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Legal and Regulatory

Below are resources for Tribes on legal and regulatory issues.

A Guide to Community Solar: Utility, Private, and Non-Profit Project Development
A resource for community solar project development aimed at community organizers, solar advocates, government officials, and utility managers. Provides information on various community solar project models (utility-sponsored, special purpose entities, non-profits), state policies that support community solar projects (group billing, virtual net metering, joint ownership), and tax policies and incentives. Source: U.S. Department of Energy.

An Introduction to Geothermal Permitting
This guide tracks the geothermal permitting process through multiple levels, addressing such issues as the importance of where the geothermal resource is located, how the federal government defines geothermal, the kinds of permits needed, how states define geothermal, and which state agencies issue geothermal permits in each state. Source: Liz Battocletti, Bob Lawrence & Associates, Inc.

Contracting for Renewable Energy Services: Update on Power Purchase Agreements
Provides general information about power purchase agreements, guidelines, and contracting procedures, as well as renewable energy contract variables, and links to additional information. Source: New Jersey Department of Community Affairs-Local Finance.

Financing Public Sector Projects with Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs)
Fact sheet on Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs), which present a low-cost opportunity for public entities to issue bonds to finance renewable energy projects. Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Lava Law: Legal Issues in Geothermal Energy Development
Contains insights into the legal issues faced by developers and investors in the U.S. geothermal industry, including leasing, siting, and permitting geothermal energy projects; state regulation; power purchase agreements; design, engineering, and construction; finance; tax issues; and regulatory and transmission-related issues. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

The Law of Algae: A Guide to Algae Biofuels Business and Legal Issues
Includes insights and lessons learned on financing an algae biofuels project; technology issues; water, light, and land; design, engineering, and construction; commercial contracts; renewable fuel standard; and resolving disputes: preplanning. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

The Law of Biofuels: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues
Provides insights into the legal issues faced by developers and investors in the biofuels industry, including financing; the renewable fuel standard; siting and permitting; design, engineering, and construction; commercial contracts; tax issues; and more. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

The Law of Biomass: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues
Contains information on electricity generated from biomass sources, including determining project viability, financing, siting and permitting, tax issues, power purchase agreements, regulatory and transmission-related issues, and more. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

The Law of Building Green: Business and Legal Issues of Sustainable Real
Insights on key topics related to green development projects, such as integrated design, assessing and allocating risks, site development, community and neighborhood development, on-site renewable energy generation, tax incentives, and more. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

The Law of Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues
Contains insights into the legal issues faced by developers and investors in the U.S. ocean and tidal energy industry, including choice of corporate structure and entity; intellectual property; siting and permitting; lease agreements; land title matters; regulatory and transmission-related issues; design, engineering, and construction; power purchase agreements; tax issues; and finance. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

The Law of Wind
This guide contains insights into the legal issues faced by developers and investors in the U.S. wind power industry, including information specifically for Tribes such as federal land issues with siting and permitting and tribal laws and land issues. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

Lex Helius: The Law of Solar Energy: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues
A guide to the legal and financial issues surrounding solar energy project deployment including: property rights; power purchase agreements for both distributed generation projects and utility-scale projects; solar energy system design, engineering, construction, and installation agreements; regulatory and transmission-related issues; permitting; tax issues; and tribal legal and land issues. Source: Stoel Rives LLP.

Model Energy and Utility Service Code
A model tribal law for energy and utility services prepared for Kansas Tribes in a Word document that can be used by other Tribes. Source: Mni Sose Intertribal Water Rights Coalition.

Municipal Electric Utilities: Analysis and Case Studies
Gives an overview of municipal electric utilities, the pros and cons of pursuing municipalization, and four case studies to provide context. Source: Boulder Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Working Group.

Permitting of Wind Energy Facilities: A Handbook
Overview of the wind permitting process and tips on how to ensure permits are issued. Provides detailed guidance on specific permitting considerations such as: land use, noise, birds, and other biological resources; visual impact; soil erosion and water quality; public health and safety; cultural and paleontological resources; solid and hazardous wastes; air quality, and climate. Source: National Wind Coordinating Committee.

Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (“QECBs”) and New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (“New CREBs”)
Presentation on Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) and New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (New CREBs) volume allocation, bond mechanics and other considerations, qualified uses and procedures, and market perspectives. Source: U.S. Department of Energy.

Renewable Energy on Tribal Lands
Overview of wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric, and geothermal power technologies and project implementation issues, including infrastructure concerns. Also discusses potential project business structures and financing methods. Source: Global Energy Network Institute.

Third-Party Financing and Power Purchase Agreements for Public Sector PV Projects
Presentation on third-party financing and power purchase agreements (PPA) for public sector photovoltaic projects that includes information on third-party PPA structure, benefits, key elements, economics, and legal issues. Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Transmission 101
Presentation from the National Council on Electricity Policy’s Transmissions Technologies workshop. Includes information on transmission technology, costs, and how to plan the system. Source: National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Tribal Business Structure Handbook
Reviews each tribal business entity from the perspective of sovereign immunity and legal liability, corporate formation and governance, federal tax consequences and eligibility for special financing. Covers governmental entities (e.g., instrumentalities, political subdivisions, and Section 17 corporations) as well as the more common business structures, such as corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies. Source: Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development.

Tribal Energy Resource Agreements: DOI Application and Review Process Flow Chart
An overview of the steps involved in obtaining a tribal energy resource agreement (TERA), which allows Tribes to manage leases, business agreements, and rights-of-way for energy development on tribal lands without the prior approval of the Secretary of the Interior. Source: Argonne National Laboratory.

Tribal Energy Resource Agreements: DOI Final Rule 25 CFR Part 224 (Federal Register)
Detailed description of the rules and regulations governing the establishment of a TERA. Source: Argonne National Laboratory.

Tribal Legal Code: Umpqua Indian Utility Cooperative
Example tribal utility legal code. Also includes an example tribal energy development vision statement. Source: Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians.