Saturday, September 03, 2016

Federal Rule Set to Speed Renewables on Public Lands

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and other federal officials inspecting solar panels at the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm on federal lands in California in 2015. (Credit: U.S. Dept. of Interior/flickr) Click to Enlarge.
More wind turbines and solar power plants could be coming to vast tracts of public lands in the West if the Obama administration finalizes a new rule this fall aiming to streamline how federal lands can be developed for renewable energy.

But the rule, hailed by environmental groups and the Obama administration as way to fast-track zero-carbon wind and solar projects on federal lands, is being criticized by the renewables industry, which says it won’t do enough to reduce the cost of developing renewables on public lands.

The federal Bureau of Land Management’s wind and solar leasing rule, first proposed in 2014, is expected to be finalized by the end of October and will create a competitive bidding process to build renewables on federal lands.

Under the rule, the BLM will create incentives for companies to develop wind and solar projects on land that will be prescreened for environmental conflicts so that wind and solar projects can be permitted there more quickly.
Helen O’Shea, the western renewable energy project director for the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco, said the main benefit of the rule is to modernize the wind and solar project permitting process so that the typical years-long environmental review process for new projects on public land can be shaved down to one year or less.

Most renewables, especially wind farms, have been built on private land across the U.S., where there are fewer regulations governing development and construction permits can be easier to obtain.   

“The proposed rule would promote the use of preferred areas for solar and wind energy development,” BLM spokeswoman Kimberly Brubeck said.

Read more at Federal Rule Set to Speed Renewables on Public Lands

No comments:

Post a Comment