American Wind Energy Association opposes BLM wind energy rule

Published on November 15, 2016 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently came out against the final rule issued by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) governing wind and solar energy development on public lands.

“Unfortunately, based on our preliminary review, for this administration and the majority of Americans who support expanding wind energy in the U.S., this final rule makes federal lands even less attractive to wind energy developers,” AWEA said in statement. “This will add time, uncertainty, complexity, and expense to a process that was already more difficult than developing on private lands.”

AWEA said the new rule would penalize projects pursued outside of designated zones, although there are no designated zones for wind energy at this time. The discriminatory practices by the BLM, AWEA said, place wind energy at a competitive disadvantage with other energy sources that have such areas designated and can avail themselves of the incentives to develop in those areas.

“This rule will only serve to further discourage wind development on public lands, contrary to BLM’s stated intent,” Tim Vinson, vice president of federal regulatory affairs at AWEA, said.

Currently, 98 percent of wind farms have been developed on private land. According to the BLM, an estimated 20.6 million acres of public lands in 11 western U.S. states have significant wind energy development potential. While the BLM has authorized 4,740 megawatts of wind energy since 2009, less than 470 MW has actually been built.