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How can energy developers acquire land?

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2024 | Energy Law |

Energy development is an expanding sector in New York. It has been driven by the pursuit of renewable sources such as wind and solar, alongside traditional energy sources of oil and gas. However, for those energy developers looking to get their share of the pie, how do they acquire land in New York.

Identifying suitable land

The initial step for developers is to locate appropriate land. In New York, underutilized sites, like landfills and parking lots, are often earmarked for renewable energy projects. Lower-quality agricultural land is frequently used for solar energy projects due to its flat terrain and proximity to power lines. For wind energy, New York is investing significantly in offshore wind projects.

Types of land transactions

Energy developers can secure land through various types of transactions. First, developers can purchase the land. Direct purchase of land is one option, which allows developers full control over the property.

Another, and more common option, is to lease the land. Long-term leases, particularly on farmland, are a common method for securing land for solar arrays. Renting is a viable option for developers looking for parcels starting at around 10 acres for solar installations. These leases provide flexibility without the substantial upfront costs of purchasing.

Understanding mineral rights

For oil and gas development, acquiring mineral rights is essential. In New York, developers must obtain legal rights to extract minerals, which can be through purchase, lease or easement. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation oversees the regulation of drilling and mining operations.


The acquisition of land for energy development in New York involves several key steps: finding suitable land, negotiating types of land transactions and understanding mineral rights, if applicable. As the state continues to focus on utilizing underutilized sites for energy projects, opportunities for developers will increase.