Project Development, Wind Power

New Wind Energy Policy for US Lands

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued guidelines that will help the agency respond to a growing interest in the commercial development of wind energy projects on America’s public lands.

Washington, D.C. – October 25, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The guidelines, set forth in a Wind Energy Development Policy issued by the BLM, cover the processing of right-of-way applications for wind energy site testing and monitoring facilities, as well as applications for commercial wind energy development projects on BLM-managed public lands. “The BLM fully supports the President’s National Energy Policy, which is aimed at developing domestic energy to reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy,” said BLM Director Kathleen Clarke. “Along with traditional sources of energy produced from the public lands – including coal, natural gas and oil – renewable resources such as wind energy can play a important role in meeting American’s energy needs.” The BLM currently administers 25 wind energy right-of-way authorizations on public lands in California and Wyoming. The sites cover approximately 5,000 acres and generate about 500 MW of electrical power per year. The interest in wind energy development is increasing, and the BLM continues to receive new project proposals on public land. The BLM has recently received about 30 new applications for projects in Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico, California, Wyoming and Washington. The BLM Wind Energy Policy provides consistent guidance on the timely processing of wind energy right-of-way applications and addresses the following issues: land use plan requirements for wind energy development; authorization of wind energy activities on public land as Federal Land Policy and Management Act rights-of-way; establishment of rental fees for site testing and monitoring authorizations and minimum rental fees for commercial development; efficient processing and tracking of right-of-way applications; due diligence requirements; and requirements for environmental review of wind energy activities.