Most Innovative Law Firm – Canada (Energy Sector)
Regulatory Law Chambers (“RLC”) is a Calgary-based boutique law firm dedicated to excellence in energy regulatory matters. We spoke to Rosa Twyman, Founder and Partner at Regulatory Law Chambers, to find out more about their firm’s philosophy, and learn more about the legal landscape in Alberta, Canada. Regardless of the client, we consistently strive to provide exceptional legal client services, practical and strategic advice and effective advocacy. Our core clients are typically energy suppliers, such as wind farm developers or electricity suppliers, shippers on pipelines, and oil and gas producers. We typically represent our clients in oil, gas and electricity proceedings before the energy regulators, namely the Alberta Energy Regulator, the Alberta Utilities Commission and the National Energy Board. We also act for our clients before all levels of the Courts and in arbitrations and mediations on energy regulatory matters. In terms of the sectors we specialise in, our expertise is in oil and gas, electricity, renewable energies, climate change, tolls and tariff, electricity commercial matters, compliance and environmental legal matters. We assist clients in a number of different areas, including: obtaining specific regulatory approvals for facilities; navigating complex regulatory proceedings on industry matters; tolls and tariff matters and legal matters related to fracturing activities, to name a few. In terms of our firm’s philosophy, people are at the heart of everything we do. RLC staff play a critical role in the success of the firm. We employ a team-focused approach in assisting and serving our clients, to ensure that our clients’ objectives are achieved in a timely, effective and efficient manner. We also work closely and collaboratively internally and with our clients, managing costs through effective allocation of resources. With this in mind, every team member is expected and encouraged to bring their thinking and opinions to the table. Open communication, both internally and with our clients, is greatly valued. Alberta is a unique jurisdiction. It has a vast natural resource base, is “land locked”, and, unlike other jurisdictions in Canada at this point, it has a competitive electricity generation market. For any business, it is important to make decisions on the best available information, at any point in time, about where the future is likely to go. It is also important to look at the complete picture. In Alberta and Canada, we have recently been very focused on emission impacts resulting from energy production – something we do need to focus on and can strive to improve. However, by focusing solely on “Canadian” emissions, we may be creating a greater demand for energy production that comes with significant human rights violations and greater negative environmental impacts, if viewed from a global perspective. On the oil and gas side, Canadian energy development projects have encountered a great deal of opposition in hearings and proceedings with respect to obtaining licences to operate. A lack of trust is driven by what appears to be an uninformed perception that the regulatory processes in place do not provide the necessary balancing of economic, environmental and social impacts in the public interest. With respect to the electricity market in Alberta, we need to address structural issues expediently to support future investment. Renewable electricity generation faces a current barrier to investment, because we do not yet know details regarding the Renewable Energy Program. For the market, investors need better visibility about the timing of coal retirements and the corresponding renewable procurement timing and/or volumes in order to enable an assessment of the electricity revenues. The current limited information available about the design of the Renewable Energy Program, when combined with weak energy revenues, does not allow sufficient information to facilitate securing long-term investments for renewable energy in Alberta – or for any gas-fired electricity build-out. I expect this will delay investment in the short term, until there is more clarity about the details implementing the direction we are choosing for Alberta. As someone who grew up in apartheid South- Africa, my experience was that imposing economic sanctions on South-Africa during apartheid did not improve the lives of the people whose oppression the sanctions intended to address. From my perspective it entrenched oppression and furthered economic control for those that were considered the oppressors. Similarly, while it is important to address emissions and other overall environmental challenges, we do need to employ our intelligence and creativity to achieve overall global environmental and human rights improvements. To date, the public interest for oil, gas and electricity projects in Canada has been viewed more from a Canadian/provincial only public interest perspective, whereas environmental and human rights matters are global in nature. Both future challenges and opportunities will relate to how we can successfully deliver on global energy demand.
Regulatory Law Chambers
Name: Rosa Twyman