transporting, refining, selling, or burning fossil fuels for electricity. The authors, Kyla Tienhaara, Lise Johnson, and Michael Burger explore the question of how valuation and damages in fossil-fuel related investment claims should be approached in light of climate change considerations and the contested value of fossil fuel resources.
The Treaty on Sustainable Investment for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: A model to steer international law toward renewable energy investments and the low-carbon transition
In this piece, the author analyzes the Treaty on Sustainable Investment for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation (“TSI”), winner of the Stockholm Treaty Lab prize. First, she presents the TSI as a model that states could adopt to foster international investment in the transition from carbon-intensive to low-carbon energy systems. Second, she comments on some challenges in implementing the TSI model and propose possible improvements in this regard. Third, she analyzes how the TSI could be used to improve current and future bilateral investment treaties (BITs).
Negotiations for modernizing the Energy Charter Treaty, a 1994 agreement covering trade, investment and other aspects of the energy sector among its contracting parties, are expected to begin before 2019 draws to a close. Yet given the need identified in myriad other forums to reform ISDS and to ensure trade and investment agreements can support ambitious climate action, why aren’t more officials and commentators discussing the possibility of terminating the ECT entirely, or of reconsidering its survival clause for those parties which choose to withdraw? Tania Voon explores the issue and outlines options going forward.
The European Council has approved negotiating directives for the EU’s participation in talks to modernize the ECT, confirming its decision during a meeting on July 2, 2019.
Spain has faced approximately 40 arbitrations since it made the decision in 2010 to rescind or revise various regulatory measures aimed at drawing in greater investments into renewable energy projects. This article examines the awards issued in four of those cases, looking in particular at how the tribunals interpreted and applied the FET standard. The author looks at the potential problems that can emerge when states are unsure of how any given tribunal may interpret FET or other key standards and presents some potential solutions.
The EC released on May 14 a set of draft negotiating directives setting out its proposed approach in “modernizing” the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).
ICSID tribunal finds Spain breached ECT obligations by failing to provide a reasonable rate of return
RREEF INFRASTRUCTURE (G.P.) LIMITED AND RREEF PAN-EUROPEAN INFRASTRUCTURE TWO LUX S.A R.L. V. KINGDOM OF SPAIN, ICSID CASE NO. ARB/13/30
Investors’ legitimate expectation claims against Italy dismissed due to the absence of specific commitments
BLUSUN S.A., JEAN-PIERRE LECORCIER AND MICHAEL STEIN V. ITALIAN REPUBLIC, ICSID CASE NO. ARB/14/3
GREENTECH ENERGY SYSTEMS A/S & ORS. V. THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC, SCC ARBITRATION V (2015/095)
FORESIGHT LUXEMBOURG SOLAR 1 S.À.R.L., FORESIGHT LUXEMBOURG SOLAR 2 S.À.R.L., GREENTECH ENERGY SYSTEMS A/S, GWM RENEWABLE ENERGY I S.P.A. AND GWM RENEWABLE ENERGY II S.P.A. V. THE KINGDOM OF SPAIN, SCC ARBITRATION V (2015/150)
UNIÓN FENOSA GAS, S.A. V. ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT, ICSID CASE NO. ARB/14/4
ANTIN INFRASTRUCTURE SERVICES LUXEMBOURG S.À.R.L. AND ANTIN ENERGIA TERMOSOLAR B.V. V. THE KINGDOM OF SPAIN, ICSID CASE NO. ARB/13/31
MASDAR SOLAR & WIND COOPERATIEF U.A. V. THE KINGDOM OF SPAIN, ICSID CASE NO. ARB/14/1
Luxembourg fund awarded EUR 53.3 million for FET breach arising out of Spain’s curtailment of renewable energy incentive schemes
NOVENERGIA II – ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT (SCA) (GRAND DUCHY OF LUXEMBOURG), SICAR V. THE KINGDOM OF SPAIN, SCC CASE NO. 063/2015
Jürgen Wirtgen, Stefan Wirtgen, Gisela Wirtgen and JSW Solar (zwei) GmbH & Co. KG v. Czech Republic, PCA Case No. 2014-03
Isolux Infrastructure Netherlands B.V. v. the Kingdom of Spain, SCC Case No. V2013/153
Eiser Infrastructure Limited and Energía Solar Luxembourg S.à r.l. v. Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/13/36
The Energy Charter Secretariat is in expansion mode, wanting to gain access to energy resources in Africa and Asia for its members—and extending a far-reaching and outdated investment protection system to investments in resource-rich countries.
