The bank syndicates may be larger and the funding terms stricter, but project finance has proved to be a resilient sector during the economic downturn.
Infrastructure commitments need to be completed, and government support is being adjusted to meet new demands from hesitant lenders. There are even opportunities in emerging markets, where energy use is growing fast and generation targets must be fulfilled to meet demand.
As Pedro Aguiar de Freitas and Ana Carolina Barretto of Veirano Advogados discuss on page 10, nowhere is this more true than in Brazil. A dramatic rise in per capita electricity consumption that is only expected to continue is providing opportunities for investment in not only generation projects, but also transmission lines. Combined with a government initiative to strengthen investment in infrastructure, this is making Brazil's emerging energy market a very attractive option for new investment.
In Austria meanwhile, the effects of a gas supply crisis in January 2009 have led to a renewed focus on infrastructure, as explained by Thomas Starlinger of Fiebinger Polak Leon & Partner Rechtsanwalte on page 6.
The Third Internal Energy Markets Liberalisation Package, approved by the EC Council in June this year, also looks set to harmonise electricity and gas markets across Europe, particularly by encouraging more investment in cross-border interconnections. On top of avoiding another delivery crisis, this should keep pricing competitive across the region.
Taking a different approach to the subject, Titus Edjua and Antony Crockett of Clifford Chance take a look at why stabilisation clauses are of so much interest to human rights campaigners and practitioners. Turn to page 4 for their discussion of a UN and International Finance Corporation report that has sparked a worldwide debate on how stabilisation rights can affect a government's ability to fulfil its human rights obligations.
This guide also features articles from Panama, Norway, Romania and the Philippines. We hope it provides a valuable overview of a sector that is adapting well to a difficult market, and finding opportunities where other sectors are failing.