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Our energy specialists offer an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Sub-Saharan Africa environment, having been involved in several of Africa’s ground-breaking energy projects. Our presence ‘on-the-ground’ and familiarity with the risks of investing in the sector is a key differentiator as is our experience with complex domestic and cross-border infrastructure projects on the continent.

We have a full understanding of the different energy markets across the region and the challenges to the development of the sector including policy uncertainty, procurement and execution risks, off-take/market risks, tariff regulation, social and environmental risks, and the project risks posed by scarce transportation logistics, pipeline and grid infrastructure.

Our power experience covers a wide range of renewable energy projects including geothermal, small hydro, solar photovoltaic, concentrated solar power, biomass, on-shore wind and other technologies, as well as power generation projects using piped natural gas, coal, diesel and heavy fuel oils.

Our transactional expertise covers the full spectrum of project and finance documentation including negotiation of agreements on power purchase/ supply, fuel and feedstock supply, construction, operation and maintenance, technical support, grid connection and use, land acquisition, wheeling services, as well as equity funding, shareholder and sponsor support and subordination, standby facilities, senior debt facilities, mezzanine funding, CPI debt, preference share financing, senior debt security, contractor security, lender direct agreements.

Within the secondary market for investments in the energy sector, our specialist energy lawyers team up with other in-house specialists (anti-trust, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, international and domestic tax) to provide our clients a comprehensive legal service.

We act for a wide range of clients including developers, sponsors, public utilities, funds, commercial banks and other financial institutions, and governments. As an independent law firm we are also able to partner with a range of international law firms where appropriate in relation to cross-border projects.

  • We advised AEP Energy Africa on its listing on the AltX (alternative board) of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange as a special purpose acquisition company. It listed with a view to raising a minimum targeted capital amount of ZAR 400 million.
  • We advised Absa Bank (as lender) on its first ever cross-border import issuance letter of credit facility to the value of USD 35 million. The letter of credit was issued to the Lake Oil Group and allowed it to export oil from Tanzania. Other jurisdictions involved were Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and the United Kingdom.
  • We advised the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the South African Department of Energy and the South African National Treasury (through the IPP Office) on the various independent power producer (IPP) procurement programmes that are pursued by the South African government including IPP bid processes for renewable energy which has won several awards, base load coal, LNG gas to power, and a number of related programmes in South Africa.
  • We assisted Eskom Holdings by completing investigations into past corruption and the removal of various executives including former CEOs Matshela Koko and Sean Maritz. We further launched review proceedings to assist Eskom recover ZAR 1.6 billion from McKinsey and Trillian and have since been appointed to assist it with the Zondo Commission into State Capture.
  • We advised First Quantum Minerals on its cross-border procurement of bulk electrical power (150MW) involving Zesco and Eskom, and the complex wheeling arrangements among Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe to supply approximately 150MW of power to its mines in Zambia.
  • We advised Gigawatt Mozambique S.A, on its 100MW gas fired power station in Mozambique. The project consisted of the financing, development, design, engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, ownership, operation and maintenance of a 100MW gas fired power station in Ressano Garcia, Mozambique. Bowmans acted and continues to act as legal counsel to Gigawatt Mozambique, SA in Phase 2 of the Project. Named as Deal of the Year by African Investor for 2016.
  • We assisted Eskom Holdings in a dispute regarding the right to distribute electricity in a municipal area. The challenge related to whether South African municipalities have an exclusive power to supply electricity to consumers within municipal boundaries. The High Court found that the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996, does create an exclusive right for municipalities to supply electricity within their boundaries, but that Eskom may supply any customers within its area of supply if a municipality does not already supply such customer.

Environmental and Renewables Team of the Year

African Legal Awards, 2021

A very strong and solid team that has end-to-end skill-sets on the array of documentation required to develop, finance, construct and operate projects. Client feedback includes: The exposure given to associates is excellent and the quality of work is fantastic. Deep insight of the sector and quality of the partners, accessible and friendly people. Good knowledge of the public side of energy projects (PPA etc) and the international financing side of the same. Very up to date on developments such as on Government Letters of Support. In touch with the market.

Legal 500, 2021

A particularly sophisticated renewable energy practice, assisting with various thermal, hydroelectric, solar and wind energy projects. Services a range of financial clients with advice on energy project investments. Highly involved in gas-to-power and renewable energy programmes. Highly regarded and notably involved in significant infrastructure and oil and gas projects. Proficiency in power purchase agreements and PPP construction. Its lawyers handle all aspects of project development, ranging from infrastructure PPP tenders to IPP financing and power plant maintenance.

Chambers and Partners, 2022