Climate Change and Sustainability

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Response and adaptation to climate change has moved from a debate about society’s impact upon the environment to a significant economic and environmental challenge for industry. Sustainability and efficiency imperatives present both opportunity and risk, requiring innovative and informed legal solutions.

HWL Ebsworth’s Climate Change and Sustainability Group comprises a national team of specialists in energy, environment, finance, infrastructure, planning, property and resources who deliver commercial, whole of sector solutions in response to the rapidly evolving legal and regulatory framework.

We have an in depth understanding of market trading mechanisms relating to renewable energy certificates, energy efficiency certificates and carbon credits; voluntary products in regulated and non-regulated markets; compliance and regulatory issues in project planning and implementation; regulatory reporting such as the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS; contractual drafting requirements; and market operation mechanisms.

We work with our clients to adapt to climate change policy and regulation, commercially realise water security and supply in line with policy reform initiatives, facilitate renewable energy projects, implement climate change adaptation strategies and ecologically sustainable development principles, negotiate green energy contracts including planning, construction and monitoring of green building and infrastructure projects (Green Star, NABERS), green leases and rating benchmarks, respond to the climate change issues arising in relation to development and infrastructure projects and seize opportunities to manage risk in carbon trading markets.


  • ACT Government: Advised on its 100% renewable energy program, including wind farms, solar farms and battery storage pilot scheme, and including issues concerning the overlap between the Territory schemes and the federal Renewable Energy Target;
  • AFMA: Drafted the standard spot contract for trading in renewable energy certificates and other environmental trading products;
  • Clean Energy Regulator: advised on its standard auction contract for purchasing abatement from projects funded by the Emissions Reduction Fund; advised on its carbon credit auction program for the Direct Action Fund;
  • Queensland Government: Advised on its greenhouse abatement electricity certificate;
  • Commonwealth Department of Environment: Advised on its forestry sequestration carbon credit program under the Clean Energy Act;
  • Various energy sector participants, including generators, gas producers and energy retailers: Providing advice on the implementation and subsequent repeal of the Clean Energy Act 2011 (Cth) and related legislation in the mining, electricity/gas and water sectors, including contractual carbon pass-through issues, CFI, international carbon linking and Kyoto Protocol mechanisms, NGERS compliance, executive officer liability, international carbon trading and continuous disclosure/listing rules and reporting requirements;
  • Wind Energy Projects:  Lead advisor for EPC, O&M and related undertakings for wind energy projects at Taralga (NSW), Challicum Hills (Vic), Wattle Point (SA), Starfish Hill (SA), Yambuk (Vic), Lake Bonney II (SA), Walkaway (WA), Chepstowe (Vic), Tararua III (NZ), White Hills (NZ).  Lead advisor for the development and sale of Mt Gellibrand, Moorabool, Lal Lal and Dundonnell Projects; and
  • Solar Projects: Lead advisor for the development and sale of utility scale solar projects in Victoria and Queensland.

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