|Pollution control and remediation|
|Resource conservation and management|
|Planning, land use, and infrastructure|
Energy laws govern the use and taxation of energy, both renewable and non-renewable. These laws are the primary authorities (such as caselaw, statutes, rules, regulations and edicts) related to energy. In contrast, energy policy refers to the policy and politics of energy.
In the twentieth century, energy law focused mostly on natural gas regulation, but was expanded to include other areas of energy regulation as well. It also includes the legal provision for oil, gasoline, and "extraction taxes." The practice of energy law includes contracts for siting, extraction, licenses for the acquisition and ownership rights in oil and gas both under the soil before discovery and after its capture, and adjudication regarding those rights.
Renewable energy law 
International law 
Africa does not have a significant energy law.
Uganda has adopted a new nuclear power law, which it hopes "will boost technical cooperation between the country and the International Atomic Energy Agency," according to "a senior agency official" from that African country.
Energy is big business in Australia. The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association represents 98% of the oil and gas producers in Australia.
- Alternative Fuels Act ( 1995, c. 20 ) 
- Cooperative Energy Act ( 1980-81-82-83, c. 108 ) 
- Energy Administration Act ( R.S., 1985, c. E-6 ) 
- Energy Monitoring Act ( R.S., 1985, c. E-8 ) 
- Nuclear Energy Act ( R.S., 1985, c. A-16 ) 
- Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act ( R.S., 1985, c. O-7 ) 
- Canada Petroleum Resources Act ( 1985, c. 36 (2nd Supp.) ) 
- National Energy Board Act ( R.S., 1985, c. N-7 ) 
- Electricity and Gas Inspection Act ( R.S., 1985, c. E-4 ) 
Canada's energy laws are so extensive and complicated in large part because of its government-owned energy resources:
The oil sands are gold not only for the oil companies, but also for Alberta's provincial government, which owns the mineral rights to virtually all the land and has encouraged the industry for three-quarters of a century.
European Union 
European energy law has been focused on the legal mechanisms for managing short-term disruptions to the continent's energy supply, such as Germany's 1974 Law to Secure the Energy Supply. The European integrated hydrogen project was a European Union project to integrate United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) guidelines and create a basis of ECE regulation of hydrogen vehicles and the necessary infrastructure replacing national legislation and regulations. The aim of this project was enhancing of the safety of hydrogen vehicles and harmonizing their licensing and approval process.
Germany's Renewable Energy Law mandates the use of renewable energy through its taxes and tariffs. It promotes the development of renewable energy sources via a system of feed-in tariffs. It regulates the amount of energy generated by the producer and the type of renwable energy source. It also creates an incentive to encourage technological advancements and costs.
The German government has proposed abandoning "its planned phase-out of nuclear energy to help rein in surging electricity prices and protect the environment, according to proposals drawn up by an energy taskforce under Economy Minister Michael Glos." The German Green Party has opposed nuclear energy, as well as the market power of German utilities, claiming the "energy shortfall" has been artificially created.
There is significant academic interest in German energy law.
United Kingdom 
Other European countries 
Technically, Iraq has no energy law, but proposed legislation has been pending for almost five years as of early 2012.
Prior to the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, and the nuclear disasters that resulted from it, Japan generated 30% of its electrical power from nuclear reactors and planned to increase that share to 40%.
Nuclear energy was a national strategic priority in Japan, but there had been concern about the ability of Japan's nuclear plants to withstand seismic activity. The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant was completely shut down for 21 months following an earthquake in 2007.
The 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused the failure of cooling systems at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant on March 11 and a nuclear emergency was declared. 140,000 residents were evacuated. The total amount of radioactive material released is unclear, as the crisis is ongoing. On 6 May 2011, Prime Minister Naoto Kan ordered the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant be shut down as an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 or higher is likely to hit the area within the next 30 years.
Problems in stabilizing the Fukushima I nuclear plant had hardened attitudes to nuclear power. As of June 2011, "more than 80 percent of Japanese now say they are anti-nuclear and distrust government information on radiation".
As of October 2011, there have been electricity shortages, but Japan survived the summer without the extensive blackouts that had been predicted. An energy white paper, approved by the Japanese Cabinet in October 2011, says "public confidence in safety of nuclear power was greatly damaged" by the Fukushima disaster, and calls for a reduction in the nation’s reliance on nuclear power.
