Power & Utilities

Our experienced Power & Utilities legal team regularly publishes articles and updates – the full list of publications appears below. These publications provide a snapshot of the latest legislation, court cases, policy changes and contentious issues. If you'd like to be notified when we add new publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

For publications in other legal areas see our recent publications page.

Power & Utilities Publications

  • Focus: Predictive coding: the future of electronic document production?

    25 February 2016

    A recent decision of the English High Court may pave the way for the use of 'predictive coding' in large scale discovery and regulatory investigations in Australia. Partners Nick Rudge and Duncan Travis, Managing Associate Kate Austin and Associate Emily Giblin look at the benefits and risks of the new software.

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  • Focus: Australia has lifted certain sanctions on Iran

    18 February 2016

    In response to recent confirmation that Iran has met its international nuclear commitments, the Australian Government has lifted all nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions against that country. Partner Rachel Nicolson, Managing Associate Hilary Birks and Associate Sarah Jenkins report on what has changed and the potential opportunities for Australian businesses.

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  • Client Update: Across Australia and to Paris - Recent developments in the nuclear fuel cycle

    23 December 2015

    Partner Richard Malcolmson, Senior Associate Emily Gerrard and Associate Emily Johnstone report on recent developments in the Australian nuclear fuel cycle debate, including: the recent shortlisting of potential sites by the Australian Government for a radioactive waste management facility; the conclusion of the uranium export deal between Australia and India; and potential implications for nuclear energy following the 'COP21' climate change negotiations in Paris.

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  • Focus: COP21 and the Paris Agreement

    14 December 2015

    Over the weekend in Paris, two weeks of negotiations culminated in the adoption by all parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of a conference decision and Paris Agreement to address climate change. The combined Paris Outcome commits parties to limit global temperature rise to 'well below 2°C' with an aspirational target of a 1.5°C limit. Co-Heads of the Allens Climate Change Group, Andrew Mansour and Emily Gerrard (who attended COP21) provide initial comments on the Paris Outcome below.

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  • Report: Green Bonds: emergence of the Australian and Asian markets

    23 October 2015

    The global market for Green Bonds continues to grow steadily, driven by strong investor demand and the continual need for capital to finance 'green' projects.

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  • Client Update: Environment Minister appoints Wind Farm Committee and Commissioner

    19 October 2015

    Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has appointed Andrew Dyer as Australia's first National Wind Farm Commissioner and has announced the membership of the Independent Scientific Committee on Wind Turbines. The Commissioner and the Committee will report separately to the Australian Parliament on their progress, with their roles up for review after an initial three-year term. Partner Chris Schulz and Associate Emily Johnstone report.

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  • Client Update: Queensland Productivity Commission inquires into electricity pricing and solar feed-in tariff

    26 August 2015

    The new Queensland Productivity Commission's first two inquiries are into electricity pricing and solar feed-in tariffs. Partner John Hedge and Associate Andrea Moffatt look at the implications for industry.

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  • Client Update: Deal announced on revised Renewable Energy Target

    19 May 2015

    The Federal Government and Labor opposition yesterday announced that they had reached a long-awaited agreement to lower the Renewable Energy Target from 41,000GWh to 33,000GWh. Partner Grant Anderson and Senior Associate Alex Purtill report.

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  • Focus: Federal Government releases Energy White Paper

    13 April 2015

    The Federal Government has released its long-anticipated Energy White Paper, outlining the Government's policy on strategic issues facing the energy sector in Australia. Partner and Government Sector Leader Paul Kenny, Associate Amelia Hanscombe and Lawyer Alexandra Lanyon provide an overview of its key findings and recommendations.

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  • Focus: WA Electricity Market Review - Government says 'yes' to Contestability, but 'no' to privatisation

    27 March 2015

    The WA State Government has rejected recommendations for significant and transformational structural changes to the state's electricity market in response to the recently released Electricity Market Review Options Paper, opting instead for measured and incremental change. Partners Andrew Pascoe and Ben Farnsworth comment on the announced policy agenda, its 'winners and losers' and what we can expect from here in relation to electricity market reform in Western Australia.

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  • Focus: A series of 'firsts' under the National Electricity Law

    3 March 2015

    The Federal Court has issued the first court-ordered civil penalties for breaches of the National Electricity Rules, demonstrating a willingness to apply an 'agreed pecuniary penalty' negotiated by regulators and respondents. This decision is important not just to the energy sector but also to businesses operating in other highly regulated industries. Government sector leader and Partner Paul Kenny and Associate Amelia Hanscombe report.

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  • Client Update: What does the change of government mean for Queensland's energy and resources sector?

