American Energy Initiative: testimony of RES Americas’ Susan Reilly before the House Committee on Natural Resources

June 1, 2011

On June 1, 2011, Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Americas President and CEO Susan Reilly testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources in a hearing on the American Energy Initiative. The Initiative aimed to identify roadblocks to wind and solar energy on public lands and waters. Reilly provided the wind industry’s perspective.

In her testimony, Reilly focused on the roadblocks to developing renewable energy projects on public lands created by regulatory uncertainty.

Key points of Reilly’s testimony on renewable energy projects

  1. The process for developing renewable energy projects is complicated, and critical steps in
    successfully completing a project hinge on the permitting process.
  2. Adding regulatory uncertainty to the permitting process makes project development more
    complicated, lengthy, and expensive … and therefore more risky.
  3. In the past ten months, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Bureau of Land
    Management (BLM) have issued several documents that significantly increase the regulatory
    uncertainty associated with permitting wind energy projects.
    • Among these documents, the Eagle Guidance is the most immediately problematic.
    • The Eagle Guidance is unnecessarily onerous, and unfairly penalizes wind energy.
  4. The Eagle Guidance creates a significant roadblock to developing renewable energy projects on
    public lands – RES has some proposed solutions.
  5. The Eagle Guidance is the most immediate issue the industry faces, but it is not the only
    roadblock – there are other reasons why developing renewable energy projects on public lands
    is difficult.
  6. DOI’s “Fast-Track” process is welcome and well-intended, but needs to focus more on
    successful outcomes for wind projects.
  7. Case study: This is not a theoretical issue – some of RES’ projects have already been directly impacted by the roadblocks listed above.

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