Renewable Energy Zoning & Permitting Essential Principles

Renewable Energy Zoning & Permitting Essential Principles

January 11, 2024 | Online :: Central Time

Effective renewable energy zoning and permitting aims to facilitate the expansion of clean energy sources while addressing potential impacts and promoting sustainable development within communities. These processes involve aligning renewable energy initiatives with local land-use policies, environmental regulations, and community considerations. After all, engagement with local communities stands as a cornerstone of successful renewable energy ventures.

Against the backdrop of an evolving energy landscape, this conference illuminates the pivotal role that zoning and permitting plays in shaping the sustainable future we strive for. Attendees will gain comprehensive knowledge that encompasses legal frameworks, environmental considerations, community engagement, technological integration and more. This conference will unite a diverse array of perspectives, fostering collaboration that will empower attendees to propel renewable energy projects from concept to reality.

Join us to unlock the keys to regulatory mastery, sustainable integration, and a future fueled by renewable energy.

Learning Outcomes

Attendees will:

  • Review important regulatory frameworks for energy projects
  • Analyze how to mitigate the environmental impacts of renewable energy projects, including considerations related to wildlife, ecosystems and local communities
  • Explore techniques for evaluating and selecting suitable sites based on zoning regulations, environmental factors and community preferences
  • Review the permitting process, including timelines, documentation requirements, public hearings and interactions with regulatory agencies
  • Evaluate the legal aspects such as contract negotiations, land leases, easements and compliance with local and federal laws
  • Evaluate effective strategies for engaging with local communities, landowners, government agencies and other stakeholders to build support and address concerns related to renewable energy projects


Thursday, January 11, 2024 : Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In and Welcome

12:15 – 1:00 p.m.
Lunch Break

9:00 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Conference Timing

9:00 – 9:15 a.m. :: Overview and Instructions

9:15 – 9:45 a.m. :: Land Use Approvals: Processes and Best Practices

This section will address concerns and strategies associated with acquiring local zoning-related approvals for different renewable energy technologies. Though broadly applicable, examples from New York State will be offered and the following topics will be addressed:

  • Developer due diligence
  • Permit application requirements and documentation
  • Timelines, review processes and decision making
  • Addressing common permitting challenges

Kevin R. Bliss, Ph.D., PWS; Division Director, Environmental Affairs and Permitting, RIC Development, LLC

9:45 – 10:30 a.m. :: Zoning & Permitting Considerations for Renewable Energy Projects

  • Zoning and solar projects, including rooftop, community scale, and utility-scale solar farms
  • State control vs. local control varies by state
  • Zoning: By-right, conditional use permit, or ban
    • Connection to the local comprehensive plan/master plan
  • Zoning: The location, size, construction, operation, and retirement of solar facilities. Solar access ordinance
  • Zoning and wind energy permits, including onshore and offshore projects
  • Zoning and siting for stand-alone wind machines, wind farms
    • Connection to the local comprehensive plan/master plan
  • Offshore projects: federal permits environmental impact statement, air permits and other permits. State and local permits
  • Zoning and energy storage and battery systems: regulatory opportunities and obstacles

Tom Daniels, Crossways Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania

10:30 – 10:45 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:45 – 11:45 a.m. :: Navigating the Regulatory Regime for Renewables

This session explores the various regulatory authorities (local, state and federal) involved in siting renewable energy facilities, with a focus on utility-scale projects. It will consider nuances related to project size, type and location as well as proposed legislation that may impact the siting process. Particular topics of discussion include zoning requirements, permitting, and community engagement.

Danielle Stokes, Assistant Professor, University of Richmond School of Law – Formerly: Associate, McGuireWoods LLP

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. :: Permitting in the Western US (Working on Federal Lands)

The federal government owns about 640 million acres of land in the United States, about 28% of the total land area of 2.27 billion acres. The majority (92%) of federal lands are located in Alaska and western states, managed by a range of federal agencies. This presentation provides an overview of some of the key issues specific to working on federally managed lands in the western United States, which can require involvement of one to multiple federal agencies for a single project.

Doree Dufresne, Senior Project Manager, TRC Companies

12:15 – 1:00 p.m. :: Lunch Break

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. :: Emerging Trends in Renewable Energy Zoning & Permitting

As the federal government and some state and local governments work to mitigate climate change, they are changing land-use regulatory and permitting regimes for renewable energy to enhance growth in this sector. Three themes of these changes include streamlining and limiting regulatory requirement, supporting and planning for the infrastructure that accompanies renewable energy development, and providing information that supports faster renewable energy development.

Some of the key trends within these themes include the following:

  • Streamlining and limiting regulations
    • Centralized state siting processes (NY) with deadline for approval
    • Faster federal leasing processes and reduced permitting fees
    • State limits on local rooftop solar permitting fees
    • Solar zoning – permitted or conditional use
  • Supporting and planning for infrastructure
    • Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – more federal siting authority and funding for transmission lines
    • Requirements for PV on new buildings (California) and solar ready subdivisions
  • Providing information
    • National Renewable Energy Lab’s SolarApp+ – faster approval under building, electrical codes
    • Department of the Interior programmatic environmental review – solar sites in the west

Many of the trends in zoning regulation aim to support more solar development, but other trends are slowing it down. The trends that slow the pace of solar development include interconnection queues in areas such as PJM and a growing number of local governments banning utility-scale solar or blocking proposed projects under existing zoning codes.

