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Renewable Energy Projects on Federal Land: Regulatory Challenges, PTC and ITC Safe Harbors, Financing, Permitting

Recent IRS Extensions and Guidance, Beginning of Construction Under Sections 45 and 48, Key Issues for Developers and Investors

Note: CPE credit is not offered on this program

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will guide renewable energy counsel on overcoming challenges in developing renewable energy projects on federal land. The panel will discuss key issues in using federal lands and facilities for solar and wind energy and new IRS extensions and guidance for continuity safe harbors. The panel will also discuss the beginning of construction requirements under Section 45 and 48, assessing and protecting against liability exposure, and other key items to ensure regulatory compliance.


Developing renewable energy on federal land requires strict compliance with federal regulations and exceptional knowledge of specific requirements and administrative proceedings. Counsel must recognize key issues in using federal lands and facilities and implement methods to minimize obstacles in the financing, development, and operation of renewable energy projects on federal lands.

Generally, for purposes of Sections 45 (production tax credit) and 48 (investment tax credit), the "beginning of construction" requirement can be satisfied if physical work has commenced or the taxpayer has paid or incurred five percent or more of the total cost of the facility. Both require continuous progress toward completion once construction has begun. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed such progress, jeopardizing many energy projects.

On Dec. 31, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2021-05, extending the continuity of safe harbor to 10 years for renewable energy projects constructed on federal land. It modifies the prior notice, notably related to the "beginning of construction" requirements providing relief for the impact of delays on qualified facilities and energy projects being constructed offshore or on federal lands.

Although IRS Notice 2021-5 provides some relief for renewables, counsel must still effectively navigate complex regulatory, financing, and operational challenges for developing projects offshore and on federal lands.

Listen as our panel discusses the necessary and most practical processes for using federal lands for renewable energy projects, protecting against liability exposure, financing options, and other key items.



  1. IRS Notice 2021-5
  2. Project requirements and compliance challenges
    1. Beginning of construction
    2. Physical work test
    3. Safe harbors
    4. PTC/ITC
  3. Financing options and allocation risks


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are the key factors to consider before developing renewable energy projects on federal lands?
  • What are the key provisions of the recent IRS Notice 2021-5?
  • How can developers and investors limit their liability exposure?
  • Financing structures for renewable energy projects
  • Requirements for qualifying for the ITC and PTC and pitfalls to avoid
  • Key issues of the IRS "beginning of construction" guidance


Lazerwitz, David
David J. Lazerwitz

Farella Braun + Martel

Mr. Lazerwitz focuses his practice on federal and state environmental and natural resource laws, permitting and land...  |  Read More

McCormick, Durham
Durham C. McCormick, Jr.


Mr. McCormick focuses his practice on tax structuring for renewable energy transactions, with a particular emphasis on...  |  Read More

Neal, Jon
Jon G. Neal


Mr. Neal advises businesses and their owners on a broad range of corporate, partnership and international tax planning...  |  Read More

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