Renewable Energy


Renewable energy includes many different types of energy sources, such as solar, hydro, wind, geothermal, and biofuels. These sources constantly renew themselves and are considered virtually inexhaustible. New focus has been placed on the development and improvement of renewable energy sources. New incentives and regulations have emerged, ranging from funding for research and development of alternative energy sources and production requirements designed to lessen our dependence on petroleum-based fuels, to new air emissions standards and tax credits for implementing renewable energy systems. Read the full overview.

 Note: Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections.

Major Statutes

Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, Renewable Energy Research and Development, §§ 8101-8815
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, 16 U.S.C. §§ 17001 et seq.
Energy Policy Act of 2005, 42 U.S.C. §§ 15801 et seq.
Energy Policy Act of 1992, 42 U.S.C. §§ 13201 et seq.
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technology Competitiveness Act of 1989, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12001-12007
Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, (PURPA), 16 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq.
Federal Power Act of 1920, 16 U.S.C. §§ 791-828
Compilation of States’ Biofuels Statutory Citations


Bioenergy Program, 7 C.F.R. Part 1424
Biodiesel Fuel Education Program, 7 C.F.R Part 2903
Alternative Fuel Transportation Program, 10 C.F.R. Part 490
Registration of Fuels and Fuel Additives, 40 C.F.R. Part 79
Regulation of Fuels and Fuel Additives, 40 C.F.R. Part 80 (Renewable Fuel Standard)

Case Law

Case Law Index for Renewable Energy

Administrative Law Decisions

USDA Office of Administrative Law Judges
USDA National Appeals Division
EPA Office of Administrative Law Judges
EPA Environmental Appeals Board

Center Research Publications

Land Use Conflicts Between Wind and Solar Renewable Energy and Agricultural Uses (Hall, Morgan, Richardson; 2022)
Farmland Owner’s Guide to Solar Leasing (Hall, Bachelor, Romich; 2019)
Understanding Solar Energy Agreements (Ferrell; 2019)
Issue Brief: Renewable Fuel Standard: Establishment and Current Events (Rollins and E. Rumley; 2018)
Wind Energy Leasing Handbook — Workbook (Ferrell and R. Rumley; 2012)
States’ Biofuels Statutory Citations (Mirus & Goeringer; 2009)
Biofuels Statutory Citations: United States Federal Laws  (Mirus; 2009)
The Renewable Fuels Standard Provisions Under the Clean Air Act: Overview and Recent Developments (Foy; 2008)
Biofuels: Policy and Business Organization Issues (O’Brien; 2006)

Congressional Research Service Reports

Reports– published and made available by CRS beginning in 2017
Subjects- published by CRS and made available by NALC until 2018:

Climate Change

Agricultural Law Bibliography

Introduction   |   Keyword Search   |   Browse Categories

Legal publications on Renewable Energy:

Energy Issues
Environmental Issues
Land Use Regulation
Public Lands

Reference Resources

Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

Bioenergy Research Unit
National Program: Quality and Utilization of Agricultural Products
Sustainable Biofuels and Co-products Research
USDA Regional Biomass Research Centers

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Dedicated Energy Crops and Competition for Agricultural Land (Sands, et. al., 2017)
Publication: Next-Generation Biofuels: Near-Term Challenges and Implications for Agriculture (Coyle, 2010)
Publication: Energy Use in the US Food System (Canning, et. al., 2010)
Ethanol and a Changing Agricultural Landscape (Malcolm et al., 2009)
Ethanol Expansion in the United States: How Will the Agricultural Sector Adjust? (2007)
Topics: Bioenergy
Topics: Corn & Other Feedgrains
Topics: Agricultural Baseline Projections
Biofuels Data Sources

Department of Energy (DOE)

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center
Alternative Fuels Data Center: Biodiesel Laws and Incentives
Energy Sources: Bioenergy
Energy Sources: Clean Energy
Energy Sources: Solar
Energy Sources: Wind
Energy Sources: Water
Energy Sources: Geothermal
Bioenergy Technologies Office
Solar Energy Technologies Office
Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar
Wind Energy Technologies Office
Increasing Feedstock Production for Biofuels: Economic Drivers, Environmental Implications, and the Role of Research (2008)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Environmental Laws Applicable to Construction and Operation of Biodiesel Production Facilities
Energy and the Environment
Clean Energy Programs
Green Power Partnership
Renewable Fuels Standard Program
Landfill Methane Outreach Program
Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments
E3: Economy – Energy – Environment
AgStar Program
Biofuels and the Environment
Agriculture and Biofuels
Economics of Biofuels

National Agricultural Library (NAL)

Natural Resources, Conservation, and Environment
Climate Change

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The Bioeconomy Tool Shed
Rural Development Energy Programs
Factsheet: Biofuels (2018)

Congressional Resources

House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Senate Committee on Agriculture: Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy

Other Federal Resources

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Bureau of Land Management: Renewable Energy
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management: Renewable Energy Program
United States Energy Information Administration


Renewable Energy Production on Farms (U. Mass. Extension)
Harvesting the Sun: On-Farm Opportunities and Challenges for Solar Development (U. Penn., 2021)
The Right to Farm Energy: Can Existing Right-to-Farm Laws be Applied to Emerging Renewable Energy Developments? (U. Penn., 2021)
The Farmland Owner’s Solar Leasing Checklist (The Ohio St. U. Extension, 2019)
The Law of Wind: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues (Stoel Rives Wind Team, 2018)
The Law of Solar: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues (Stoel Rives Energy Team, 2017)
Sustainable Production and Use of On-Farm Energy (SARE, 2017)
Solar (SARE, 2017)
Creating Biofuels (SARE, 2017)
On-Farm Biodiesel Production Regulatory Guide (OSU Extension, 2017)
Agriculture-Based Biofuels: Overview and Emerging Issues (Schnepf, 2013)
Wind Energy Production: Legal Issues and Related Liability Concerns for Landowners in Iowa and Across the Nation (Center for Ag. Law and Taxation, McEowen, 2011)
Landowner Guidelines for Evaluating Wind Energy Production Leases (Mich. St. U., 2008)
Clean Energy Farming: Cutting Costs, Improving Efficiencies, Harnessing Renewables (SARE, 2008)
Farmers’ Guide to Wind Energy: Legal Issues in Farming the Wind (FLAG, 2007)
Negotiating Wind Energy Property Agreements (FLAG, 2007)

Additional Resources

The Ag & Food Law Update (National Agricultural Law Center)
American Council on Renewable Energy
American Soybean Association
Clean Fuels Development Coalition
National Biodiesel Board
Biomass Research and Development Initiative
Growth Energy America’s Ethanol Supporters
Renewable Fuels Association
Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
American Bar Association: Environment, Energy, and Resources Section
American Farm Bureau Association: Sustainability