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

 

  • Michael Reinemer

    Senator Cantwell, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has scheduled a hearing in Seattle on August 27 to examine wildfire issues.  Senator John Barrasso, who chairs that committee’s Public Lands, Forests and Mining subcommittee, is also scheduled to participate in the hearing.

  • Tim Woody

    When President Obama visits Alaska at the end of August, climate change will be a key focus of his trip. The Wilderness Society developed the following memo to provide a brief primer on key Alaska public lands where the effects of climate change can already be seen. This information is intended to ease your research and inform your reporting during the president’s visit. It focuses on four areas where the president’s administration has made major, important decisions:

  • Anastasia Greene

    “We are heartened to see that President Obama is focusing on clean energy as part of building an enduring environmental legacy in the last 18 months of his presidency, and the Clean Power Plan is a good start,” said Jamie Williams, president of the Wilderness Society, one of the oldest conservation groups in the United States. "This administration has shifted the role our public lands play in powering the nation. We have solar projects on public lands for the first time ever.