Lighting the Way: Obstacles and Opportunities for Renewable Energy Projects (ELI Master Class)

April 21, 2021 12:00 pm — 3:00 pm
Webinar only

An ELI Master Class

Renewable energy usage – including wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectric energy production – has skyrocketed in the United States over the last decade. Since 2010, renewable energy usage has nearly quadrupled to 11% of all energy consumed - nearly equivalent to the energy produced by coal. Moreover, experts project renewable energy usage to double by 2030. Despite this optimism, these projects face unique legal, regulatory, and practical hurdles.

While renewable energy projects have substantially lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than traditional energy production sources, these projects may still pose significant environmental impacts, especially in regards to habitat degradation and land use. For instance, while traditional energy production facilities, such as natural gas, require approximately one-third of an acre per megawatt (MW) produced, solar and wind energy projects require between 10-60 acres per MW. This difference in the amount of land needed poses additional challenges in siting and environmental review for new renewable energy projects.

Despite these obstacles, renewable energy development is critical to mitigating GHG emissions and new projects are expected to boom under the Biden administration. Join ELI and leading experts for an in-depth exploration of the legal and policy challenges facing new renewable energy projects and best practices to mitigate these challenges, as well as the opportunities and obstacles facing the future of renewable energy project developments.

12:00 - 12:15 PM

Opening Remarks
Natalie Lee
, Deputy Director, Renewable Energy Division, California Energy Commission

12:15 - 1:30 PM

Panel 1: Siting, Environmental Reviews & Renewable Energy will dive into the legal and policy challenges associated with project development siting, key considerations for environmental reviews, as well as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act requirements for project development and best practices for new projects. Expert panelists will also explore the financial and practical challenges facing new renewable energy projects.

Romany Webb
, Senior Fellow, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School, Moderator
Gene Grace, General Counsel, American Clean Power Association (ACP)
Cullen Howe, Senior Renewable Energy Advocate, Climate & Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Jill Yung, Partner, Paul Hastings LLP

1:30 - 1:45 PM


1:45 - 3:00 PM

Panel 2: Energy 2035: Opportunities and Challenges will weigh the policy and practical opportunities and obstacles facing the Biden administration’s goal to generate carbon-free electricity by 2035. Expert panelists will explore the challenges including the key role played by domestic manufacturing and constraints in the U.S., limitations to energy storage and transportation especially with regards to battery storage capacity, and the equitable distribution of renewable energy especially in under-resourced communities. Leading panelists will also highlight opportunities for industry and stakeholders stemming from the recently issued Executive Order “Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers.”

Emily Leslie
, Consultant, Energy Reflections, Moderator
James Critchfield
, Director, Green Power Partnership Program, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
John Hall, Director, Regulatory & Legislative Affairs, Environmental Defense Fund
Anne Hoskins, Chief Policy Officer, Sunrun Inc.
Destenie Nock, Assistant Professor, College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University

ELI members have access to materials/a recording of this session (usually posted w/in 48 hours). If you are not an ELI member but would like to have access to archived sessions like this one, go HERE to see the many benefits of membership and how to join.


Webinar CLE Attendees (you must have selected CLE info when you registered):

  • When watching the webinar you will need to have the webinar at the forefront of your computer screen as GoTo webinar software will be tracking attentiveness and creating an attentiveness report.
  • You will need to be watching the webinar for a majority of the time to receive CLE Credit.
  • We will email you the CLE information and certification within one week of the event.