The Obama administration on Thursday took a major step toward encouraging development of renewable energy on federal lands in six Western states by establishing a competitive bidding process similar to how oil and gas leases are awarded...

Solar and wind developers have long sought to unlock the potential of millions of acres of federal lands in the U.S. West, but have primarily sited projects on private lands because building there is quicker.

Under the current system, it can take up to 18 months to two years to permit a renewable energy project on federal lands. The new rule, finalized on Thursday, could cut that time in half in the areas designated as most suitable for development, said Amanda DeGroff, spokeswoman for the Department of the Interior.

Employing competitive leases, like those in the oil and gas industry, will give the Bureau of Land Management fair market value for its land, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice Schneider said in a statement.

It also designates 700,000 acres of public lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah where projects will have the least impact on wildlife habitats. Developers will receive financial incentives to site projects in those areas.

The rule will go into effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register, which is expected to happen in the coming weeks.

Solar and wind developers have raised concerns that the rule, which was proposed in 2014, would increase costs.

An internal study found the rule will generally increase rents and fees for wind projects and decrease them for solar projects.

"We have not had a chance to fully review it, but we hope this rule paves the way for increased solar development at predictable rates on public lands," Christopher Mansour, vice president of federal affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, said in a statement.

Several environmental groups applauded the rule, saying it strikes a balance between encouraging development and conserving natural resources.

"It's important that these projects are built in the right places in the right ways," said Alex Daue, assistant director, energy and climate for land conservation group the Wilderness Society. "What this rule does is it puts in place a program that facilitates responsible development."

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Thu Nov 10, 2016 | 4:14pm EST

source: http://www.reuters.com/

original story HERE


Get more of The Global Warming Blog. Bookmark this page and sign up for the blog’s free RSS Feed. Sign up for free Global Warming Blog by clicking here. You will automatically be emailed a regular summary of the latest global warming headlines. 
To learn about more about global warming, climate change or greenhouse gases as well as the causes, consequences, solutions, definitions, facts and tipping points related to these subjects, click here
To see our most current positions, opinions, comments, agreement or disagreement with this article, and/or possible criticisms related to the subjects or facts raised in the above article, click here.  Then look for those subjects in the navigation links at the top the page.
To sign a critical petition for declaring an international global warming State of Emergency, click  here!

To help do something about the climate change and global warming emergency, click here.

Sign up for our free Global Warming Blog by clicking here. (In your email, you will receive critical news, research, and the warning signs for the next global warming disaster.)

To share this blog post: Go to the Share button to the left below.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
Get More Info Here Take Action Support Our Mission

Subscribe to Our Global Warming Blog


Subscribe to Our Global Warming Blog