Energy

How the Energy Charter Treaty risks undermining the outcomes of COP 26

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.

Awards  |  December 20, 2021

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

News  |  December 18, 2021

ECT modernization negotiations continue while agreement attracts criticism for impact on climate

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.

News  |  June 24, 2021

European Energy Disputes Update

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).

Valuing Fossil Fuel Assets in an Era of Climate Disruption

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).

Modernizing the Energy Charter Treaty: What about termination?

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.

News  |  September 19, 2019

Energy Charter Treaty: EU Council endorses negotiating directives for Brussels

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’s Renewable Energy Saga: Lessons for international investment law and sustainable development

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.

News  |  June 27, 2019

EU Commission proposes negotiating directives for ECT modernization

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

Italy found liable for change in renewable energy policy in intra-EU arbitration

GREENTECH ENERGY SYSTEMS A/S & ORS. V. THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC, SCC ARBITRATION V (2015/095)

Awards  |  December 21, 2018

Achmea judgment analyzed and FET claim granted in ECT case against Spain

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)

Awards  |  December 21, 2018

Egypt found liable for the shut-down of an electricity plant during the 2011 uprising

UNIÓN FENOSA GAS, S.A. V. ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT, ICSID CASE NO. ARB/14/4

Awards  |  October 17, 2018

Spain found to have breached the Energy Charter Treaty in award by ICSID tribunal

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

ICSID tribunal finds Spain in breach of the FET standard under the Energy Charter Treaty

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

Solar energy claims brought by German investors against Czechia are dismissed

Jürgen Wirtgen, Stefan Wirtgen, Gisela Wirtgen and JSW Solar (zwei) GmbH & Co. KG v. Czech Republic, PCA Case No. 2014-03

Awards  |  September 26, 2017

All claims by Isolux Infrastructure Netherlands against Spain are dismissed

Isolux Infrastructure Netherlands B.V. v. the Kingdom of Spain, SCC Case No. V2013/153

Awards  |  September 26, 2017

Investors triumph over Spain in a claim concerning Spain’s regulatory overhaul for clean energy

Eiser Infrastructure Limited and Energía Solar Luxembourg S.à r.l. v. Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/13/36

Expansion of the Energy Charter to Africa and Asia: Undoing Reform in International Investment Law?

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.

ITN  |  March 13, 2017

Awards and Decisions

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 […]

NAFTA tribunal orders Canada to pay U.S. wind power developer more than CAD28 million

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 […]

Awards  |  August 10, 2016

Awards and Decisions

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.

Awards  |  August 10, 2016

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.

Awards  |  August 10, 2016

NAFTA tribunal dismisses claims against Canada on green energy Feed-In Tariff program

An arbitration tribunal constituted under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has issued its award subject to a dissenting opinion.

News  |  May 16, 2016

US$50 billion awards against Russia in Yukos cases are set aside by Dutch court

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.

State Strategies for the Defence of Domestic Interests in Investor–State Arbitration

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.

Awards  |  February 29, 2016

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

Does the Green Economy Need Investor–State Dispute Settlement?

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.

Awards  |  November 26, 2015

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

ITN  |  January 14, 2013

News in Brief

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 […]

ITN  |  October 30, 2012

Awards and Decisions

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 […]

ITN  |  July 19, 2012

News in Brief

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 […]

ITN  |  July 19, 2012

Trends in Investor Claims Over Feed-in Tariffs for Renewable Energy

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 […]

ITN  |  January 12, 2012

News in Brief

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 […]

Foreign investment contracts in the oil & gas sector: A survey of environmentally relevant clauses

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 […]

ITN  |  October 7, 2011

News in Brief

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 […]

ITN  |  September 23, 2010

News In Brief*

  *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 […]

ITN  |  May 11, 2010

Pan American Energy takes Bolivia to ICSID over nationalization of Chaco Petroleum

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 […]

ITN  |  May 11, 2010

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 […]

ITN  |  April 8, 2010

RSM Production Corp. files second arbitration against Grenada, sues Freshfields

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 […]

ITN  |  March 10, 2010

Tribunals have been constituted in ICSID cases involving Egypt, Cambodia and Argentina

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 […]

ITN  |  March 10, 2010

Hearings take place in dispute between Electrabel and Hungary despite snowy weather

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 […]

ITN  |  May 3, 2009

German government mum on Vattenfall ECT Claim

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 […]

ITN  |  March 27, 2009

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 […]