Boosting clean energy

Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society

Public lands are critical for a clean energy future

Renewable energy development on public lands is a key part of America’s clean energy future. But if these projects aren't sited in the right places, they can do as much harm as good for our environment.

We work to ensure renewable energy projects are built in specially designated zones and other locations that have high energy potential and lower impacts on wildlands. We support the Bureau of Land Management's financial incentives for solar, wind and geothermal energy projects in designated zones. We also support legislation in Congress called the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act. If passed, this act would direct development to pre-screened zones and encourage efficient permitting. At the same time, the act would ensure the protection of wild places and give local communities economic benefits.

Promoting responsible transmission infrastructure to transport clean energy to cities and towns is equally important to protecting wildlands. The West-wide Energy Corridors are an example of such smart siting. Ongoing efforts to improve these corridors can serve our clean energy needs while limiting impacts to the environment.

Why this issue matters

Our public lands have a key role to play in our nation's transition from dirty fossil fuels to a clean energy future. Through responsible development, we can build that future while protecting America’s irreplaceable wildlands and wildlife.

700,000 acres of public lands
The amount designated by the Bureau of Land Management as priority wind, solar and geothermal zones – enough to support hundreds of projects.
11,000 megawatts
Bureau of Land Management-approved wind, solar and geothermal projects, which could power over four million homes when built.
$32 million in revenue
The amount in renewable energy generated by public lands annually for the U.S. treasury, states and counties.

What we're doing

  1. Promoting wise development

    We support the transition to a clean energy economy by promoting the responsible development of renewable energy and associated transmission on federal public lands.
     

  2. Locating sites where development does less damage

    We work with federal agencies, states, local governments, industry and conservation partners to find appropriate areas for development on public lands that have high energy potential and lower impacts on wildlands and wildlife.
     

  3. Advocating for responsible policies

    We defend and advocate for federal policies and regional plans, like the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan in California, that protect wild places and incentivize responsible renewable energy development on public lands.

  4. Protecting vulnerable wildlands

    We protect irreplaceable wildlands and wildlife habitat from all types of energy development. If renewable energy projects are proposed in these areas, we work to shift development to less impactful locations.