Pinsent Masons appointed to advise on phase out of coal-fired power plants across Asia

04 Nov 2021 | 10:32 am | 1 min. read

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has been appointed to work on the development of an innovative Energy Transition Mechanism (“ETM”) across South East Asia for the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Announced at COP26 by ADB, the impact of the ETM in facilitating the retirement of coal fired power plants, allowing countries to switch to renewables energies, is projected to be significant both from a regional and global perspective. It could result in savings of 2Gt of carbon emissions, the equivalent of removing more than 55 million passenger cars from the road or planting over 2 billion trees (covering an area half the size of Scotland).

The first phase of work involves a feasibility study around structuring the ETM to provide a financial incentive to help accelerate the retirement of coal fired power plants in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The study will look to identify ways to acquire assets, how to deal with the plants when they are retired, restoration requirements and how carbon credits may be used.

Pinsent Masons will provide specialist legal funds and structuring advice to the ADB, as well as advice on energy regulatory and decommissioning considerations. The team is led by energy partner John Yeap based in Hong Kong and funds partners David Young in Scotland and Ian Warner in London.

Commenting on this, lead partner John Yeap said: “Asia’s dependence on coal for power generation over the past two decades has meant there is significant carbon intensive generating capacity on the electric system of various countries in the region. In the absence of a tailored ETM for those countries, the chances of achieving net zero within the required timeline are significantly reduced. Through supporting ADB in the design of this mechanism, we are delighted to play a role in delivering not just on meaningful carbon abatement but also ensuring a just transition for all stakeholders including communities that will be impacted by it.”

David Young, partner at Pinsent Masons said: “This is one of the biggest climate commitments to date and when put into practice will significantly lower CO2 emissions in one of the world’s fastest growing continents. Bringing together our international expertise across funds, structuring and the energy sector allows us to work collaboratively with other advisers to deliver to ADB a solution that is financially robust but also meets complex and strict energy regulatory considerations regardless of where in Asia the plant is located.

"Looking forward, the ETM has the potential to provide a valuable blueprint for other countries who will also be looking at overhauling their fossil fuel industries as the world comes together to tackle the climate crisis.”

Pinsent Masons has been appointed alongside KPMG and Mott McDonald.

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