New policy will facilitate responsible renewable energy development

Nov 10, 2016

Under BLM's new Wind and Solar Leasing Rule, solar and wind projects will be incentivized in areas that are considered low-conflict in terms of wildlife and landscape.

Dennis Schroeder courtesy of NREL
BLM’s wind and solar leasing rule is first-ever comprehensive guidance for these energy sources on public lands.

The Wilderness Society applauds the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) finalization today of Wind and Solar Leasing Rule. This rule represents the first effort by the federal government to comprehensively manage wind and solar energy on public lands.

This important guidance will facilitate responsible solar and wind energy development on public lands. By prioritizing development in designated low-conflict areas, the Wind and Solar Leasing Rule is expected to make the permitting process more efficient in appropriate areas while protecting wildlands and wildlife habitat from development.

It will put renewable energy on the same playing field as fossil fuels by implementing a competitive leasing process, assuring taxpayers fair compensation. It has been released after several years of planning, public input, and review.

The Wind and Solar Leasing Rule will also help the U.S. meet climate goals. With at least one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions in this country coming from public lands, we know that they must play a role in addressing climate change.

A number of efforts have advanced wind and solar energy on public lands during President Obama’s time in office, while also protecting valued land and water for future generations. The finalization of the Wind and Solar Leasing Rule ensures that this approach becomes standard practice going forward.

The following statement in response to this historic announcement is from Alex Daue, Assistant Director, Energy & Climate:

“The Obama administration has made renewable energy on public lands a reality, and this widely supported rule establishes a 21st-century program that balances clean energy development and conservation. It will ensure that best practices advanced by the Bureau of Land Management to develop wind and solar responsibly become standard across the West.

"The success of the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone in Nevada demonstrates the value of this approach, both by providing predictability and efficiency for clean energy development and by preserving the wildlands and wildlife that Americans love.

"Going forward, we look forward to working with the Interior Department, developers, and other stakeholders to implement the rule and to achieve needed clean energy while minimizing conflict with wildlands.”

Contacts:

Ms. Sarah Graddy, Communications Manager, Energy & Climate: (202) 570-1939

Mr. Alex Daue, Assistant Director, Energy & Climate: (303) 650-5715

Contact