    13 February 2015

    With the results of the Queensland election having now been declared and the Labor Party invited to form government (with the support of an independent), Partner Ben Zillmann , Managing Associate John Hedge and Associate Andrea Moffatt look at the key policies announced by Labor before the election that could impact on the energy and resources sector.

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  • Focus: NSW rewrites regulation of private water and sewage infrastructure

    26 November 2014

    New legislation makes important changes to the regulatory scheme applying to private water and sewage infrastructure in NSW. In particular, the reforms change the way in which water infrastructure is approved and licenced by the NSW Government. Partner Andrew Mansour and Lawyer Jerome Entwisle discuss the amendments and impacts on the water industry in NSW.

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  • Focus: Senate passes Emissions Reduction Fund legislation

    10 November 2014

    The Senate has passed legislation for the establishment of an emissions reduction fund to purchase carbon abatement, which also includes a framework for a safeguard mechanism under which large emitting facilities may be penalised for exceeding their emissions baseline. Partner Grant Anderson and Lawyer Daniel Coelho report.

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  • Focus: Victorian Government releases major energy sector statement

    3 November 2014

    The Victorian Government has issued a statement setting out its view of the state's strategic objectives for the energy sector and the Government's energy priorities. Energy, Resources & Infrastructure Partner and Government Sector Leader Paul Kenny, and Associate Monique Donato, provide an overview.

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  • Focus: Potential water infrastructure projects identified by the Commonwealth Government

    22 October 2014

    The Commonwealth Government this week released its Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper outlining policy ideas for improving water management to meet the future water demands of the agriculture sector. The Green Paper sets out principles for Commonwealth involvement in water infrastructure projects and identifies 27 projects that could warrant possible Commonwealth investment. Partner Kate Axup, Senior Associate Michael Zissis and Lawyer Danielle Atkin report.

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  • Client Update: Major water reform in Queensland to affect all water users with significant changes for the resources industry

    25 September 2014

    The Queensland Government has introduced amending legislation that will significantly reform all parts of water regulation in Queensland. The reform introduces significant streamlining opportunities but also new obligations, particularly for those in the resources industry. Partner Bill McCredie, Special Counsel Philip Murray and Senior Associate Gobind Kalsi report.

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  • Focus: New stormwater licencing in the pipeline

    22 September 2014

    New legislation that seeks to establish a statutory framework for the access to and use of stormwater in Victoria is an attempt to increase the use of stormwater in urban areas and furthers the Victorian Government's policy of limiting the diversion of water from rural areas for urban use. The process to access this alternative water source appears, at first glance, to be straightforward. However, uncertainty still exists. Partner Kate Axup and Lawyer Danielle Atkin report.

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  • Focus: The Warburton Report

    8 September 2014

    The Expert Panel appointed by the Federal Government to review the Renewable Energy Target scheme has recommended changes to it that would severely curtail its operation. Partner Grant Anderson reports.

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  • Focus: Significant review of WA electricity market

    3 September 2014

    The West Australian Government is looking to restructure the WA electricity market and has invited the industry to participate in a significant structural review, which will have a material impact on the Government's privatisation agenda, and the competitive and regulatory environment in which the privatisation of electricity generation or retail assets might occur. The Government has released a discussion paper that raises questions and issues for industry feedback. Partners Andrew Pascoe and Anna Collyer and Lawyer Katherine Glossop report.

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  • Focus: 'Axing the tax' - the end of the Australian carbon pricing scheme

    21 July 2014

    Federal Parliament has passed legislation to repeal the carbon pricing scheme, removing the nationwide impost on greenhouse gas emissions. Partner Grant Anderson and Associate Albert Yu report.

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  • Focus: Budget wrap - significant infrastructure investment and divestment

    24 June 2014

    Following last week's release of the New South Wales and South Australian budgets, it is clear that most state and territory budgets handed down since the Federal Budget have shown an alignment with the Federal Government's national agreement on infrastructure investment and asset recycling. Partner Paul Kenny and Senior Associates Emin Altiparmak and Penny Alexander and look at the implications of the policy.

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  • Focus: Introduction of the Emissions Reduction Fund Bill

    23 June 2014

    The Federal Government has introduced into Parliament legislation for the establishment of its proposed Emissions Reduction Fund, which will provide businesses with opportunities to enter into contracts under which the Government pays them for undertaking carbon abatement. Partner Grant Anderson and Lawyer Albert Yu report. 

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  • Client Update: Foreign investment changes in Indonesia

    27 May 2014

    Some Indonesian business sectors are closed to foreign investment, while others are subject to foreign ownership limits. There have been some changes to these foreign investment restrictions under Indonesia's widely anticipated revised Negative Investment List, which became effective on 24 April. The revisions reflect the intention of the Indonesian Government to prepare for a more open economy whilst preserving certain sectors for domestic investment. Overall, there has been a liberalising trend, with a number of sectors becoming more open for foreign investment. However, there are now some business sectors that are subject to foreign investment limits for the first time, some that have become subject to increased foreign ownership limits and some that have become closed to foreign investment altogether.

