Renewable Energy Siting
At the same time as we work to remove the barriers and encourage the rapid deployment of renewable energy, we must also acknowledge that all types of renewable energy development can have significant impacts on wildlife and habitat.
The National Wildlife Federation is actively working to minimize the impact of any energy source on wildlife in any legislative and administrative renewable energy proposals.
We are focusing on three specific areas where renewable energy decision made by the Department of the Interior stand to impact wildlife:
- The designation of Solar Energy Study Areas on Bureau of Land Management lands in the Southwest.
- The idetification of core habitat for sensitive species like the sage grouse while establishing Renewable Energy Zones for wind energy generation in states like Wyoming.
- The determination of which renewable energy generation and transmission projects that are likely to qualify for funding from the economic stimulus bill, passed in the beginning of 2009.
Reducing the Impact of Infrastructure on Wildlife
NWF also supports significant legislative reform to how electrical transmission lines are managed as part of a comprehensive effort to transition to a clean energy economy, including revision of the West-Wide Energy Corridors established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
New transmission lines and upgrades should avoid or minimize impacts to sensitive resources, and should be specifically planned, designed, and sited in order to serve renewable resources, not expand the carbon-intensive electrical generation that is linked to generation.
As leaders on this issue in the House and the Senate continue to tackle comprehensive climate and energy legislation, NWF supports an overarching landscape-level planning framework and a dedicated mitigation fund to ensure that all onshore oil and gas, wind, solar and geothermal energy projects are designed in a manner that safeguards wildlife and sensitive lands.
Additionally, some portion of royalty and other revenues derived from wind and solar generation, as well as transmission, on federal lands should be directed to natural resource management and conservation, including conserving federal lands for the purpose of global warming adaptation.
Finally, in order to improve the environmental review and federal authorization processes for wind and solar development on federal lands, NWF is encouraging the establishment of a new competitive leasing process.