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Law Summer Courses

Renewable Energy and 21st Century Law 948-MS1

December 14, 2013

Renewable power is the cornerstone of the federal government’s push for a new “smart” energy infrastructure in the U.S.  Now, the largest share of new power projects built each year in the U.S. is independent power projects rather than utility facilities, and is renewable low-carbon technology options rather than conventional fossil-fueled projects.  Moreover, with the federal government in some gridlock, most of the energy policy action is at the state level through the  implementation of  an innovative palette of renewable energy incentives.

Renewable power puts several legal elements in unconventional motion along different axes:


  • Dichotomies in how electric power is subsidized and paid for, and by whom
  • Distinctions in legal treatment of utility ownership and independent projects
  • Siting conflicts between renewable power facilities and environmental and land-use laws
  • Fundamental Constitutional conflicts between state and federal authorities over power


This course will dive into all of the moving legal and policy elements and conflicts, and will do so with students handling real cases for clients.  This is a class where students will roll up their sleeves and undertake a hands-on navigation through real-world legal problems of renewable power. The course will cover various policies that states and the federal government employ to incentivize or mandate renewable energy, including the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, renewable portfolio standards, feed-in-tariffs, system benefit charges, net metering and tax policies. After covering  the fundamentals, students will be divided into several renewable project developer  and governmental stakeholder groups, and navigate through  a hands-on legal battle over actual licensing, zoning, land-use, Health Department, waste-related, wetlands, and other  siting issues for a renewable energy facility.

Students will learn though actual experiential real-world problem-solving.  Professor Ferrey has served as counsel in renewable energy matters over decades on both the West and East coasts, as well as extensive work overseas. The Professor will supply course-specific material;   purchase of a book will not be required.   Evaluation of class participation in the simulation, as well as a take-home exam, will be the basis for grading.  This course develops student skills through its hands-on simulation approach, and adds a distinct renewable energy component to study of   energy law.

For more information:

Adjunct Professor: Steve Ferrey
1 credits
Class Meets: Tuesday June 3 - Monday June 9
Time: 1:30pm - 4:30pm
Room: Smith
Exam: June 9
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