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Heat decarbonisation would spur UK’s green economic recovery

A new report published by the Net Zero Infrastructure Industry Coalition explores the scale of infrastructure change needed to achieve net zero heat. The challenge is such that urgent action is required, but the transition to net zero heat offers tremendous opportunities and could lead to the development of completely new industries offering large scale employment and economic growth across the UK.

Written by a group of forward-thinking UK businesses and public sector organisations, The Path To Zero Carbon Heat report provides pathways for decarbonising the heating of Britain’s homes and workplaces by 2050 – responsible for 20% of the UK’s greenhouse gas footprint. It presents three possible scenarios and highlights the need for government to make early decisions about the paths to take and set supporting regulation:

  1. The electrification of heat, replacing natural gas, together with electric vehicles replacing petrol and diesel, will lead to an almost quadrupling of total electricity capacity to 400GW in 2050, up from 110GW today, including a more than five-fold increase in wind and solar generated electricity from 37GW today to 170GW in 2050.
  2. A hydrogen led scenario for heating is reliant on the rapid development and demonstration of new hydrogen technology across all aspects of the energy system within the next five years. This will then require creating and scaling of hydrogen production and transmission to produce 100GW to supply over 15 million homes plus non-domestic users. Electricity capacity will still more than double, owing to the electrification of personal transport, to 250GW.
  3. A hybrid approach will potentially reduce the scale of new infrastructure needed but has much greater system complexity and optimisation challenges. It will still mean an almost three-fold increase in electricity capacity to 280GW by 2050, in addition to between 20GW and 30GW of hydrogen production. The hybrid approach offers the potential to reduce electricity capacity by 25% in comparison to the electrification scenario, and hydrogen capacity by at least 70% in comparison to the hydrogen scenario.

Anne-Marie Friel, infrastructure partner at Pinsent Masons said, “Decarbonising Britain’s infrastructure will unleash a wave of new investment, growth and employment. Government needs to seize this opportunity and accelerate policy and regulation as key enablers.”

The report does not prescribe a specific route to net zero heat, but all scenarios considered present challenges. All require taking technologies such as CCS and auto-thermal reforming from pilot stage or infancy, through to readiness in the late 2020s, through to mass deployment starting in 2030 and continuing to 2050. This represents an enormous challenge in infrastructure deployment previously unseen in the UK.

The development of infrastructure will need to be accelerated quickly and maintained. For example, the massive scale of electrical generation capacity as part of the electrification scenario represents deployment of renewable technology at close to 10GW/year – scales of deployment with few historic precedents. Deployment for end user heating systems themselves will also happen at a tremendous rate with conversions of over one million sites in each year in some scenarios.

The changeover to Net-Zero heat requires a complex mixture of national, regional and city involvement, systems thinking and extensive digitalisation. Getting this mixture right could radically reduce cost and delivery times, and requires all stakeholder to take action in the near term.

New skills need be developed, with a refocus of existing expertise. This will require a change in mindset, to think ahead of time and put in place the infrastructure to develop those skills.

Ross Ramsay project manager for the coalition said: “The technology, skills and know-how to decarbonise heat will be in demand globally. This scale of investment in decarbonising the heating of over 25 million UK homes, plus non-domestic buildings, will create new industries, jobs and apprenticeships at scale, and place Britain at the forefront of the race to Net Zero.”

Our report chimes with the findings of the CBI’s (the CBI have been part of the steering group for this project) own forthcoming report on net-zero heat which also highlights the requirement for urgent action and the potential opportunity of green recovery,” Ross continues.

The Path To Zero Carbon Heat has been led by Mott MacDonald with support from a working group comprising Energy Systems Catapult, Engie, Leeds City Council, National Grid, Pinsent Masons, Delta-EE, University of Leeds, the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) and the UK Green Building Council.

Pinsent Masons announces new partnership with World Athletics

Pinsent Masons yesterday announced its appointment by World Athletics as their first official supplier of legal services. The appointment was made after a detailed tender process and is for the next four years.

Drawing on their multinational network of over 100 specialist professionals within their business of sport advisory group, Pinsent Masons will provide legal support, advice and strategic guidance to World Athletics on a global basis. The scope of areas covered will include regulatory and governance, commercial rights, negotiation and arbitration, intellectual property, insurance, employment, brand protection, dispute resolution and technology.

