Recently in Renewable Energy Category

Renewable Energy Update: Two New Nationwide Permits for Dredge and Fill Activities Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act Now Effective for Renewable Energy Projects

March 22, 2012

by Scott Castro

On March 19, 2012, two new and 48 reissued Nationwide Permits (NWPs) for certain dredge and fill activities requiring authorization under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act took effect. Nationwide Permits are issued by the Corps under Section 404(e) to provide a streamlined authorization process for dredge and fill activities having minimal adverse effects on the aquatic environment. Every five years, the Army Corps of Engineers issues revised and/or new Nationwide Permits. The last permits were issued in 2007, and expired on March 18, 2012. The two new NWPs affect renewable energy facilities, and projects qualifying for these Nationwide Permits should benefit from significant reductions in the time, effort and money necessary to obtain a Section 404 permit.

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Renewable Energy Update: Proposed Regulatory Changes For Tribal Leases Provide Promise for Solar and Wind Projects

March 19, 2012

by Scott Castro

While there has been strong interest among the tribes to develop renewable energy projects on their lands, antiquated leasing rules have long served as a bar to such efforts. However, on November 28, 2011, the Department of Interior (DOI) announced a proposed rule revising the federal surface leasing regulations for American Indian lands that could dramatically reduce the timeline for solar and wind lease approvals on Indian land. If the proposed rule is adopted, it may help to stimulate investment in solar and wind projects on Indian lands by fast-tracking and streamlining agency review and approval of proposed solar and wind leases. Solar and wind companies would be well-served to understand the full scope of the proposed rule, and to evaluate -- or re-evaluate -- potential leasing opportunities on tribal lands, particularly given that DOI, acting as trustee, is charged with managing approximately 56 million surface acres of tribal lands.

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The Williamson Act: A Growing Obstacle for Solar and Wind Development In California

March 5, 2012

by Jon Welner

California's rural landscapes are some of the most productive farmlands in the world. However, some of the qualities that make these lands suitable for farming--sunshine and wide open spaces--also make them attractive for another kind of "farming": solar and wind farms. In recent years, the conflict between farming and renewable energy production has grown more pronounced in California. Central to this conflict is the California Land Conservation Act of 1965, generally known as the Williamson Act (Gov't Code §§ 51200-51297.4).

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