ICSID tribunal dismisses claims brought against Indonesia based on forged mining licences Churchill Mining PLC and Planet Mining Pty Ltd v. Republic of Indonesia, ICSID Case No. ARB/12/14 and ICSID Case No. ARB/12/40 Inaê Siqueira de Oliveira [*] After rendering separate decisions on jurisdiction¾one for the case brought by British company Churchill Mining PLC under the United […]
Windstream Energy LLC v. Government of Canada, PCA Case No. 2013-22 An arbitral tribunal under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has reached the award stage. Although dismissing the discrimination and indirect expropriation claims, the tribunal upheld the claim of failure to provide fair and equitable treatment (FET), and ordered Canada […]
The long-expected final award has been rendered in the high-profile case initiated by tobacco giant Philip Morris in early 2010 against Uruguay over its tobacco control measures.
ICSID tribunal upholds Panama’s abuse of process objection; Transglobal to pay arbitration costs and most of Panama’s legal expenses
In the proceeding brought by Transglobal Green Energy, LLC (a U.S.-based company) and Transglobal Green Panama S.A. (a Panama-based company) against Panama under the United States–Panama bilateral investment treaty (BIT), an ICSID tribunal accepted Panama’s abuse of process objection.
An arbitration tribunal constituted under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has issued its award subject to a dissenting opinion.
In a judgment dated April 20, 2016, the District Court of The Hague, in the Netherlands, set aside awards that had ordered Russia to pay US$50 billion to the shareholders of Yukos, a bankrupt oil company.
Slovenia is condemned to pay €20 million in damages and US$10 million in costs to Croatian national electric company
An award rendered on December 17, 2015 by an arbitral tribunal constituted under the auspices of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) added a new—and apparently final—chapter to a nearly 20-year-old conflict between the governments of Croatia and Slovenia over the supply of electricity generated by the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (Krško NPP), located in Slovenia.
Argentina and Ecuador are now well experienced in ISDS and have had some success in defending domestic interests from investor claims. Lessons from these prior experiences could benefit other countries, particularly in the developing world, as they devise their legal defence strategies.
ICSID tribunal dismisses final claim for compensation in relation to Hungary’s 2008 termination of power purchase agreement
Electrabel S.A. v. Republic of Hungary, ICSID Case No. ARB/07/1
Those that propose that the environment needs “more investment protection” are recommending a very long-term solution (of questionable efficacy) to what is essentially a short-term problem.
Energorynok had no ownership or control over energy-related economic activity; ECT case against Moldova dismissed
State Enterprise “Energorynok” (Ukraine) v. The Republic of Moldova, SCC Arbitration V (2012/175)
Tribunal found Mongolia liable for unlawful expropriation and awarded more than US$80 million in damages
Khan Resources Inc., Khan Resources B.V. and CAUC Holding Company Ltd. v. The Government of Mongolia and MonAtom LLC, PCA Case No. 2011-09
Canada receives investor complaints over provincial energy and environment policies In recent months the government of Canada has received two complaints related to energy and environmental policies adopted by its provinces. Both investors have served Ottawa with notices of intent to submit a claim to arbitration under NAFTA’s investment chapter. A Delaware-based energy firm is […]
Majority declines jurisdiction in claim against Argentina over domestic litigation requirement Daimler Financial Services AG v. Argentine Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/05/1 Damon Vis-Dunbar A claim against Argentina by a subsidiary of the German automotive firm Daimler A.G. has failed on its merits because the claimant did not first bring the dispute to court in […]
Vattenfall launches new claim against Germany The Swedish state-run energy firm Vattenfall has launched a second claim against Germany. The claim stems from Germany’s May 2011 decision to phase-out its nuclear power plants, in which 8 plants have been shuttered and the remaining 9 plants to be closed over the next decade. While Germany has […]
