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Offshore Wind Projects: Managing the Interface Risks

Paper number

Roberta Downey

April 2013

A paper based on the highly commended entry in the Hudson Prize essay competition 2012

The speed of development of offshore windfarms in Europe is remarkable, and the legal and technological aspects of these big projects are both demanding and innovative. In an effort to meet their targets for renewable energy, governments have to be ready to facilitate larger windfarms in more exposed and deeper parts of the ocean, farther from the land to which the electricity generated then has to be delivered. Roberta Downey offers a snapshot of the risks in these projects, the complexity of the arrangements and parties and the challenges for construction lawyers called on to advise any of those involved. She considers the choices of procurement strategy available and how contractual arrangements can recognise and manage the considerable risks involved (especially the fabrication and installation costs and the potential for adverse weather). As the title of the paper suggests, there needs to be special concern with the interfaces between participants in a project, in the absence of any mature standard contractual arrangements (or documentation).

Introduction: risk or opportunity - A multi-contract strategy - The interface risks - Pushing the technical envelope - A new and different approach to planning and programme - Weather risk - Ground risk - Permits and planning - Remoteness of damage: the impact of a lost season - Limiting liability generally - Incremental takeover - Applicable law offshore - Multi-party disputes - Conclusions.

The author: Roberta Downey is a partner with Hogan Lovells International LLP, solicitors, in London.

Text 14 pages.