Friday, May 13, 2011

DU Law Leads the Way in Renewable Energy Law and Policy: Courses Span Project Finance to Project Development

If you want to study Renewable Energy Law, then come to the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. We currently have four renewable energy law offerings, the most of any law school in the United States.

Moreover, Denver is located in the center of the "new energy economy," with many federal offices working on renewables and energy efficiency right on the DU Law doorstep. And there are clean tech companies and renewables business groups that are setting up shop on the front range of the Rocky Mountains.

Added together, Denver is the place to be and DU Law is the place to study about renewable energy.

The four courses mentioned above are:
  • Renewable Energy Project Development by Adjunct Professor Mark Safty, a partner at Holland & Hart
  • Renewable Energy for the 21st Century: Technology, Policy, Markets, by Adjunct Professor Bob Noun
  • Renewable Energy Project Finance by Adjunct Professor John Herrick of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP
  • Renewable Energy Law by Professor K.K. DuVivier, author of the forthcoming Renewable Energy Reader
Not only does DU Law offer more renewable energy law courses than any other school in the country, it also has close ties to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which is located in Golden, Colorado, about 30 minutes from the Sturm College of Law. In March, both Professor DuVivier’s and Adjunct Professor Noun’s classes toured the laboratory. The tours included the biofuels refinery, the solar research facility, and the new NREL office facility, which is touted as the most energy efficient commercial building in the United States.

Professor DuVivier notes, “To do a good job for their clients, lawyers developing renewable energy policies or representing renewable energy companies need to have a good understanding of the technologies those resources entail. Here at DU Law, we have the unique advantage of being able to give our students the opportunity to view those technologies and the cutting edge research taking place just down the road at NREL’s research facility.”

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gas Shale Development in the U.S. and Europe: A "Game Changer" or Too Many Risks?

The potential of extracting gas from shale continues to attract considerable attention all around the world. Also referred to as "unconventional gas resources," shale gas remains a mystery to many. However, that's likely to change in the near term as projections of huge amounts of shale gas in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere are published.

Most recently shale gas is being called an energy "game changer" by some including Nick Butler, chair of the King's College London Policy Institute, who wrote recently that shale gas will likely "transform" energy markets.

Writing in the Financial Times ("How Shale Gas Will Transform the Markets," May 9, 2011), Mr. Butler said, "High energy prices and political uncertainty in the Middle East could now spur many of the world's energy importers [particularly in the U.S. and the European Union] to exploit these new, indigenous gas supplies."

Coinciding with Mr. Butler's FT piece is a new report, Strategic Perspectives of Unconventional Gas: A Game Changer With Implications for the European Union's Energy Security, by the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security, which is also located at Kings College London. According to the report, "The catastrophic events in well as the political turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East [are forcing] politicians to rethink how they are achieving their national energy mix."

On the other hand, the report signals caution about the challenges involved with extracting shale gas in Europe: "Various obstacles for European unconventional and shale gas development in particular are in place, preventing the seizure of the full potential of this commodity. Important questions about the future market structure, the regulatory environment, political risk, investor confidence, public acceptance and competition with other fuels -- especially renewables -- need to be answered in the months and years ahead."

Meanwhile, oil derived from shale is also generating considerable interest. A recent article in The New Yorker Magazine ("Annals of Innovation: Kuwait on the Prairie," April 25, 2011) reported that, "Taken together, the new [oil shale] reservoirs [in Colorado, North Dakota, Texas, and elsewhere] are expected to raise domestic production by as much as two million barrels per day." A Colorado Public Radio interview with Jerry Boak, the director of the Center for Oil Shale Technology and Research at the Colorado School of Mines, provides an excellent overview of oil shale. The interview can be accessed by clicking here.

Nevertheless, the extraction of shale gas and oil shale is not without its critics. As the New Yorker article mentioned above said, "Hydraulic fracturing [which is used to extract gas and oil from shale] has become enormously controversial."

Students who attend Denver Law's Environmental and Natural Resources Program will learn about extracting gas and oil from shale. It remains to be seen whether these forms of oil and gas are really "game changers," but to be sure worldwide interest in this method of extraction is growing rapidly and professionals in the oil and gas sector need to be ready to address the opportunities and challenges.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Denver Law Tribute to Professor Emeritus and Former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior John A. Carver Jr.

One of Denver Law's most esteemed former professors John A. Carver Jr. was recognized last week at a luncheon hosted by Dean Martin J. Katz and attended by many well wishers.

Professor Carver, who taught environmental and natural resources-related courses at Denver Law from 1972 through 2004, has been a pillar in the American environmental and natural resources communities for six decades. During that time he has served in many capacities including Administrative Assistant to former U.S. Senator Frank Church, as Assistant Secretary and Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, and as a member of the Federal Power Commission.

Dean Katz praised Professor Carver's commitment to public service as well as his many contributions while a member of the law faculty.

Among those attending the festive event were members of Professor Carver's family, including his wife Ruth Carver and children Craig Carver and Candace Kramer, several grandchildren, former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm, former Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court Gregory Scott, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Fred Cheever, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Dan Vigil, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation David Phillips, many former teaching colleagues, current members of the faculty and staff, and members of the Denver legal community.

Don C. Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program, which Professor Carver headed at one time, said, "John A. Carver Jr. is one of the most respected and loved individuals ever to be associated with Denver Law. There are very few people in the American West who better understand the relationship of development, environmental protection, and natural resources than Professor Carver. Over the years he has shared his experiences and his insights with several generations of DU students as well as the community more generally.

"I can tell you from firsthand experience that he is a man of integrity, who is committed to public service and the pursuit of learning. May we all aspire to be as great and selfless as our friend Professor Carver."

The tribute to Professor Carver was organized by Professor Lucy Marsh, Alumni Relations Director Laura Dean, Caryl Shipley, and Jeff Rideout.

To learn more about the life and career of John A. Carver Jr., visit the "John A. Carver Jr. Oral History" website by clicking here.

Editor's Note: Top photo is Dean Katz and Professor Carver. Bottom photo is Professor Carver and former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Juliet Briggs, 2010 Denver Law LLM Graduate, Passes New York Bar Exam and Prepares to Return to Government Service in her Home Country Nigeria

Juliet Briggs, a 2010 LLM Graduate from the Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Graduate Program at Denver Law, has passed the New York bar examination.

Ms. Briggs, who graduated with First Class Honors from her law school in Nigeria, will return to Nigeria after she is sworn in as a member of the New York Bar.

"I would love to return to my country to put into practice the many things I learned here in the U.S. and especially at the University of Denver," Ms. Briggs said. "My government sponsored me to come here," she said, "and I can think of no greater way of expressing my gratitude than service to my country."

Prior to coming to Denver Law, Ms. Briggs served with the Attorney-General of Rivers State Ministry of Justice.

Don C. Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program said Ms. Briggs was clearly looking ahead when she decided to take the New York bar exam. "She has told me, 'I believe no knowledge is a waste. And besides, there are American companies in Nigeria and having the prestigious New York bar license will place me in a more favorable position than other applicants should I ever apply for a job.'

"Juliet has prepared herself to make a major contribution to her own country of Nigeria as well as the world more generally. All of us at Denver Law are excited about Juliet's future and thrilled with her success with the New York bar."