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  • Focus: Queensland retail energy reform

    27 May 2014

    The Queensland Government has introduced legislation to apply the National Energy Customer Framework to the sale of electricity and gas to retail customers in Queensland, and to replace regulated electricity prices with a price monitoring regime in south east Queensland. Partner Anna Collyer and Senior Associate Damien Hughes report.

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  • Client Update: Abolition of the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target

    26 May 2014

    The Victorian State Government has announced the closure of the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Scheme at the end of 2015, which will remove the annual obligation of large energy retailers to surrender energy efficiency certificates, as well as the financial benefits provided by the scheme for implementing energy efficiency improvements. Partner Grant Anderson and Lawyer Albert Yu report.

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  • Client Update: Repeal of the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Program

    22 May 2014

    The Federal Government has introduced into Parliament legislation which, if passed, will terminate the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Program and so remove the mandatory requirement for large energy using businesses to assess opportunities to improve energy efficiency and to report publicly on the outcomes of those assessments. Partner Grant Anderson and Lawyer Albert Yu report.

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  • Client Update: Changes for developing wind farms in Queensland

    9 May 2014

    The Queensland Government has released a draft code and guideline that empowers the State to assess and decide any future wind farm projects in Queensland. Partner Bill McCredie and Senior Associate Anna Vella look at the Queensland Government's new role and consider the draft code and guideline.

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  • Focus: Using 'reasonable endeavours' - the importance of internal contractual standards

    28 April 2014

    The High Court has recently highlighted the significance of internal contractual standards when interpreting an obligation to use 'reasonable endeavours'. Partner Nick Rudge and Lawyers Goran Gelic and Timothy Leschke report on this development and its implications.

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  • Focus: Productivity Commission - third party litigation funding and contingency fees

    17 April 2014

    The Productivity Commission's draft report on its inquiry into Australia's system of civil dispute resolution has now been released. The comprehensive review focuses on ways to constrain costs and promote access to justice. One of the areas the Productivity Commission is examining is Australia's private funding for litigation regime, focusing on third party litigation funding and contingency fees. Partner Peter O'Donahoo, Senior Associate Tim Maxwell and Lawyer Simone Kaser report

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  • Focus: Carbon pollution reduction schemes? - China one way, Australia the other?

    20 March 2014

    As part of its commitment to solving serious air pollution problems, the Chinese Government has launched a variety of pilot schemes that will eventually pave the way for the establishment of a national emissions trading market. These steps are in marked contrast to the position in Australia, where the Coalition Government plans to repeal the carbon pricing scheme from 1 July 2014. Partners Kate Axup and Grant Anderson and Lawyer Shona Shang look at the Chinese schemes and the different approaches to emissions reduction being taken in China and Australia.

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  • Focus: Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper released

    10 January 2014

    The Federal Government has released its Green Paper on the design of the Emissions Reduction Fund. Partner Grant Anderson reports on this proposed centrepiece of the Government's Direct Action Plan.

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  • Focus: New merits review regime commences

    9 January 2014

    Major changes to the merits review regime applying to regulated revenue and price determinations that the Australian Energy Regulator makes for electricity and gas networks have now come into operation. Partner Grant Anderson reports.

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  • Focus: New traditional owner negotiation requirements for central Victoria

    1 November 2013

    The Dja Dja Wurrung Land Use Activity Agreement has commenced operation, creating a new negotiation framework for activities on public land in central Victoria. Partner Chris Schulz and Senior Associates Emily Gerrard and Penny Creswell explore the implications.

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  • Focus: Repeal of carbon pricing scheme

    17 October 2013

    The Federal Government has released exposure draft legislation for the repeal of the carbon pricing scheme, as well as terms of reference for the establishment of its Emissions Reduction Fund. Partner Grant Anderson and Law Graduate Levona Lavi report.

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  • Focus: Flooding generates more debate on consequential loss exclusion

    14 October 2013

    A recent decision of the Western Australian Supreme Court arising out of a flooding incident at a remote power station near Lake Argyle, WA has shone a bright light on the law on consequential loss in the wake of the previous authority that had informed this area of law. Partner Michael Hollingdale and Senior Associate Nicholas Gallina report on the case.

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  • Client Update: Queensland's 30-year electricity strategy

    16 September 2013

    The Queensland Government has released a discussion paper outlining how it proposes to meet the challenges facing the State's electricity sector in the immediate term and over the next 30 years. Partner John Greig and Senior Associate Damien Hughes report on the Government's specific proposals and reform agenda signalled in the paper.

