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Introducing the Renewable Energy End-of-Life Planning Group

The first commercial wind and solar power generation facilities in the United States were constructed in the early-1980s. Since then, hundreds of acres of solar farms and thousands of individual wind turbines have been installed around the country largely as a result of maturing technologies, declining power prices, state renewable energy portfolio requirements and goals, and growing public interest in clean energy. Now, as the nation moves rapidly toward decarbonizing the electric grid and replacing fossil-fueled generation with clean energy resources, the number of wind and solar power generation facilities is projected to grow tremendously. It is inevitable that this growth will lead to the decommissioning of many existing renewable energy facilities – either due to such facilities having reached the end of their useful lives, or due to the recognition that these older facilities can be more productive if they are repowered with more modern technologies and equipment.

These developments lead to the question, “What do we do with all of those old solar panels and wind turbine blades?” Electric utilities, renewable project developers and owners, state and local governments, and many other stakeholders are beginning to ask this question and recognize the challenges inherent in the answers. Both solar panels and wind turbine blades contain materials that may be toxic, do not readily decompose if at all, and may not be recyclable. Yet these same components also include materials that, if recovered, could be reused or provide revenue sources. These challenges and the associated opportunities are relevant not only to the older renewable energy facilities that are being decommissioned now, but also to the new facilities that are being installed to meet the nation’s, states’, local governments’, and utilities’ climate change goals.

For years, Lewis Roca has provided legal advice to a wide variety of clients involved in the development and operations of renewable energy facilities. From the acquisition of real property needed for projects, to obtaining state and local government permits, to navigating unique environmental regulations, to securing power purchase agreements with utility off-takers, to a host of other issues – the Lewis Roca Energy and Utilities team has assisted clients throughout the life cycle of renewable energy projects. Now, to address the unique end-of-life challenges and opportunities, Lewis Roca is pleased to announce the formation of a new Renewable Energy End-of-Life Planning group. This team draws on our many years of experience in the energy and utilities sector and includes attorneys from throughout the Firm’s practices to assist clients with matters including: the assignment of decommissioning responsibilities in construction, power purchase, and real property agreements; compliance with or the development of state and local regulations related to renewables decommissioning; protecting intellectual property related to emerging renewables recycling technologies, and structuring innovative collaborations to realize such opportunities; and, yes, litigation when things go wrong.

We look forward to introducing you to our Renewable Energy End-of-Life Planning group and discussing how we can assist you with the challenges and opportunities related to the end-of-life of renewable energy facilities. To learn more about our Renewable Energy End-of-Life Planning group, click here or contact me at 303-628-9524 or

Tags: Renewable Energy End-of-Life Planning
  • Thomas J. Dougherty

    Tom brings the unique combination of linear and creative thinking to solve his clients' most important issues.

    Tom Dougherty represents a broad range of commercial, utility, energy, government, and private clients in litigation, regulatory, legislative, and public policy matters. Tom ...

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