Renewable Energy

An important part of protecting wilderness is replacing our use of dirty fossil fuels—coal, oil and natural gas—with cleaner energy alternatives like wind and solar power to help in the fight against global warming.

Studies make it clear: the US needs to transform its energy system with less-polluting options. Rich renewable energy found on our public lands play a key role in powering our future. 

In developing renewable energy on public lands, we shouldn’t sacrifice sensitive wildlands and wildlife habitat. By choosing the right places and methods for developing clean energy, we can ensure our environment and economies stay healthy.

What The Wilderness Society is doing

The Wilderness Society is working to help build a more sustainable energy future, focused on clean, renewable energy. We work to find opportunities for conservation while seeking renewable energy alternatives that minimize damage to the land. This includes:

  • Reducing the acreage of lands used for energy development by increasing power generation near where people live and work
  • Guiding large-scale renewable energy projects to places where they will not harm wildlife and wildlands
  • Ensuring that renewable projects on public lands are in “low-conflict” areas so that they can be approved sooner, helping the nation decrease its reliance on fossil fuels

What is the role of public lands in renewable energy?

Along with state and private lands, our public lands harbor substantial wind, solar and geothermal resources. Development is not appropriate everywhere on public lands. Where it does occur on public lands, it needs to be done in a responsible manner.

Priority campaigns

Finding smart places

When we work to guide renewable energy development to the most appropriate places, we can avoid damaging sensitive wildlands and wildlife habitat. Solar, wind and transmission line development require forward thinking policies and development practices.

Paying Back the Land

Ensuring that renewable energy leaves the smallest footprint on our land and receiving fair market rates for the use of our public lands for energy development is a critical part of our work. Reinvesting into conservation efforts and offsetting the impacts through mitigation are an important part of the transition to clean energy sources.

Renewable energy and climate change

Replacing fossil energy with renewable energy can reduce carbon emissions and limit the worst effects of climate change. The Wilderness Society envisions a future where the nation relies on a more sustainable energy system that has less impact on the warming planet and our changing climate.

Renewable FAQs

 

  • In the first of a three management plans to be released in 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Colorado missed a great opportunity to protect some of Colorado's most treasured landscapes—including the Dolores River, lands surrounding Mesa Verde National Park and recreation hub

  • When school was out for the summer in the suburbs of Manhattan where I grew up, my mom packed our little Subaru hatchback with sleeping bags, a tent, a cooler filled with fruit and sandwich meat, hiking boots, rain gear, and three kids, and headed West.  Like generations before and since, w

  • The Forest Service recently released a plan that could protect much of Colorado’s Thompson Divide from new oil and gas leasing. For years, this spectacular area has been threatened by oil and gas development.