Energy Law Law and Legal Definition
Energy law encompasses the use of electric, gas, solar, atomic and other energy resources. A national energy plan was created with the establishment of the Department of Energy in 1977. Federal energy laws and regulations aim provide affordable energy by promoting competition in energy markets, while protecting the economic, environmental, and security interests of the United States.
Along with the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was established. FERC is an independent regulatory agency that oversees the natural gas, oil, and electricity markets in the U.S. FERC regulates the transmission and sale of these energies (except the sale of oil), provides licenses for hydroelectric plants, and deals with related environmental matters. The nuclear power industry is regulated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), whose mission it is to protect the public health and safety from nuclear radiation and waste and promote the common defense through rulemaking, inspection, and licensing.
There is a recent trend towards deregulation of various energy industries, especially in the electricity market. Deregulation aims to promote competition and lower energy prices by allowing consumers choices in energy suppliers. However, the energy industry remains heavily regulated.