“Our world is changing rapidly, even more so with the current pandemic, and we need nimble and forward-thinking partners to help us make the most of the opportunities this will present.” ~ Sebastian Coe, World Athletics President 

The firm will also provide a full range of legal support around World Athletics’ major events and deliver guidance and training to assist the sport’s administrators around the world.

Commenting on the partnership Sebastian Coe, World Athletics President said: “In many ways, this agreement represents our ambitions for our sport as a global powerhouse. We will need Pinsent’ skillset in a number of areas as we build athletics around the world and I’m delighted that they also see the value in this relationship. Our world is changing rapidly, even more so with the current pandemic, and we need nimble and forward-thinking partners to help us make the most of the opportunities this will present. Like us, they see innovation as a key component of success.

“Their global presence will allow us to access their services wherever we are, which is particularly useful for an organisation with 214 Member Federations and major events staged across the world, and their expertise will help us to maintain world best practice in our governance and commercial relationships.”

Head of Sports at Pinsent Masons, Trevor Watkins said: “We are thrilled to have won this appointment and very much look forward to an exciting and dynamic partnership with World Athletics. It’s a tremendous achievement for our team to have been chosen and, after such a competitive process, is recognition of the global strength and expertise of our specialist lawyers.

“We believe we have a strong synergy with World Athletics in its desire to be the best example of a well governed sports federations, particularly in areas of governance, regulation, integrity and innovation. That message really rings true to us as a firm that embraces innovation, technology and strategic thinking. We’ve had a tremendous response from our multinational network of offices to the prospect of this agreement and the opportunity to work with a sport that our team finds inspirational on many levels. Many of the team are members of running clubs and participate as volunteers within sport and this partnership will allow them to combine their existing passion for the sport and their professional expertise.”

Pinsent Masons hires construction partner in Melbourne

International law firm Pinsent Masons has hired Phillipa Beck to expand the firm’s Construction Advisory & Disputes team in Australia.

Phillipa is a construction lawyer advising on project delivery and disputes across the energy and infrastructure sectors in Asia Pacific, including Private Public Partnerships (PPP). She joins from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Matthew Croagh, Head of Pinsent Masons Australia said, “There is a strong and expanding pipeline of major projects across Asia Pacific. Philippa brings valuable experience that is well suited to our sector-focused approach. Her skills in advising clients on mega projects developing flexible, innovative solutions that provide the foundation for a project’s successful delivery will be an asset to the firm.”

Phillipa expertise spans risk management, dispute avoidance and all forms of dispute resolution.

Fraser McMillan, Head of Construction Advisory & Disputes in Australia added, “Australia ranks as a world leader in infrastructure development, but challenges around its ability to meet infrastructure demand is set to intensify. Phillipa has the right skillset to work alongside project teams across the firm supporting clients in finding the right solutions to tackle these challenges; whether that be through joint ventures or other frameworks.”

This appointment follows the continued expansion of our infrastructure and energy team in Asia Pacific. Pinsent Masons Australia has more than 100 specialist infrastructure and energy lawyers and business professionals working across our three offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Recent major projects the firm is advising on in Australia include: the A$11 billion North East Link, Victoria’s largest roads project, the East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility, Australia’s second only waste-to-energy project and the Stockyard Wind Farm, the largest wind farm in the South Hemisphere.

Pinsent Masons advises S.R. Smith on its acquisition of Sunbather

International law firm Pinsent Masons has advised S.R. Smith on the acquisition of Sunbather.

S.R. Smith LLC, a world leader in swimming pool deck equipment, has acquired Sunbather Pty Limited, Australia’s leading manufacturer of solar pool heating and pool covers.

Pinsent Masons worked closely with S.R. Smith’s US Counsel, Pepper Hamilton on both the diligence and the transactional documentation on S.R. Smith’s third acquisition in Australia.

The Pinsent Masons’ team acting on the transaction included partner Ewan Robertson, associate Lucy Carter and lawyer Lisa Meyer on M&A and due diligence matters, along with partner Katie Williams and lawyer Patrick Williams advising on employment aspects of the deal.

Transaction partner, Ewan Robertson, said: “We are delighted to have assisted S.R. Smith with what we are confident will be a really successful acquisition and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.pinsentmasons.com/