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Australia is one part of a global movement toward clean energy, including energy generation, supply chains and transportation.
The kinds of projects being delivered are diverse, including those required to produce clean energy, and all ‘supporting’ projects crucial to the energy transition such as storage and mining. A few examples include:
- ‘big batteries’, both artificial (such as lithium-ion battery terminal stations), natural (such as pumped hydro) and hybrid (such as compressed air energy storage) storage solutions
- hydrogen generation and supply chains
- ancillary industries including electrolyser manufacturing and ammonia production facilities
- wind farms, both onshore and offshore
- industrial scale solar arrays
- carbon capture and storage technologies
- increased transmission interconnectivity, including overland transmission lines and subsea transmission cables
- projects which combine these elements (eg solar or wind farms in a remote location, linked to the place of supply by subsea cables).
The law (private and public) and practice relating to the successful planning, procurement, risk allocation and delivery of these projects is equally diverse, and evolving. Certain aspects of that law and practice is unique to Australia, however Australia's clean energy future is part of global technological ecosystems and supply chains, and global trends continue to influence the legal and practical issues arising from these kinds of projects.
This subject seeks to provide students with an understanding of the private and public law affecting these projects individually, and the overarching themes that connect these projects as part of a global trend.
This subject seeks to equip lawyers and industry professionals with the expertise required to provide appropriate advice, or suggest regulatory reforms, in relation to projects in the clean energy transition. In particular, it will explore the issues which arise due to the untested technologies implemented in this transition, a new and evolving landscape of regulatory frameworks, and ancillary issues such as supply chain security, local community engagement and the rise of governments mandating ‘friend-shoring’.
The subject lecturers are Sean Kelly and Raeesa Rawal, senior lawyers in Melbourne and London respectively who are working on the global clean energy transition.
The subject will take students through a life cycle of a clean energy project from initiation through to resolving disputes and decommissioning.
Principal topics will include:
- Introduction to the clean energy transition and overview of the kinds of projects that are involved.
- Project funding, equity and ownership structures, insurance issues on projects involving nascent international supply chains and cross-border joint ventures.
- Planning, approvals and environmental regulation, and project envelope, including various Australian state/territory and Commonwealth environmental and planning regulatory regimes, land rights and water access issues, and potential application of royalty regimes.
- Procurement and contracting models, risk allocation issues and delivery risks on a project type-by-type basis, including hypothetical risk scenarios and lessons learned from Australian and international jurisprudence.
- Transmission and connectivity issues, such as high-voltage above ground transmission, subsea cables, trucking and pipeline reform, such as State-based pipeline legislation and Commonwealth Heavy Vehicle National Law and Regulations.
- OH&S framework, including Safety on-site: construction sites, sites involving handling of dangerous substances, and Australian state/territory-based dangerous goods legislation.
- International investment and trade, including Investor-state dispute settlement and international shipping standards for nascent assets (eg, liquified hydrogen) and the UN Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject should be able to:
- Identify elements of the clean energy transition in Australia, including project types, regulatory contexts and key risks.
- Evaluate and analyse the current legal, regulatory and common contractual frameworks relevant to the clean energy transition in Australia.
- Apply hypothetical clean energy project scenarios to the current legal, regulatory and common contractual frameworks relevant to the clean energy transition in Australia.
- Explain and analyse potential future development of the legal, regulatory and common contractual frameworks relevant to the clean energy transition in Australia.
- Survey and research issues arising on historically analogous projects and analyse and apply research outcomes to hypothetical clean energy project scenarios and potential future development of the legal, regulatory and common contractual frameworks relevant to the clean energy transition in Australia.
- Contribute meaningfully to ongoing discussions in this field to optimise policy outcomes.
- An advanced understanding of the changing knowledge base in the relevant area(s) of law.
- An ability to investigate, evaluate, synthesise and apply existing knowledge in the relevant area(s) with creativity and initiative.
- The capacity to effectively communicate complex legal ideas and theories, orally and in writing, to a variety of audiences.
- An appreciation of the way in which knowledge provides a foundation for leadership.
- An understanding of the significance and value of knowledge to the wider community.
- The capacity to engage with issues in contemporary society.
- An advanced working skills in the use of new technology.
Last updated: 10 November 2023