Texas property owners are becoming more knowledgeable on renewable energy as wind and solar projects continue to thrive in the state of Texas. In the early stages of renewable development, leases were not heavily negotiated and were executed swiftly, at little cost to developers. Today, the expectation is quite different.
Continue Reading Increased Landowner Sophistication Ramps Up Lease Negotiations in Texas

A recent Texas case, Lyle v. Midway Solar, S.W. 3d, 2020 WL 7769632 (Tex. App. Ct., El Paso 83rd Dist. 2020), addressed a challenge that many solar developers wrestle with: how to handle mineral owners. The El Paso Court of Appeals clarified this complex issue and demonstrated the importance of properly addressing the minerals on a site prior to developing a project.

Key Takeaways for Renewable Energy Developers:

This is an important case that renewable energy developers can look to in assessing the minerals on a project site. First, the court actually acknowledged that Texas was a leader in energy and produced the largest share of oil and gas, but that public policy favors adding renewable energy sources into the State’s energy portfolio, which is a great development for renewable energy developers. This case focuses on the conflict between the surface/solar owner and mineral owner/developer, which is always an issue especially for solar developers. The opinion does not address any fact-specific analysis that must be performed when applying the accommodation doctrine, but it 1) does help confirm that the accommodation doctrine does apply when the deed/contract does not address the uses of the surface, 2) sets when the application of the accommodation doctrine should be used, and 3) shows the importance of obtaining any agreements from the proper parties before filing them of record.
Continue Reading Mineral Owner vs. Solar Company: New Texas Case Addresses Key Issue

On February 5, 2021, House Democrats reintroduced the GREEN Act. The GREEN Act extends federal tax credits for renewable energy and expands them to include new storage technology.

Key provisions include:

  • extending the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar energy at 30% through 2025 before phasing down to 26% in 2026, 22% in 2027 and then 10% from there;
  • extending the 30% investment tax credit for offshore wind property through 2026;
  • preserving the wind production tax credit’s 60% phaseout level through 2026;
  • extending the production tax credit for marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy facilities through 2026; and
  • providing for a 30% investment tax credit for energy storage technology.


Continue Reading New and Expanded Clean Energy Tax Incentives on the Horizon

Europe’s offshore wind sector enjoyed a record $31 billion of investment in 2020. The U.S has some serious work to do to catch up. While development of land-based wind and solar projects continues at a rapid pace across the U.S., we lag far behind many other countries when it comes to offshore project development. There are currently only two small offshore wind projects operating in the U.S.

There are signs, though, that change is coming.


Continue Reading Offshore Wind Positioned to Take Off Under Biden

In a move to provide relief for taxpayers developing renewable energy projects and producing electricity from sources such as wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, trash, and hydropower, the IRS has issued Notice 2020-41 which adds an extra year to the four year “Continuity Safe Harbor” for certain projects that began construction in 2016 or 2017.
Continue Reading IRS Extends Continuity Safe Harbor from 4 to 5 years.

When beginning a solar project in Texas, developers must be cognizant of the potential conflict between the surface and mineral estates. In Texas, mineral rights can be severed from the surface estate, and when severed, the mineral estate rights are dominant, meaning the mineral estate has the implied right to use as much of the surface, subsurface, and adjacent airspace of the land as is reasonably necessary to locate and develop the mineral estate beneath. This right can cause complications for solar developers if not properly addressed.

This blog post focuses on the preemptive steps a solar developer should take to protect its project from impacts by oil and gas operations.


Continue Reading Texas Solar Energy Projects: Avoiding Mineral Issues

By the time the March 8, 2019 bill filing deadline for the 86th Texas Legislature passed, many bills concerning the electric industry had been filed. Storage, cybersecurity of the electric grid, and capital project tax abatements are among the energy issues Texas lawmakers are considering. This reviews the major filed bills before the current Texas Legislature.

Continue Reading 86th Texas Legislature to Consider Bills Concerning Cybersecurity and Storage, Among Other Electric Industry Issues

The Renewable Fuels Association National Ethanol Conference (NEC) concluded on February 13. During the last few quarters, ethanol margins have been at the lowest levels in many years resulting in reduced production and the permanent closure of some plants. A number of plants are seeking buyers. In this climate, the focus of the NEC was on the future of the industry. Here are some key points gleaned from multiple conference presentations.
Continue Reading Insights from the 2019 Renewable Fuels Association National Ethanol Conference

Members of Husch Blackwell’s renewable energy team attended the 2019 Infocast Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit in Carlsbad, CA, February 5-7. Here are some of the themes from the conference:

  • While there is a push to complete many projects in 2020, there was a lot of discussion about how the industry and project financing will evolve in coming years as the Production Tax Credit steps down and after it sunsets. The industry is becoming increasingly complex with ever-changing state and federal policies, an increase in C&I offtakers, increasingly complex non-traditional offtake arrangements, and new financing parties waiting in the wings. It is important to understand the challenges and opportunities that these changes create. Husch Blackwell’s renewable energy team can help you navigate these ever changing challenges and opportunities and ensure that your project is completed on time and in compliance with all state and federal policies.


Continue Reading 2019 Infocast Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit Recap