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Recent Developments in Renewable Energy: Law, Politics & Practice

(230 reviews)

Produced on May 11, 2018

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Course Information

Time 1h 4m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Environmental Oil, Gas, & Energy

Course Description

This program, presented by Devin McDougall and John-Patrick Curran of Sive, Paget & Riesel P.C., will provide an overview of recent developments in law and policy on the federal and state levels affecting renewable energy initiatives. Topics to be covered include the current state of renewable energy use and development in the U.S., an overview of power purchase agreements and related documents, practice tips, and broader policy discussions about renewable energy now and in the future.

The presentation provides an update to the 2017 presentation, “Renewable Energy: Law Politics & Practice.” If you missed that program, don’t worry. This course will revisit the basics of renewables before getting into the changes that have happened since then, which include changes in various environmental regulatory programs at the federal level that may affect the price of traditional power generation, as well as ongoing changes at the state level to incentivize renewables.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Examine the current status of renewable energy use in the U.S.
  2. Identify changes in environmental programs and renewable energy incentives under the Trump Administration
  3. Explore how clients (residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, governmental) can benefit from current programs and investment opportunities
  4. Analyze various changes at the state level intended to incentivize renewables

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


John-Patrick Curran

Sive, Paget & Riesel

John’s practice focuses on environmental and construction law, representing residential, commercial and industrial real property owners, operators and developers, construction managers, contractors, design professionals and lenders. John guides clients in navigating complex issues relating to real estate acquisition and development, construction, property management, risk management and management of environmental conditions at facilities throughout the United States.

As a construction attorney, John employs his skills as a draftsman and negotiator specializing in the negotiation and drafting of design, design build, construction and procurement contracts. John also counsels clients on property acquisition, development and construction related business issues, such as pricing, avoidance and allocation of risk, scheduling, project delivery methods, insurance and bonding. With a strong knowledge and understanding of the entire design and construction process, John provides guidance from the earliest stages of project planning through final completion and occupancy, including the avoidance and/or resolution of related disputes, such as design and construction defects, property damage and neighboring property owner disputes, project delays and cost escalations.

John’s environmental practice focuses on complex brownfield and contaminated site remediation and redevelopment, environmental aspects of real estate transactions and corporate mergers, acquisitions and divestitures and regulatory compliance. At the earliest project stages, whether an acquisition or rehabilitation of an existing facility or site development and ground up construction of a new building, John’s focus is on the anticipation, assessment and allocation of environmental risk. John also assists clients in the remediation and rehabilitation of contaminated properties, including entry and participation in complex regulatory programs such as the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program.

As both a construction and environmental attorney, John frequently represents clients in connection with such matters as cost-cap and fixed price remediation contracts, combined remediation and development projects and utility and energy infrastructure projects such as “turnkey” design-build and design-build-operate co-generation and solar PV projects.

Having begun his career as a litigator, John has extensive experience in all aspects of sophisticated commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution. As a litigator, John has successfully handled matters involving environmental liability, cost recovery and cleanup, construction and design defects and contract claims, land use, loan workouts, commercial and residential leases, employment, franchise and commercial unfair competition and non-competition matters.

Before joining SPR, John spent 23 years, first as an associate and then as a partner, with the law firm of Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP.


John’s work as an environmental and construction attorney has included major projects throughout the New York area, including:

  • The Lincoln Center Promenade Reconstruction
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Various projects, including the Costume Institute, Fifth Avenue Plaza Renovation, Switchgear Replacement and South and North Cooling Towers
  • The Roundabout Theatre Renovation of Studio 54
  • The Educational Alliance’s Rehabilitation of its 124 year old flagship building at 197 East Broadway, including serving as the Alliance’s general counsel in a $44 million New Markets Tax Credits financing
  • Empire Stores Restoration and Redevelopment – Restoration and conversion for office, restaurant and retail use of the historic warehouses located in Brooklyn Bridge Park


  • Adjunct professor in Construction Law and Practice at the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate and School of Continuing and Professional Studies


  • Lien on Me – Understanding NY Mechanics Liens, Lawline.com, Webcast, March 12, 2013
  • Contractual Indemnities: Key Provisions and Best Practices, CLE Program, March 6, 2013
  • Apartment Alterations: a Case Study, CLE Program, January 24, 2013 (NYS Bar Association)
  • Reducing Owner’s Construction Risk: A Case Study, CLE Program, June 6, 2012
  • Making Energy Work for You, Invitation Program, April 7, 2011
  • Fundamentals of Construction Management, CLE Program, March 15, 2011
  • Current Issues in Real Estate Litigation, CLE Program, November 16, 2010 (NYC Bar Association)


  • The Importance Of Contractual Indemnification, NYLJ, March 13, 2013
  • Options Available for Owners To Challenge Mechanic’s Liens, NYLJ, September 12, 2012
  • Owner’s Rider to the AIA Form of General Contract, NYLJ, June 20, 2012
  • Damages Available for Architectural Malpractice, NYLJ, March 24, 2012
  • Fees a Developer May Encounter When Generating Hazardous Waste, NYLJ, December 21, 2011
  • Creating Effective Mechanics’ Lien Waivers, NYLJ, September 14, 2011
  • Owner Friendly Modifications to Construction Forms, NYLJ, June 15, 2011
  • New City Green Laws May Spur Retrofitting, NYLJ, March 9, 2011
  • Statutes of Limitations for Construction and Design Defects, NYLJ, November 10, 2010
  • Liability of Construction Managers: Look to the Contract, NYLJ, September 29, 2010
  • Cooperative Surety Can Help Salvage a Defaulted Project, NYLJ, June 30, 2010
  • Brownfield Program Should Benefit a Range of Projects, NYLJ, March 10, 2010
  • New Asbestos Regulations To Boost Costs, Enforcement, NYLJ, September 30, 2009
  • Special Rules Govern Condo Mechanic’s Liens, NYLJ, July 29, 2009
  • Brownfields Cleanup – Case Law, Amendments May Modify Program, NYLJ, March 12, 2008

Devin McDougall

Sive, Paget & Riesel P.C.

Devin’s practice includes renewable energy, litigation, and brownfields redevelopment. Devin has particular expertise on solar, and has counselled municipal governments, businesses, investors, and nonprofits on legal aspects of developing photovoltaic generation projects. With respect to litigation, Devin specializes in administrative law, and has significant experience with Article 78 litigation.

Devin’s experience includes representing a major Canadian solar developer on a large community solar project in Minnesota, advising a consortium of municipal governments on collectively purchasing solar for municipal properties, and counselling national companies on deployment of solar and other distributed energy at their facilities. Additionally, he has lectured on community solar issues at Columbia University and the New York State Bar Association. He is a member of the Energy Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and is a graduate of the New York City Environmental Law Leadership Institute.

He is an honors graduate of Columbia Law School, and holds a B.A. and M.A. in politics from McGill University. He was born in New York City and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. He maintains an active pro bono practice, which has included advising nonprofits on sustainability and renewable energy issues domestically and abroad.


Lynne L.

This lawfirm is my favorite presenter on the topic. Makes it interesting and is very knowledgeable.

Brian O.

Great job

Pamela W.

Interesting overview of some of the developments in this field.

John A. M.

Thorough and well-organized presentation by two experienced and knowledgeable practitioners.


Excellent materials and presentation! I hope the presenters will have more courses that cover other aspects of the field, including settled and ongoing cases.

Eric S.

Great course.

John N.

very informative

Carl K.

Jam-packed with information. Well done.

Mattie A.


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