For centuries, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio have been at the forefront of energy development and that will continue into the future. New types of energy development are beginning to compliment the coal, oil and natural gas that have been mainstays of energy production. As increasing demands are placed on the electric grid, new energy sources are needed. Legal issues will arise as these new energy sources interact with land use, zoning and property development projects and will need competent legal counsel to address these issues.
Renewable energy developments like wind and solar offer Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio property owners a new opportunity to benefit from the value of their property. Re-use of existing infrastructure for carbon capture, carbon sequestration, carbon storage energy storage and energy generation offers additional potential for property owners.
With any development opportunity, particularly with emerging technologies, there are many levels of complexity. This complexity is compounded by properties whose surface, minerals and oil and gas may all be owned separately and may be subject to competing claims.
Contracts for renewable energy development are prepared by sophisticated companies, can burden property for decades and restrict other uses of the land. It is important for property owners to be aware of the details in these agreements and their impact on the use and future development of the land. At the same time, if property is subject to an oil and gas lease or mineral lease, surface property owners should be aware of the interaction between such existing lease and a new proposed agreement for renewable energy development, like wind or solar.
Repurposing existing infrastructure for new energy development carries its own complexity and questions of property rights. Oil, gas and coal and mining companies may claim rights to use old and abandoned wells or mines for energy storage, carbon sequestration, geothermal energy or waste disposal. But, these companies may not have the rights that they claim. In addition, there are a host of regulatory issues and requirements at federal, state and even local levels that are emerging and can impact the use of property for solar, wind and renewable energy development.
Houston Harbaugh’s attorneys assist clients navigating these exciting but developing areas of the law, including:
- Solar energy leasing
- Wind energy leasing
- Energy/electricity right of way negotiation
- Surface nondisturbance agreements
- Property and pore space ownership for carbon capture, carbon storage, carbon sequestration, geothermal and waste disposal
- Reviewing existing leases/contracts for compliance
If you have been presented with a proposal to use your property for solar, wind or renewable energy projects or if your property is currently being used for solar, wind or renewable energy and you are uncertain about the rights that others claim to have over your property, Houston Harbaugh’s Solar, Wind and Renewable Energy attorneys are here to help. Click here or call 412-281-5060.