September 29, 2014

Interior Announces New Proposal for Renewable Energy Development on Public Lands

Last week, the U.S. Department of Interior released its new proposal for development of solar and wind resources on public lands. The proposal, referred to as the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DREC), focuses on the desert land across seven California counties — Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. It was developed through collaboration among California state agencies as well as the federal government in an attempt to facilitate California's renewable electricity portfolio and renewable energy development on federal lands.

While the proposal focuses on the areas specified above, it demonstrates the latest federal approach to enabling renewable development on public lands. The proposal focuses on achieving two broad goals — expanding renewable energy development in areas where environmental impact can be mitigated as well as addressing specific ecosystem concerns through the proposed area. In addition, the draft proposes implementing competitive leasing terms for all areas while creating "designated leasing areas" for additional incentives.

Comments are being accepted until January 9, 2015.

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