Finding Smart Places

Wind turbines.
Martin Abegglen, flickr
When we work to guide renewable energy development to the most appropriate places, we can avoid damaging sensitive wildlands and wildlife habitat.

What we’re doing

Renewable energy requires a different approach than energy development of the past. Our work with government agencies, land managers, the clean energy industry, recreationists and other conservationists will help in the development of forward thinking policies and development practices.

Smart solar

The sunny lands of the southwest are the perfect place for capturing the energy of the sun. But solar energy development could hurt the beautiful cactus-studded deserts that southwest endangered wildlife depends on. Our work guides projects to low-conflict solar energy zones on BLM lands. We are helping protect our natural heritage and build a clean energy future.

Guiding wind development

Wind energy development on our public lands continues to grow at a rapid pace with projects being approved by the Bureau of Land Management in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Large scale wind projects can have serious impacts on the land, however, so it is important they be built in the right places and the right ways.

Transmitting energy

To get renewable energy to cities we’ll need new responsibly-sited transmission lines. The challenge is building only what is needed and siting transmission lines in low-conflict areas so that good projects are approved quickly.

Saving energy saves lands

The cheapest, greenest power plant is the one you don’t have to build. By supporting innovative ways to reduce energy demand we are shrinking our energy footprint and the amount of development needed on public lands.


Steering projects away from sensitive lands and finding solutions for smart renewable energy development can help protect cultural and environmental resources and wild places. Rooftop solar development can help reduce the demand for development on public lands.

Recycling contaminated lands

Lands already disturbed by human use—like brownfields—can make some of the best sites for renewable energy development. These degraded lands have low ecological value and are usually wired for electrical transmission. With nearly half a million sites inventoried, they are unlikely to be cleaned up without some incentive. Renewable energy developers and utilities should be encouraged to choose these sites for their projects.