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Offshore Approval Procedure in Practice "Financing and Legal Forum" compiles an Offshore Wind Guideline

Since the spring of 2012, around 30 authors from the “Financing and Legal Forum” have been developing a practice-oriented offshore wind guideline. Dr Jan Backhaus, Dabelstein & Passehl, Susanne Forysch, Norton Rose LLP, and Andreas Findeisen, Renewable Energy Hamburg, are responsible for the overall coordination. In this interview, they told us how the guideline developed and what it aims to achieve. 

Renewable Energy Hamburg: What relevance could the offshore guideline have for the Renewable Energy Cluster in Hamburg, for Hamburg as a business location and for the entire renewable energy sector?

Susanne Forysch: “Our aim is to emphasise the competence in Hamburg in the renewable energy sector, particularly from a legal perspective, of course. Many law firms in Hamburg specialise, among other things, in providing advice with regard to the approval, planning and implementation of offshore wind farm projects. However, there are also a large number of legal specialists working in companies here, such as energy suppliers. We want to pool this expertise and provide assistance to new companies in the sector – from the cluster, for the cluster.”

Renewable Energy Hamburg: The offshore guideline is a product of the "Financing and Legal Forum". How often did the authors meet? What have you achieved so far?

Dr Jan Backhaus: “We in the coordination team at the 'Financing and Legal Forum' have been planning to compile an offshore guideline for some time. At a meeting in February 2012, we decided to found an offshore working group. At the first group meeting at the beginning of May, we presented our idea and quickly received positive feedback. In June, the ten authors met again in order to decide on the chapter structure and author teams. At the next forum meeting in mid-June, we presented the project and asked members to participate. Now, as many as 30 authors have signed up. The first drafts will be submitted by the end of September, with publication planned for the first quarter of 2013.”

Renewable Energy Hamburg: How is the guideline being produced? Who is responsible for the coordination? How will you find the authors? How do the authors coordinate their submissions?

Dr Jan Backhaus: “The authors offered to contribute independently, and selected a chapter to which they wished to contribute. However, our idea was that each author team should include a lawyer and a practitioner, since the guideline is designed to function as a type of practice-oriented commentary. In order to ensure that submissions for the individual chapters were evenly weighted, we specified a length of around 15 pages.”

Susanne Forysch: “The guideline is not an academic work. The authors are allowed to use diagrams and charts for clarification purposes. The co-authors will read through their respective partner’s chapter prior to publication. A review group and the forum coordinators will check all chapters as a last step.”

Renewable Energy Hamburg: What content will be included in the guideline? What do you aim to achieve by publishing it?

Dr Jan Backhaus: “The 16 chapters are oriented around the classic project implementation of an offshore wind
farm. We aim to include all relevant project stages, from the approval procedure, project progression, financing and commissioning through to work safety and grid connection. We also intend to have the guideline translated into English.”