Many of Japan's nuclear plants have been closed, or their operation has been suspended for safety inspections. The last of Japan's 54 reactors (Tomari-3) went offline for maintenance on May 5, 2012., leaving Japan completely without nuclear-produced electrical power for the first time since 1970. Despite protests, on 1 July 2012 unit 3 of the Ōi Nuclear Power Plant was restarted. As of September 2012, Ōi units 3 and 4 are Japan's only operating nuclear power plants, although the city and prefecture of Osaka have requested they be shut down.
The United States-Japan Joint Nuclear Energy Action Plan is a bilateral agreement aimed at putting in place a framework for the joint research and development of nuclear energy technology, which was signed on April 18, 2007. It is believed that the agreement is the first that the US has signed to develop nuclear power technologies with another country, although Japan has agreements with Australia, Canada, China, France, and the United Kingdom. Under the plan, the United States and Japan would each conduct research into fast reactor technology, fuel cycle technology, advanced computer simulation and modeling, small and medium reactors, safeguards and physical protection; and nuclear waste management, which it to be coordinated by a joint steering committee. The treaty's progress has been in limbo since the Fukushima I nuclear accidents.
The Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) is a government-owned company involved in fossil-fuel energy exploration, amongst other activities. In 2013, its corporate workers first extracted Methane clathrate from seabed deposits.
Malaysia heavily regulates its energy sector.
From 1982 to 1992, the Government of Sabah owned Sabah Gas Industries for the downstream operations of Sabah natural gas resources, based in Labuan, Malaysia, which was put up for privatization. Its methanol plant was sold to Petronas and operates today as Petronas Methanol (Labuan) Sdn Bhd. The power station was sold to Sabah Electricity.
Philippines law has provisions concerning energy, fossil fuels, and renewable energy. Energy law in the Philippines is important because that nation is one of the fastest growing in Asia, and has over 80 million residents.
The earliest Philippine energy law dates from 1903, during the American Commonwealth, Act No. 667, concerning franchises for utilities, and Act No. 1022, which allowed such to have mortgages. A uniform law in 1929 allowed for new utilities.
The first coal mining law, known as the Coal Land Act, dates to 1917. Oil exploration was allowed in a 1920 law. The Mining Act (1936)  has been amended several times by acts and decrees.
The first hydroelectric power law dates from 1933, and have been updated since, including one that created the National Power Corporation, and has been amended several times through 1967. The Renewable Energy Law (2009) encourages the development and use of non-traditional energy sources.
Saudi Arabia 
Saudi Arabia has some laws concerning energy, especially oil and gas law. Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producer in the world and therefore its energy law has great influence over the world's overall energy supply.
Under the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia, all its oil and gas wealth belongs to the government: "All Allah's bestowed wealth, be it under the ground, on the surface or in national territorial waters, in the land or maritime domains under the state's control, are the property of the state as defined by law. The law defines means of exploiting, protecting, and developing such wealth in the interests of the state, its security and economy." Energy taxes are also specifically allowed; Article 20 of the basic law states, "Taxes and fees are to be imposed on a basis of justice and only when the need for them arises. Imposition, amendment, revocation and exemption is only permitted by law."
Two ministries of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia share the responsibility of the energy sector: the Ministry of Oil and the Ministry of Water and Electricity. The country's laws have also established other agencies that have some legal powers, but are not strictly regulatory. These include Saudi Aramco, originally a joint venture between the Kingdom and the California-Arabian Standard Oil, but now a wholly owned by the Kingdom, and Saudi Consolidated Electricity Companies (SCECOs).
United States 
This section concerns the law of the United States, as well as the states that are the most populous or largest producers of energy.
Every state, the Federal government, and the District of Columbia collect some motor vehicle excise taxes. Specifically, these are excise taxes on gasoline, diesel fuel, and gasohol. While many states in the western U.S.A. rely to a great deal on "extraction taxes" for revenue, most states get a relatively small amount of their revenue from such sources.
The practice of energy law has been the domain of law firms working on behalf of utility companies, rather than legal scholars or other legal actors (such as private lawyers and paralegals), especially in Texas, but this is changing. Some officials from energy agencies may take jobs in the utilities or other companies they regulate, such as the former FERC chairman did in 2008.
The American Bar Association (ABA) has a Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, which is a "forum for lawyers working in areas related to environmental law, natural resources law, and energy law." The Section houses several substantive committees on environmental and energy law that release current information on topics of interest to practitioners and news of committee activities.  The ABA recognized 'environmental and energy law' as one of the practice areas where legal work may be found in 2009.
