Siting, Environmental, and Land Use Permitting

Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell advises project developers regarding a wide spectrum of permitting, land use, and other regulatory requirements associated with electric power project development.  We provide expert guidance from the early stages of leasing and site evaluation through the permitting of projects and analysis of compliance for transactions.  Our attorneys assist clients with more specialized land use and regulatory issues as well, such as responding to objections to land use approvals for a utility-scale wind farm extending into two counties, and negotiating a surface use agreement between a subsurface mineral interest owner, a wind developer, and its lessors.  We also have represented a local government in evaluating legal questions associated with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rights-of-way, environmental clearance, and other environmental approvals for large wind and solar projects.

Federal Regulatory Issues

We advise clients regarding Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approvals and associated environmental review for hydropower and electrical transmission projects.  We also advise clients and litigate on a range of Clean Air Act permitting, enforcement, and related issues, including Clean Air Act Title V, New Source Review (NSR), and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting.

State Regulatory Issues

We provide representation to independent power producers, renewable energy associations, large energy consumers, and energy efficiency-industry companies in administrative litigation before state public utility commissions regarding electric resource plans, coal-plant retirement plans, net metering policies, demand-side management (DSM) acquisition, proposed electric utility tariff changes, and Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity for both regulated utilities as well as non-utility generators.  We also have represented a renewable energy trade association in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the successful defense of the Colorado renewable portfolio standard from challenges brought under the Commerce Clause.

Airspace Issues

Combining the project development and aviation experience of our attorneys, Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell advises clients, works with federal agencies, and undertakes cutting-edge litigation regarding the effects of wind turbines, transmission facilities, and solar projects on aircraft and airspace.  In addition to traditional concerns about wind tower height near airports, our litigation and representation addresses the effects that wind turbines may have on radar and other air navigation facilities.

Representative Cases

  • Represented Southwest Generation, an independent power producer, in a matter before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) involving the implementation of the Colorado Clean Air Clean Jobs Act.  The CPUC required Xcel Energy to retire or retrofit 1,800 MW of its coal-fired generation.
  • Represented NAIOP, a commercial real estate trade association, and other parties in a matter before the CPUC in which the CPUC rejected Xcel Energy’s environmental tariff proposal to shift the risks and liabilities associated with potentially contaminated properties onto developers and property owners.
  • Represented a wind developer before the CPUC in a matter filed by a utility proposing to amend its resource plan to reject certain winning bids.
  • Represented an environmental nonprofit group advocating the increased use of natural gas-fired generation in place of coal-fired generation in order to reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions.  This concept was later implemented by the CPUC through the Colorado Clean Air Clean Jobs Act.
  • Represented renewable trade associations and energy efficiency advocacy organizations in DSM and resource matters before the CPUC to increase the acquisition of wind and solar energy, as well as more energy efficiency programs.
  • Represented gas-fired and cogeneration facilities in air quality permitting and enforcement issues in Colorado and California.

News & Publications


Electric Utility Consultants, Inc.: Wind Project Development & Acquisition Due Diligence
Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Conference