New bill will get money from renewable energy development back to communities, conservation

Feb 2, 2017

Photovoltaic solar panels.

Department of Energy
The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2017 was introduced in the House and Senate today.

This bill enjoys unusual broad, bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress and among many western local elected officials for the benefits it would provide to renewable energy development, western communities, and conservation.

Demand for renewable energy across the U.S. is already strong, and it continues to grow as costs for wind and solar plummet and job opportunities rapidly expand. In fact, the 2017 Colorado College’s latest State of the Rockies Project poll found that 80 percent of western voters support more wind and solar development on public lands.

If made into law, PLREDA would enable the U.S. Interior Department to direct money already collected from wind and solar companies to states, counties, and important land and wildlife conservation programs, as well as into permitting for additional projects. This bill will help scale up renewable energy responsibly by increasing permitting efficiency and encouraging development in low-conflict areas where projects are most likely to succeed.

In response to the introduction of the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2017, The Wilderness Society released a statement from Alex Daue, Assistant Director for Energy & Climate:

“This bill is great news for America’s thriving clean energy economy and our great outdoors. By scaling up renewables development, it will ensure our public lands continue to help guide us toward modern energy future.

"And by investing in local communities, conservation of land and wildlife habitat, and recreation access, it will help protect the West that we love.”