BLM Finalizes Rule to Lower Annual Charges for Wind and Solar Projects

By |2024-04-18T16:27:11+00:00April 18th, 2024|Federal Lands, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy|

On 11 April 2024 the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a prepublication copy of a final rule that will reduce annual rent and capacity fees for wind and solar energy rights-of-way (ROWs), allow noncompetitive leasing in Designated Leasing Areas (DLAs), modify BLM’s approach to prioritizing applications, and make other changes to the application process. The rule will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Rents and Capacity Fees The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 directs BLM to collect fair market value for use of public lands. Under [...]

BLM Proposes Permitting Revisions to Support Renewables

By |2024-04-17T21:41:13+00:00July 19th, 2023|Federal Lands, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy|

On 15 June 2023, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a proposed rule that would partially rewrite the agency’s regulations pertaining to wind and solar energy development of federal public lands. Comments are due by 15 August 2023. The proposed rule would significantly reduce BLM’s annual charges for new and existing wind and solar rights-of-way (ROWs) by using different methodologies to calculate acreage rent and capacity fees and applying additional reductions; allow for noncompetitive leasing within designated leasing areas (DLAs); and make various other changes to the existing regulations that are generally favorable [...]

Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Eagle Take General Permits

By |2024-04-17T21:42:04+00:00October 5th, 2022|Renewable Energy|

On 30 September 2022, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule that would create a standardized permitting program for the incidental take of bald and golden eagles by qualifying activities such as wind energy projects and power lines. The proposed rule would amend the Service’s Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) permitting regulations to offer general take permits as an alternative to the project-specific eagle take permits that are available under current regulations. General permits would be valid for five years subject to renewal and would be issued automatically without [...]

Is California’s AB 205 a Renewable Energy Game Changer?

By |2024-04-17T21:42:11+00:00August 25th, 2022|Renewable Energy|

A new, one-stop, 270-day wind, solar, and storage permitting process at the California Energy Commission (CEC) makes California’s Assembly Bill 205 (AB 205) sound promising, but past practice suggests it only may be attractive to developers facing stiff local agency opposition. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 205 into law on 30 June 2022. The law allows developers of wind and solar projects with a capacity of at least 50 megawatts (MW) and storage projects of at least 200 megawatt hours (MWh) to avoid local permitting by opting into the nearly exclusive permitting jurisdiction of [...]

Biden Takes Next Step Toward West Coast Offshore Wind

By |2024-04-17T21:42:20+00:00January 14th, 2022|National Environmental Policy Act, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy|

On 11 January 2022, the United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for site assessment and characterization activities and the issuances of leases in the Humboldt Wind Energy Area. Assuming the agency finalizes the EA following public comment, its next step will be to hold an auction for offshore wind leases. While turbine construction is still years away—and subject to myriad other federal and state approvals—BOEM’s recent action represents an important milestone on the road to offshore wind energy on the West Coast. Humboldt Wind Energy Area [...]

Biden Administration Scraps Trump-Era Migratory Bird Rule, Looks Ahead to Incidental Take Permitting

By |2024-04-17T21:42:45+00:00October 6th, 2021|BGEPA and MBTA, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy|

On 4 October 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced its intent to revoke a Trump-era rule that limited the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) to prohibiting intentional take of avian species and instead develop a new rule for the authorization of what soon will again otherwise be prohibited incidental take. Effective 3 December 2021, the agency will return to implementing the MBTA as prohibiting “incidental take” of birds that results from otherwise lawful activities. As predicted, we will then be back to a world in which USFWS’s enforcement [...]

California Goes All In on Offshore Wind

By |2024-04-17T21:42:50+00:00September 28th, 2021|Federal Lands, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy|

On 23 September 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom jumpstarted the state’s offshore wind energy industry by signing Assembly Bill (AB) 525 into law. AB 525 directs the California Energy Commission (CEC) to coordinate with other state agencies to develop a long-term strategic plan for offshore wind development in federal waters off the California coast. The bill also requires the CEC to establish statewide offshore wind capacity goals for 2030 and 2045 by the middle of 2022. These steps will lay the groundwork for large-scale installations off California’s 840-mile coast in the coming decades. Background [...]

BLM Wakes Up to the Climate Crisis

By |2024-04-17T21:42:54+00:00September 1st, 2021|Federal Lands, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy|

Yesterday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a solicitation of public input on a proposed revision of the agency’s renewable energy permitting regulations. BLM intends to publish a proposed rule in early 2022. The BLM announcement includes links to two national and two regional listening sessions held between 14 September and 26 September where stakeholders can provide oral comments. BLM invites written comments within the same timeframe as well. BLM is specifically interested in comments on multiple topics that have been controversial within the renewable energy industry since BLM’s last retooling of its [...]

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