Energy infrastructure will need to be reallocated to move to a ‘net zero’ carbon future, Osler’s lawyer says


Duncanson says companies interested in being a part of the upcoming energy transition should consider working with legal and financial advisers to review the risks associated with the opportunities and push forward specific initiatives without committing physical capital. This work would run in parallel with working with governments on changing regulatory and tax regimes to accommodate these projects. As new opportunities depend on government funding or financial incentives to make economic sense, says Duncanson, “you can move your initiatives forward until the right time.”

The companies with the most advanced projects will be “the most likely to obtain” public funding and private capital. “It can pay off to be proactive, even in the face of uncertainty. “

Duncanson notes that when he began his legal career, the term “energy law” was synonymous with oil and gas law and often focused on transactions.

” This has changed. The term energy law can now encompass a whole bunch of different things, including renewable energies, alternative energies, [and] various disciplines that are now at the forefront of advancement [lower-carbon] types of energy projects. Practicing energy law will also require knowledge of project finance, environmental issues, Indigenous consultation, tax law and intellectual property law.

“This does not mean that energy lawyers become generalists and less specialized,” he says. “On the contrary, these areas are becoming more and more complex. It is therefore necessary to specialize in each of these different specific disciplines.

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