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  • Focus: Regulated revenue guidelines released

    10 September 2013

    The Australian Energy Regulator's recently released draft guidelines on its proposed approach to regulating electricity and gas transmission and distribution revenues indicate how it intends to exercise its expanded discretion in relation to electricity and gas transmission and distribution regulatory determinations. Partner Grant Anderson and Law Graduate Levona Lavi report.

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  • Focus: Now for the Direct Action Plan

    9 September 2013

    The Coalition's election victory means that, assuming it ultimately gains control of the Senate, or is otherwise able to garner sufficient votes from the non-Coalition parties in the Senate, the current carbon pricing scheme will soon be replaced with the Coalition's Direct Action Plan. Partner Grant Anderson reports.

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  • Client Update: Draft legislation to bring forward the emissions trading scheme phase released

    30 July 2013

    The Federal Government has released exposure draft legislation to give effect to its recently announced policy of commencing the emissions trading scheme phase of the carbon pricing scheme one year before the scheduled date of 1 July 2015. Partner Grant Anderson and Lawyer Albert Yu report.

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  • Focus: Key changes to working conditions for offshore oil and gas projects

    3 June 2013

    A proposed amendment to Australia's migration legislation seeks to ensure that foreign offshore oil and gas workers will require a 457 visa and be subject to Australian employment law. If this change is made, owners and operators of offshore oil and gas projects will need to ensure they and their contractors are aware of, and comply with, their obligations regarding visas and the application of Australian employment laws. The proposed amendment will also most likely increase the scope for union activity on these projects. Special Counsel Eleanor Jewell reports.

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  • Focus: Proposed changes to national access regime

    31 May 2013

    The Productivity Commission has released a draft report of its review of Australia's national access regime, which supports the retention of the regime but recommends a number of significant changes to its legal framework. Special Counsel Verity Quinn and Partner Ted Hill report.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    17 May 2013

    We report on union eligibility rules; what constitutes an offer of acceptable alternative employment; the consequences of an employee's refusal of a settlement offer; an ATO ruling on ordinary hours of work; and whether a complaint about employment made to an employer can constitute a 'workplace right'.

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  • Focus: Queensland Government responds to Costello audit report

    9 May 2013

    The Costello Commission of Audit Report and the Queensland Government's response last week could transform the State's economy by recasting the way the Queensland public sector interacts with the private sector. Partner John Greig examines the main recommendations and the Government's response.

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  • Focus: New EU financial disclosure requirements for resources and logging sectors

    24 April 2013

    Companies listed in the EU and large private companies in the EU that operate in the extractives and logging industries will need to report on payments made to host governments, both on a country and project basis, under a new EU legislative proposal that is part of a trend towards improving transparency in the extractives sector. Compliance costs will be significant and companies need to start preparing now, as Partner Anthony Patten, Senior Associate Dora Banyasz and Lawyer Raquel Dos Santos report. 

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  • Focus: China encourages foreign involvement in green energy

    23 April 2013

    Although still light on specifics, a policy articulating China's plans for the development of its coalbed methane reserves has signalled the PRC Government's intention to encourage foreign investment as a way of dealing with the national demand for clean energy. Partner Kate Axup, Senior Associate Wayne Wang and Trainee Solicitor Alice Mok look at the policy's changes that are relevant to international oil and gas companies.

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  • Focus: Softening the investment rules in Mongolia

    23 April 2013

    Foreign investment in Mongolia fell away dramatically after the Mongolian Government last year introduced laws regulating foreign investment into strategically important business areas as well as investment by state-owned entities. Now the Government has introduced amendments which soften some of those restrictions in an effort to again encourage inbound capital. Lawyer Anthony Lepere looks at the amendments and their significance to foreign investors.

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  • Focus: US Supreme Court reins in scope of Alien Tort Claims Act

    19 April 2013

    In the much-awaited decision of Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, the US Supreme Court has determined that the Alien Tort Claims Act cannot be used to bring claims for alleged violations of customary international law where the relevant conduct occurs outside the US. The court remained silent on the question of whether corporations can be held liable for breaches of customary international law under the statute. Partner Louise Jenkins, Senior Associate Dora Banyasz and Lawyer Freya Dinshaw report. 

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    19 April 2013

    We report on the clarification of when an 'arrangement' could meet the transfer of business test; changes to the Fair Work legislation; under what circumstances a termination payment is a genuine redundancy payment; issues when seeking to stay a reinstatement order; and policy requirements for avoiding vicarious liability for an employee's unlawful sexual harassment.

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  • Linklaters Insights: Outlook for M&A in 2013

    15 March 2013

    Global economic uncertainty has hindered M&A activity. Cautious corporates have generally elected to use their profits to fund working capital rather than pursue acquisitions. Could this begin to change in 2013?

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