This week: Interview with Dr. Martin Altrock

1. Windfair: Is the Wind Energy Industry a priority for your company? How so?

Dr. Martin Altrock:

The wind energy industry is definitely a priority for our company: On the one hand, we provide advice to quite a few project developers and installation operators on all matters relating to the construction and operation of wind power installations but particularly on legal issues arising in connection with the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). The major focus here is on matters like the grid connection, direct marketing of energy, feed-in management or SDLWindV.  On the other hand, we constantly advise the Federal Ministry of the Environment (Bundesumweltministerium) on the development of the legal framework for this sector. In this context, we pay special attention to the wind power as the main renewable energy source for the electricity generation. Moreover, the development of the wind power in Southern Germany, particularly in the offshore sector, is becoming increasingly important (see below).

2. Windfair: How many employees does your company have?

Dr. Martin Altrock:

To date, BBH has about 500 employees in all its offices. Our EEG team has more than 20 experts including those of other interfacing teams (biogas, industrial customers etc.). In addition, there are 5 administrative lawyers who, amongst others, deal with the securing of land and permits as well as several company-law and tax-law experts.

3. Windfair: How many dedicated to Wind Energy?

Dr. Martin Altrock:

The majority of the 20 lawyers whose main area of practice is the EEG are active in this field, which should make up for about 5 full-time wind energy experts. And there are the administrative lawyers of which three are dedicated to wind energy projects. Furthermore, we have five company-law experts in our Munich office who also provide advice on wind energy projects, be it the sale of wind farms or the development of new projects.  

4. Windfair: Do you have any new or upcoming Wind Energy Products or Services?

Dr. Martin Altrock:

After the direct marketing of wind power raised so many new questions last year – we have also developed a direct marketing contract, by the way – the issue of how to deal with adjusting the electricity generation to comply with the provisions on feed-in management has become increasingly important in the year we are leaving behind. Apart from that, securing land under the special conditions of Southern Germany and diverse financing models involving the participation of citizens and municipalities are also relatively new issues. Furthermore, with Jörg Kuhbier, Dr. Ursulla Prall and their Hamburg team joining us, BBH will gain years of accumulated expertise in the offshore wind sector in the upcoming year. So, BBH will develop another key area of practice in providing advice to wind power companies.

5. Windfair: Do you have any special training programs for your employees?

Dr. Martin Altrock:

Of course we do! This year, for instance, we hired four new lawyers in our EEG team and are training them to become experts in the field of energy law with a focus on renewable energies. The same is true for our colleagues in Munich where the focus is put on administrative law, company law and tax law. Our team in Hamburg will also grow and provide advice not only to the offshore but also to the onshore sector.

6. Windfair: Tell us about your future developments. What can we expect in the next year or two?

Dr. Martin Altrock:

In times of constantly changing legal frameworks, a lawyer is always needed to make the changes comprehensible to those who apply the law and to assist them. One of the main future tasks coming with the transformation of the energy sector will be to find solutions for promoting the wind energy in such way that its contribution to a cost-efficient and secure energy generation from renewable sources is really possible. We also place particular importance on issues like Power to Gas and Power to Heat and the storage and balancing mechanisms in general.

Windfair Editorial Team

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