18 Sep '23
Partner Stephan Sluijters is captain of the energy team at Ploum. In this team, colleagues from various disciplines work together and keep each other informed of the latest developments in the energy sector. The team is committed to connect different parties in the energy sector in order to not make the energy any more difficult than it already is.
"When I chose Ploum twenty years ago, I did so partly because I wanted real contact with clients and wanted to do business. I soon noticed that Ploum was doing a lot of work in the energy sector and so I set up an energy sector team. The added value of our team is that we are not only informed about legal matters from different perspectives, but also about all other developments in the energy market. In the beginning, our team mainly did a lot of work in the fossil fuel industry, but we also saw the transition to renewable energy coming early on. In recent years, we have invested heavily in increasing our knowledge and expertise in that area. Now that the energy transition is in full swing, we focus a lot on solar, wind, hydrogen and heat issues.”
"I seek cooperation in the energy field not only with colleagues, but also with industry associations such as Holland Solar, NWEA and NLHydrogen. In the energy sector, laws and regulations regularly lag behind practice. Therefore, working together and finding solutions together is even more important; the energy transition is already difficult enough. That is why we like to bring parties together. For instance, we organise events for companies in the hydrogen or solar energy market. We contribute our legal expertise, while the other parties provide knowledge based on their expertise. By standing side by side, we can look for solutions to current challenges together. Our next event will be about cybersecurity in energy sector and data."
"The energy transition is challenging, working together will take us all further"
"One of the projects I am proud of is the legal guidance during the development of solar project developer GroenLeven. When Germany's BayWa r.e. wanted to partner with GroenLeven a few years ago, we wrote down all the legal aspects of solar projects in the Netherlands for them. The client was happy because he got the insights he needed and, at the same time, we ourselves were completely up to date and had a nice handbook ready. That investment is typical of Ploum's entrepreneurial spirit. It gave GroenLeven a flying start and that in turn gave us great projects to work on in the future. By now, GroenLeven has grown from 15 to 150 employees and in recent years they have developed many different types of solar and other sustainable projects, with us assisting on the legal aspects."
"The fact that we have an integrated energy team containing almost all areas of law is really unique. Many firms do something with energy, but don't have all the disciplines in-house. That can be tricky for entrepreneurs. Take intellectual property law, which you don't immediately associate with the energy sector. But the energy market now also contains many start-ups with wonderful initiatives. In the beginning, they have little more than a very good idea, but if they want to grow further and seek investors, everything around intellectual property is obviously very important. So my advice to start-ups in the energy sector is: keep an eye on the future. It can be incredibly useful to work with a versatile legal firm from the start, so that you can get all the legal issues right under one roof."
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