Common law 
Under the common law, persons who owned real property owned "from the depths to the heavens". Therefore, real estate traditionally has included all rights to water, oil, gas, and other minerals underground. The United States Supreme Court has held that as far as air rights, "this doctrine has no place in the modern world," but it remains as a source of law to this day, or "fundamental to property rights in land."
An easement or license to drill for oil, gas, or minerals generally runs with the land, and thus is an appurtenant easement. However, a utility easement generally runs with the owner of the easement, rather than running with the land, and as such, is an example of an easement in gross.
The West digest system, used in WestLaw, has allocated several topics in energy law:
- 114 - Customs duties
- 145 - Electricity
- 190 - Gas
- 371 - Taxation.
There are many library research resources available about American oil and gas law.
Federal laws 
Until the 1920s, "the federal government did not play an active role in the energy industries," due to "the widespread belief in the unlimited supply of energy." The first US law was the Federal Power Act of 1920 (later amended in 1935 and 1986). The Manhattan Project of the 1940s "initiated the era of nuclear regulation." In 1946, the Atomic Energy Act was passed.
The Department of Energy and its constituent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) were created in 1977, through the Department of Energy Organization Act. The stated purposes of these "federal energy laws and regulations is to provide affordable energy by sustaining competitive markets, while protecting the economic, environmental, and security interests of the United States." The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulates the use of nuclear power and its uses as a defense weaponry.
Other statutes are the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, the Energy Security Act, the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act, and the Energy Policy Act of 1992 Most of these laws are codified at U.S. Code, Title 16, Chapter 12 - Federal regulation and development of power. The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 also affects energy trading companies.
Energy Policy Act of 2005 
The most recent major law is the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was an attempt to combat growing energy problems, changed the energy policy of the United States by providing tax incentives and loan guarantees for energy production of various types.  There were various criticisms of the Act. One of the most controversial provisions of that Act was to change daylight saving time by four to five weeks, depending upon the year; some scholars have questioned whether daylight saving results in a net energy savings. It also directs a study for the development of oil shale and tar sands resources on public lands especially in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. The Act further sets Federal reliability standards regulating the electrical grid (done in response to the Blackout of 2003). There was also criticism of what was not included: the bill did not include provisions for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) even though some Republicans claim "access to the abundant oil reserves in ANWR would strengthen America's energy independence without harming the environment." There are a number of tax credits in the Act, including the Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit.
Developments 2007 to present 
There has been much debate and discussion about the use of Federal laws to regulate energy. In fact, a whole area of jurisprudence, Law and economics, has developed from this debate. Today, this is more relevant than ever:
The auto industry said federal regulators are pushing too far, too fast in their effort to raise fuel-mileage rules. The complaints from the industry, which had previously voiced support for tougher standards, underscore how economic hardship is affecting a major policy debate.—The Wall Street Journal
The Biomass Research and Development Board is expected to release a report in late 2008 about biomass as fuel. In August 2008, it was revealed that oil speculators had increased the volatility of the price of oil; Congressman John Dingell criticized the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for failing to scrutinize oil futures traders, in particular the Swiss company Vitol.
In October 2008, as the Democratic Party approached victory in the 2008 elections, they remained divided on energy policy, thus a consensus was not expected in energy law. President Barack Obama's new Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, has no expertise in law, but his younger brother, Morgan Chu, is a partner and the former Co-Managing Partner at Irell & Manella LLP, a law firm.
The Department of Energy (DOE) will, by administrative measures, reduce the Hanford nuclear reservation (originally 586 square miles) to 10 square miles. Much of the remaining area will go to the 300-square-mile (780 km2) Hanford Reach National Monument.
In October 2009, Secretary Chu announced a new program, Arpa-e, which will fund grants authorized under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
The "Energy Credit for Qualified Fuel Cell Property and Qualified Microturbine Property" was created in 2008, but it appears to have expired as of 2013.
