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About us Faculty of Law Research Centres of Expertise Groningen Centre of Energy Law and Sustainability Organisation

About the Groningen Centre of Energy Law and Sustainability


The University of Groningen has a special connection with the energy sector. The University is situated on top of Europe’s largest onshore natural gas field and has developed close ties with the energy industry. The region is referred to as the Energy Valley: it is the national energy supplier with large-scale and decentralised generation and storage, facilitated by energy ports on the North Sea, located at the heart of the Northern European gas and electricity grid.

To combat climate change, the region is making an energy transition away from fossil fuels towards sustainable energy sources, together with European and international actors. Not surprisingly, the University has chosen 'energy' as one of the key areas for its research and teaching. As part of the Faculty of Law, the Groningen Centre of Energy Law and Sustainability (GCELS) coordinates cutting-edge legal and multidisciplinary research and provides top-of-the-line education relevant for the energy transition. It brings together expertise from all legal fields relevant for the energy sector and the move towards a more sustainable society.


Within the Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen, GCELS coordinates all research involving various parts of the energy sector. Its research and education cover the entire energy chain as well as the transitions necessary to move towards a sustainable society. This includes all legislation and regulation applying to the production, transport, storage and supply of energy, the promotion of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, the need to secure energy supply, as well as climate action and environmental protection.

Energy law and sustainability law come together by addressing the legal dimension of the energy transition processes in which climate considerations play an important role. GCELS is involved in several national and European (Horizon 2020) research projects and cooperates with several market parties, including TSOs (Gasunie and TenneT), DSOs and energy production and supply companies as well as technical research institutions like TNO and the Technical Universities of Delft and Eindhoven.

The latest external visitation report of the Faculty of Law's research concluded specifically about our research programme Law on Energy and Sustainability: "The quality of the research staff and publications is excellent." (March 2023, p. 17, translated from Dutch: 'De kwaliteit van de onderzoeksstaf en publicaties is uitmuntend.')


GCELS is also responsible for teaching undergraduate and graduate courses. The LLM programme in Energy and Climate Law is ranked among the Top 10 Energy Masters of the World (by It also leads the executive master in energy law organized by the ‘North Sea Energy Law Partnership’ of the Universities of Aberdeen, Copenhagen, Groningen and Oslo.


The energy sector is developing from a national to an international industry as a result of which cross-border issues are becoming increasingly important. In parallel, a process of decentralization is unfolding which provides more opportunities for consumers to produce energy. At the same time, climate change regulation is expanding, not only at the European and international levels but also domestically, which increasingly requires the energy sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. GCELS focuses on the impact that these developments have on the legal framework within which the energy sector will need to operate.

Last modified:08 January 2024 12.14 p.m.
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