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Energy Law: Statutes & Practice Guides

A guide to researching Energy law for law students, bar examinees, and other researchers.



Department of Energy —  The cabinet-level department of the federal government responsible for advising the President on energy policies, plans, and programs, and for providing leadership in achieving efficient energy use, diversity in energy sources, and improved environmental quality.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — An independent five-member commission in the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for licensing hydroelectric-power projects and for setting interstate rates on (1) transporting and selling natural gas for resale, (2) transporting and selling electricity at wholesale, and (3) transporting oil by pipeline.

Take-or-Pay Contract — A contract requiring the buyer to either purchase and receive a minimum amount of a product (“take”) or pay for this minimum without taking immediate delivery (“pay”). These contracts are often used in the energy and oil-and-gas businesses.

Solar Easement — An easement created to protect the dominant estate's exposure to direct sunlight, often created to prevent the servient-estate owner from constructing any building that would cause shadows on the dominant estate.

Automatic-Adjustment Clause — A provision in a utility-rate schedule that allows a public utility to increase its rates without a public hearing or state review, if certain operating costs, such as the price of fuel, increase.

Mobile-Sierra Doctrine — The principle that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may not grant a rate increase to a natural-gas producer unless the producer's contract authorizes a rate increase, or unless the existing rate is so low that it may adversely affect the public interest (as by threatening the continued viability of the public utility to continue its service).


Practice Guides


DSIRE: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency: DSIRE is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is currently operated by the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University, with support from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. DSIRE is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Department of Energy: This website provides citizens with up-to-date information, blogs, and news about energy, science and innovation, and nuclear safety and security. There is also an Energy Saver section for consumers.

FERC: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Here you can find a wealth of information about specific energy industries, FERC enforcement, current projects in your area, and legal resources related to energy law.