As governments increasingly turn to renewable energy to mitigate climate change, domestic climate-related policies in the form of price support measures such as feed-in tariffs (FiTs) have played an important role in stimulating the much needed investment—public and private, domestic and foreign—in the sector. Feed-in tariffs are characterized by guaranteed electricity purchase prices (set higher […]
Philip Morris files for arbitration over intellectual property dispute with Australia The tobacco company Philip Morris filed for arbitration on 21 November 2011, claiming the government of Australia’s regulations on cigarette branding breach the Hong Kong-Australia bilateral investment treaty. The announcement arrived on the same day that the Australian Parliament passed legislation that bans most […]
The oil and gas industry faces increasingly strict environmental standards in developed countries. However, the majority of the world’s proven oil reserves are in developing countries and economies in transition, which often lack sophisticated regimes for environmental protection. Even when legislative frameworks are well developed, there are often deficiencies in capacity and an unwillingness to […]
More legal woes for Canada’s Feed-in Tariff program for renewable energy Canada could soon be faced with arbitration for alleged breach of its obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). On 6 July 2011, a Texas-based company, Mesa Power Group LLC, served Canada with a Notice of Intent to Submit a Claim to […]
*These are abridged versions of articles originally published by the independent news service Investment Arbitration Reporter (http://www.iareporter.com/). They are used with permission and may not be reproduced without the express permission of IAReporter. Parties announce settlement of dispute over German power plant 28.8.2010 A Swedish power company and the Federal Republic of Germany […]
By Fernando Cabrera Diaz May 11, 2010 Anglo-Argentinean energy firm Pan American Energy (PAE) has initiated arbitration against Bolivia over the nationalization of its subsidiary Chaco Petroleum by the Morales government in 2009. The arbitration was registered by ICSID on April 12 2010, despite Bolivia having withdrawn from the ICSID Convention in 2007. A PAE […]
American gas services firm Exterran files for arbitration against Venezuela over nationalized assets
By Fernando Cabrera Diaz May 11, 2010 (NOTE: A correction has been made to this article. An explanation is posted below) Houston-based Exterran Holdings has taken Venezuela to ICSID over the nationalization of its gas services support business in the country. The arbitration, registered by ICSID on April 12, 2010, is the second in as […]
By Fernando Cabrera Diaz April 8, 2010 On March 16, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) registered a second arbitration initiated by Denver-based RSM Production Corp against Grenada over the latter’s termination of the company’s exclusive oil rights off the coast of the island nation. RSM has claimed that corrupt Grenadian officials […]
By Elizabeth Whitsitt March 11, 2010 In the past two months, arbitral tribunals have been convened in a few ICSID arbitrations. Most recently, a tribunal was constituted in a dispute initiated by an American investor against the Republic of Egypt in relation to the alleged expropriation of its investment in the Arab Republic’s hotel and […]
By Elizabeth Whitsitt March 11, 2010 Despite snow storm interruptions a tribunal, composed of Mr. V.V. Vedeer, Ms. Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler, and Ms. Brigitte Stern, heard the merits of the dispute between Belgium-based energy firm Electrabel SA and Hungary last month. Along with AES Summit Generation Limited v. Republic of Hungary, the Electrabel SA v. Republic […]
By Damon Vis-Dunbar 2 May 2009 The German government has declined to provide information on an investment dispute with the European utility Vattenfall on the grounds that it is against government policy to comment or disclose information on pending arbitrations. As has been reported in the financial press, Vattenfall is bringing the German government to international […]
Tribunal deniega alegato de necesidad en laudo recientemente publicado: National Grid p.l.c. c. República Argentina
Por Elizabeth Whitsitt 2 de Marzo, 2009 En un laudo recientemente publicado, un tribunal constituido conforme a una solicitud de arbitraje bajo las reglas de arbitraje de la Comisión de Naciones Unidas para el Derecho Mercantil Internacional (CNUDMI) encontró culpable a la República Argentina por los daños infringidos a National Grid p.l.c. por un total […]