Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New Policies Can Spark Big Increases in Renewable Energy Production From America’s Public Lands and Oceans
Press Release

RELEASE: New Policies Can Spark Big Increases in Renewable Energy Production From America’s Public Lands and Oceans

Washington, D.C. — Renewable energy production has increased dramatically under the Obama administration, with solar generation increasing twentyfold and wind generation increasing threefold since 2009 alone. But a new report from the Center for American Progress argues that new policies are needed to consolidate these gains and harness more of the clean energy potential of our nation’s public lands and waters.

The CAP report analyzes the Obama administration’s renewable energy policies on public lands to determine which strategies have been most effective at encouraging responsible development and growth and outlines a four-point plan for building on areas of success over the coming years.

“Renewable energy development on America’s public lands has gone from 0 to 60 in just a few years, but our oceans and lands have far more clean energy potential that can be responsibly harnessed in the coming decade,” said David J. Hayes, CAP Visiting Senior Fellow and co-author of the report. “New reforms and innovations are needed to accelerate the next generation of environmentally sound renewable energy projects on public lands and waters and to bolster the United States’ pivot to a clean energy future.”

CAP’s four-point plan to responsibly expand renewable energy on public lands and waters includes:

  • Institutionalizing—through legislation and regulation—recent renewable energy permitting reforms
  • Designating more renewable energy zones on public lands and waters, including the creation of 10 new Solar Energy Zones, the expansion of offshore wind energy zones in deeper waters for floating turbines, and the development of renewable energy zones for wind and geothermal
  • Cultivating community-based, distributed renewable energy resources on nearby public lands with interested communities
  • Accelerating investment through a new revolving loan fund to facilitate the financing of creditworthy renewable energy projects on public lands and waters

The authors note that the progress of renewable energy development under the Obama administration can be attributed to a handful of key ingredients, such as increased collaboration between stakeholders and the government and more efficient and environmentally sound permitting approaches, which have expedited renewable energy development on our nation’s lands and waters.

The current administration has permitted more than 50 renewable energy projects since 2009 on public lands, which when constructed will add an additional 15,000 megawatts of capacity to the grid—enough to power more than 2 million homes—and create almost 21,000 jobs.

Read the report: A 4-Point Plan for Responsibly Expanding Renewable Energy Production on America’s Public Lands and Oceans by David J. Hayes and Nidhi Thakar

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.