Hannah Wiseman, Professor – College of Law and College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State University; Co-Director, Penn State Center for Energy Law and Policy

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. :: Legal and Contractual Trends in Renewable Energy Project Development

Renewable energy projects are complex, long-term, require significant capital investment and typically involve a wide variety of stakeholders. In an industry that is undergoing swift and unprecedented development, the risk of disputes arising during each phase of a project is high. The scale and speed of development, set against an ever-changing regulatory backdrop, requires careful thought to ensure that parties adequately consider and account for these risks. In this session, we consider the current renewables sector, review the specific risks associated with renewables projects and then assess potential legal and contractual mechanisms for mitigating such risks.

  • Road use agreements: special provisions for road use and fees
  • Recent developments in agreements with landowners and stakeholders
  • Legal hurdles and potential solutions in renewable energy development
  • Risk mitigation approaches to developing wind, solar, and battery storage
  • Overcoming challenges to renewable energy projects

Amy Antoniolli, Counsel, ArentFox Schiff LLP

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

2:45 – 3:15 p.m. :: Environmental Impact Assessment and Mitigation

This session will address common environmental concerns associated with renewable energy development relative to their impact assessment and mitigation including the following:

  • Conducting a critical (environmental) issues analysis
  • Applicable regulations
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) principles
  • A focus on wetlands

Kevin R. Bliss, Ph.D., PWS; Division Director, Environmental Affairs and Permitting, RIC Development, LLC

3:15 – 4:00 p.m. :: Siting Strategies; Community Perspective and Co-benefits

This session will look at siting considerations (location and site design) from the perspective of gaining community acceptance – mitigating community-perceived risks, responding to community priorities, creating local co-benefits, and will focus the following:

  • Understanding the comprehensive or master plan
  • Low impact siting considerations
  • Physical ecosystem service impacts and opportunities
  • Cultural ecosystem service impacts and opportunities

Brian Ross, AICP, Vice President, The Great Plains Institute

4:00 – 4:45 p.m. :: Working with Local Communities to Win Project Approvals

In many states around the country, county and township governments hold the authority to determine whether solar projects can move forward or not. Generally regulated through zoning and land use codes and local ordinances, local government officials are often challenged to make difficult decisions in highly contentious environments. Clean energy siting decisions are often some of the most significant decisions these officials will ever make, yet they are often overwhelmed by misinformation, impassioned project opponents, and failures of process. In this session, we will explore how these conversations often play out in host communities, how solar developers can seek to engage in more productive discussions with communities, and the role of negotiated community benefit agreements.

Dahvi Wilson, President, Siting Clean

4:45 – 5:15 p.m. :: How the Department of Energy’s Grid Deployment Office is Financing, Siting, Planning, and Permitting Electric Tranmission Infrastructure to Expand Renewable Energy Integration

This presentation will provide an overview of the Department of Energy’s Grid Deployment Office (GDO) and the unique tools and authorities at GDO’s disposal to coordinate, plan, finance, facilitate, and permit electricity transmission. This includes: The Transmission Facilitation Program (TFP), a revolving fund program that offers federal financing tools to overcome the cost burdens associated with large-scale transmission projects, The Transmission Siting and Economic Development (TSED) program, a grant program to expand transmission capacity while supporting communities along major new and upgraded lines, Transmission Needs and Transmission Planning studies, which seek to identify national need and long-term, flexible, and interregional solutions to building a successful transmission network GDO will also provide a comprehensive overview of its Noticied of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to establish the Coordinated Interagency Transmission Authorization and Permits (CITAP) Program, which will help accelerate Federal environmental review and permitting processes for qualifying onshore electric transmission facilities.

Nina Peluso, Senior Policy Advisor, Grid Deployment Office (GDO), Department of Energy


  • Amy Antoniolli, Counsel, ArentFox Schiff LLP

  • Kevin R. Bliss, Ph.D., PWS; Division Director, Environmental Affairs and Permitting, RIC Development, LLC

  • Tom Daniels, Crossways Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania

  • Doree Dufresne, Senior Project Manager, TRC Companies

  • Nina Peluso, Senior Policy Advisor, Grid Deployment Office (GDO), Department of Energy

  • Brian Ross, AICP, Vice President, The Great Plains Institute

  • Danielle Stokes, Assistant Professor, University of Richmond School of Law

  • Dahvi Wilson, President, Siting Clean

  • Hannah Wiseman, Professor – College of Law and College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State University; Co-Director, Penn State Center for Energy Law and Policy

Online Delivery

We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

  • Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
  • You will receive a separate email with a unique link to a personalized landing page which will include links to join all sessions of this event.
  • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
  • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.


Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all attendees for 7 days after the event


Renewable Energy Zoning & Permitting Essential Principles

January 11, 2024 | Online
Individual attendee(s) - $ 895.00 each

Volume pricing also available

Individual attendee tickets can be mixed with ticket packs for complete flexibility

Pack of 5 attendees - $ 3,580.00 (20% discount)
Pack of 10 attendees - $ 6,265.00 (30% discount)
Pack of 20 attendees - $ 10,740.00 (40% discount)

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before December 08, 2023 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800




EUCI is accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and offers IACET CEUs for its learning events that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard. IACET is recognized internationally as a standard development organization and accrediting body that promotes quality of continuing education and training.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.7 CEUs for this event

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must sign in/out each day, be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

Power Point presentations and Q&A

Upon successful completion of this event, program participants interested in receiving CPE credits will receive a certificate of completion.

Course CPE Credits: 8.0
There is no prerequisite for this Course.
Program field of study: Specialized Knowledge
Program Level: Basic
Delivery Method: Group Internet Based
Advanced Preparation: None

CpeEUCI is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its web site:


Who Should Attend

  • Utilities
  • Federal, state, city and municipal agencies
  • Renewable energy project developers, investors and sponsors
  • Attorneys
  • Consultants
  • Non-profits & associations focused on environmental policy