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Obtaining Permits for Renewable Energy Projects in California (Audio Only)

(238 reviews)

Produced on January 18, 2018

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Course Information

Time 1h 1m
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

This program will provide an overview of environmental permits for renewable energy projects in California, with a focus on utility-scale solar projects. The program will be useful to any attorney representing energy businesses, real estate or energy project developers, manufacturers, utilities, or any business seeking to develop projects with a renewable energy component.

Gordon Hart, Partner at Paul Hastings, will begin by discussing the overall landscape of renewable energy in California before moving onto the processes for seeking permits for projects on both private and federal land. The program will include with a discussion of best practices to help you and your client avoid and prepare for litigation.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Gain an overview of the renewable energy landscape in California, with a closer look at the renewable portfolio standard
  2. Examine the overall context of environmental permitting for public or private lands, and various items of consideration including the acquisition of land rights, power purchase agreements, land use entitlements, and resource agency permits
  3. Review the areas of state and federal law under which litigation is most likely to occur, and develop best practices for both avoiding and preparing for such litigation

Credit Information

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Gordon Hart

Paul Hastings LLP

Gordon E. Hart is a partner in the Real Estate practice of Paul Hastings and is based in the firm’s San Francisco office. He focuses on environmental and land use law, and government advocacy. His practice includes permitting, enforcement, transactional and litigation issues on behalf of real estate developers, energy project developers, commercial property owners, public agencies, manufacturers, and environmental service and waste management companies. 


Mr. Hart's work on behalf of clients encompasses the following:

  • Obtaining and renewing permits, authorizations and entitlements from local, state and federal agencies under various state and federal land use and environmental laws;
  • Supervising the preparation of environmental impact reports and statements, remedial action plans, risk management plans, and similar plans and reports;
  • Defending against litigation challenging projects under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other state and federal planning and environmental statutes;
  • Supervising environmental due diligence efforts, drafting and negotiating environmental provisions in purchase and sale agreements, land use covenants and other property transfer and documents;
  • Drafting and negotiating environmental remediation contracts and environmental insurance policies;
  • Defending environmental enforcement actions brought by state and federal regulatory agencies and negotiating consent decrees and other enforceable agreements;
  • Lobbying the California State Legislature and executive agencies on legislative and regulatory proposals.

Speaking Engagements and Publications

  • Author of "Brownfields Redevelopment at Closed Military Bases," a chapter in the American Bar Association's handbook, Environmental Aspects of Business and Real Estate Transactions (3rd Ed. 2004).

Professional and Community Involvement 

  • Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Hart served in several capacities on the staff of the California State Legislature. Those positions included serving as  senior consultant to the Senate Toxics and Public Safety Management Committee, as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as counsel to the Speaker of the Assembly.
  • He has served on numerous local and state agency advisory committees related to land use, transportation, hazardous waste and other environmental issues over the last twenty-five years.


  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, graduated first in class, 1994 (Order of the Coif and Order of the Barristers)
  • Fellow in Public Affairs with the Coro Foundation, 1985-1986
  • Reed College, B.A. in Political Science, 1984

Practice Areas


  • California Bar


  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, J.D., 1994
  • Reed College, B.A., 1984


Fatima A.

was informative

George A.

excellent presentation

David D.

Instructive on the complex nature of permitting even relatively simple solar energy projects

Mark K.

Good intro overview. I learned a lot.

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