The Natural Resources Defense Council released a mapping tool developed in partnership with the U.S. DoD that lets renewable energy developers identify sites less likely to interfere with DoD’s mission readiness activities and environmentally sensitive areas.
“The Renewable Energy and Defense Geospatial Database is the result of a groundbreaking collaboration by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness,” said Frank DiGiovanni, Director, Training Readiness and Strategy, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness), Department of Defense. “This multidisciplinary approach provides a useful capability for the renewable-energy industry to identify potential impacts on mission readiness activities.”
Intended as a proactive planning tool, NRDC’s Renewable Energy and Defense Database – or READ-Database – is a Geographic Information Systems database that captures essential DoD activities, including DoD base, testing, and training range locations along with low-altitude high-speed military flight training routes and special use airspace, and an extensive inventory of weather and air surveillance radars within the U.S. The READ-Database will help ensure that the siting of renewable energy projects avoid conflict with these activities.
“Research and planning is key to any successful venture. This tool provides both,” said Kit Kennedy, NRDC’s Clean Energy Counsel. “Working with the DoD, we can provide a resource that takes both environmental and military considerations into account for all renewable energy developers in search of a project site.”
The resource, available online through NRDC’s website, provides GIS data that is largely missing from the current renewable-energy siting process, particularly in the West where opportunity for development of utility-scale wind, solar and geothermal is abundant and DoD has a geographically extensive presence.
NRDC partnered with DoD in the development of the database, in order to foster better planning of projects by all involved and accelerate the advancement of renewable energy throughout the United States. The READ-Database also aims to improve energy security, create jobs and protect the environment. The DoD has been a leader in the development and deployment of clean energy technologies, say developers.
“The READ-Database represents the state of the art in public-private partnering for renewable energy siting,” said David Belote, Executive Director, DoD Siting Clearinghouse, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment), Department of Defense. “NRDC has created a one-stop shop for developers to prescreen potential project locations for environmental impacts as well as conflicts with military testing, training, and homeland defense operations. The database promises to facilitate project planning, protect critical military capabilities, and promote an energy-secure future.”
The full dataset is available through a registration process on the NRDC website, but a Google Earth-formatted sample for Wyoming is provided on the project’s webpage. It shows how the READ-Database’s three layers offer combined information to give renewable energy developers and other stakeholders a more complete picture of the DoD mission. More on the project comes from Peter Lehner, NRDC’s Executive Director: http://bit.ly/ufhZm1
The Natural Resources Defense Council