Emerging Issues in Energy Law: Renewables and Unconventional Fossil Fuels (3 credits)

This seminar will address the range of legal issues associated with unconventional fossil fuel development and the generation of electricity from renewable resources.  We will discuss utility-scale renewable siting, transmission interconnection, transmission line siting, and public lands and wildlife issues associated with large-scale renewable energy developments.  At the end of the seminar you should have a basic understanding of the major steps that an attorney for a wind or solar developer would have to take in order to have a renewable project approved, from obtaining local and/or state siting approval through signing a power purchase agreement with a utility.  At the local level, at which individuals place solar panels on roofs or wind turbines in backyards, we will discuss various common law and regulatory schemes for solar and wind access as well as nuisance suits and other challenges to local energy.  Moving to unconventional fossil fuels, we will explore unique regulatory and common law issues posed by hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas, including questions about mineral ownership; subsurface trespass; and the adequacy of local, state, regional, and federal regulation of the environmental effects of drilling and fracturing. Prerequisites: None