Individual taxpayers may claim several newer credits to reduce their Federal Income taxes, if they file the Long Form 1040 along with Form 5695 attached. These include the "Resident energy efficient property tax credit", and new for the 2012 tax year, a "nonbusiness energy property credit". Some of these provisions were extended by ARRA (see below) and by later bills.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 
Alaska law 
Alaska has vast energy resources:
- Major oil and gas reserves are found in the Prudhoe Bay area of the Alaska North Slope (ANS) and Cook Inlet basins. According to the Energy Information Administration, Alaska ranks second in the nation in crude oil production, accounting for 1/5 (20%) of United States oil production, Prudhoe Bay alone accounting for 8% of the United States domestic oil production.
- The Trans-Alaska Pipeline pumps up to 2.1 million barrels (330,000 m3) of crude oil per day, more than any other crude oil pipeline in the United States.
- Substantial coal deposits are found in Alaska’s bituminous, sub-bituminous, and lignite coal basins. The United States Geological Survey estimates that there are 85.4 trillion cubic feet (2,420 km3) of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas from natural gas hydrates on the Alaskan North Slope.
- Alaska also offers some of the highest hydroelectric power potential in the country from its numerous rivers, and large swaths of the Alaskan coastline offer wind and geothermal energy potential as well. As of 2001, the state's Energy Plan stated that, although wind and hydroelectric power are abundant, with low-cost electric interties they were judged uneconomical.
Likewise, Alaska receives a huge amount of its state revenues from extraction taxes: a full 68% of all revenue, much more than any state (only Wyoming coming close). Its dependence on petroleum revenues and federal subsidies allows it to have the lowest individual tax burden in the United States.
In November 1976, Alaskans voted to amend their state constitution to create the Permanent Fund. The state constitution and supporting statutes set out the Fund's purpose and how it works.—Alaska Permanent Fund
The constitutional provisions are found at Alaska Constitution Article IX, Section 15. Statutes regulate how the Fund is to be invested, as well as how the income is to be disbursed. Regulations state additional details regarding control of the Fund.
The Federal government runs the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects, which are new pipelines, and its "Federal Coordinator" (director) is nominated with advice and consent of the Senate by the President of the United States. Drue Pearce was the first director; she was nominated by George W. Bush and served from December 13, 2006 through January 3, 2010. Larry Persilly is the current coordinator; he was nominated by Barack Obama on December 9, 2009, and was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 10, 2010.
California law 
The largest state in the United States, California (in terms of population), has gone through a series of energy crises, and has reacted with several laws concerning energy. The California Energy Code, or Title 24 of the California Code, also titled "The Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings", were established in 1978 in response to a legislative mandate to reduce California's energy consumption. The standards are updated periodically to allow consideration and possible incorporation of new energy efficiency technologies and methods, such as the Programmable Communicating Thermostat.
California assesses an excise tax with the same basic rate of 18 cents per gallon on gasoline, diesel fuel, and gasohol. The state collects a relatively small 6.6 percent of its revenue from extraction and related taxes.
New Mexico law 
As a major energy producer, New Mexico has government offices related to energy, including the Energy Conservation and Management Division, which is part of the state's Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. All of the major laws impacting energy are available from the Division's website. These include links to all of the state's statutes and related government websites, Federal and State regulations, and Executive orders.
New Mexico has enacted a number of new laws related to energy, including to create a New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority and to increase its renewable portfolio standards. According to one law firm's summary of President Obama's Economic Recovery Package, the state stands to gain much from the new administration, because "New Mexico leaders and laboratories are at the forefront of energy policy." For example, former University of New Mexico Law School professor Suedeen G. Kelly was a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The state collects an effective rate of 18.875 cent per gallon tax on gasoline and gasohol, and 22.875 cents per gallon on diesel. Like many western states, it collects significant revenue from extraction taxes—20.9 percent of its overall sources.
The City of Albuquerque passed an ordinance to regulate "efficiency standards for heating and cooling equipment," which was struck down by the U.S. District Court as violating the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The town board of Taos passed a "strict new new building code" in 2009 that mandated energy savings:
The ordinance ... mandates that residential construction meet Home Energy Rating System standards that gradually phase in starting this year, and commercial construction must meet Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design certified standards beginning this year.—AP report, March 4, 2009.
The town debated the proposed Ordinance 08-16, High Performance Building Ordinance, starting in October 2008, postponed it for legal review, debated it in February 2009, and passed it in March 2009.
New York law 
"Energy" means work or heat that is, or may be, produced from any fuel or source whatsoever. ... "Energy resources" shall mean any force or material which yields or has the potential to yield energy, including but not limited to electrical, fossil, geothermal, wind, hydro, solid waste, tidal, wood, solar and nuclear sources.—N.Y. Energy Law § 1-103 (5) and (6).
