The American Wind Energy Association, as per Tom Vinson, VP of Federal Regulatory Affairs at AWEA. issued the following statement regarding the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) final rule governing wind and solar energy development on public lands:
“Unfortunately, based on our preliminary review, for this Administration and the majority of Americans who support expanding wind energy in the U.S., this final rule makes federal lands even less attractive to wind energy developers. This will add time, uncertainty, complexity, and expense to a process that was already more difficult than developing on private lands.
“The rule penalizes projects pursued outside of designated zones, yet there are no designated zones for wind energy and there may not be for years. This discriminatory treatment places wind energy at a competitive disadvantage to energy sources that have such areas designated and can avail themselves of the incentives to develop in these areas.
“This rule will only serve to further discourage wind development on public lands, contrary to BLM’s stated intent.”
While over 98% of wind farms have been developed on private land, wind energy development on U.S. public lands has significant potential. An estimated 20.6 million acres of public lands in 11 Western states have wind energy development potential, according to the federal BLM.
However, of the 4,740 MW of wind energy that BLM has authorized since 2009, less than 47 0MW has actually been built.