The chief regulator is the "Commissioner" or "president" of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (also called NYSERDA). The board of directors of NYSERDA includes—as a matter of law—several utility insiders, as well as ex officio commissioners. Vincent DeIorio, a lawyer, is chairman of the board, and Francis J. Murray Jr. is President and CEO. NYSERDA was created as a public benefit corporation under NY law.
In addition to Energy Law, the state has a variety of laws regulating and taxing energy, and its courts have issued significant case law concerning energy taxes. Two trial court cases in 2012 allowed local zoning law to pre-empt state law by effectively banning hydrofracking, but this is being appealed.
Under New York law, both the New York Attorney General or a district attorney may prosecute alleged polluters who make oil spills. The state has enacted a number of recent laws to control carbon emissions.
The state collects an effective rate of 24.4 cent per gallon tax on gasoline and gasohol, and 22.65 cents per gallon on diesel. New York collects one of the smallest amounts of revenue from extraction taxes of any state—only 5.8 percent of its overall sources.
Texas law 
Texas energy law remains the domain of a few law firms that represent utilities and independent providers. Oil, gas, and other energy resources are actually regulated by the powerful Texas Railroad Commission. It is the oldest such regulatory agency, having been created in 1891. It "oversee[s] the Texas oil and gas industry, gas utilities, pipeline safety, safety in the liquefied petroleum gas industry, and the surface mining of coal."
Vermont law 
The state of Vermont, like other states, has a comprehensive statutory scheme governing energy generation and transmission issues, colloquially referred to as "Section 248." The reference is to 30 V.S.A. Sec. 248, which is administered by Vermont's Public Service Board, a quasi-judicial board with three members. Section 248 is not to be confused with Vermont's comprehensive law governing land development and subdivision - Act 250.
Wyoming law 
Wyoming is the top coal producer of the 50 states in the United States, and has significant oil and gas reserves, and its government and laws reflect an interest in energy production, especially fossil fuels. The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission regulates many aspects of oil, coal, and gas development in this resource-rich state. There is an annual state Gas Fair. The University of Wyoming is well known for its research on energy development. The University sponsored a symposium on coal gasification in 2007.
Wyoming assesses an excise tax with the same rate of 14 cents per gallon on gasoline, diesel fuel, and gasohol. The state collects the largest percentage—46 percent of its revenue—from extraction and related taxes, the second highest of the states, surpassed only by Alaska.
Other new state laws 
New Hampshire passed a new energy law, signed by Governor John Lynch, which "provides guidelines for residential wind energy systems.... such as height, noise, setbacks and aesthetics and outlines a process for input from neighbors."  This was found necessary because a University of New Hampshire student, Laura Carpenter, found that "most communities had no ordinances or zoning rules that specifically address small residential wind turbines."
See also 
General energy topics 
- Conservation of energy
- Energy form
- Energy conservation
- Energy density
- Energy economics
- Efficient energy use
- Energy markets and energy derivatives
- Energy quality
- Energy supply
- Entropy (energy dispersal) and Introduction to entropy
- List of energy topics
- Market transformation
- World energy resources and consumption
Specific laws and policies 
- Atomic Energy Basic Law
- Competition law
- Correlative rights doctrine
- Cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos
- Electric bicycle laws
- Energy policy of the European Union
- Energy Charter Treaty
- Energy Information Administration
- Energy Star
- Energy security
- Feed-in Tariff
- Gasoline and diesel usage and pricing
- Nuclear energy policy
- Petrobangla - Bangladesh state energy corporation
Academic think-tanks and associations 
- Alliance to Save Energy
- Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy
- Institute on the Environment
- Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership
- The Energy and Resources Institute
- Université Laval
- University of Wyoming
Renewable and alternative energy sources 
- Alternative Energy Index
- Alternative propulsion
- Clean Energy Trends
- Efficient energy use
- Electric vehicle
- Eugene Green Energy Standard
- Geothermal power
- Global warming
- Green banking
- Hydro One
- Intermittent power source
- International Symposium on Alcohol Fuels
- List of renewable energy topics by country
- Ocean energy
- Passive solar building design
- Plug-in hybrid
- Renewable energy
- Renewable energy commercialization
- Renewable heat
- Sustainable design
- The Clean Tech Revolution
- Wind power
Awards and standards 
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