Promote Smart Siting for Wind and Solar Projects

August 10, 2015

Wind and solar companies are beginning to tap America’s clean energy potential on a grand scale. Some of the country's richest renewable resources are found on federal lands, and as companies prepare to develop projects near wild places, NRDC ensures they get it right from the start. This means advocating for policies and best practices that unleash the benefits of pollution-free energy while also protecting ecological treasures.

We start by mapping wind and solar resources and evaluating nearby ecosystems. We partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense—the nation’s largest energy purchaser—to create a first-of-its-kind analytical database and siting primer. These tools identify appropriate sites for utility-scale wind and solar projects that are unlikely to interfere with military training and will have the fewest impacts on the local environment.

We work with companies, local residents, and state agencies to help renewable projects steer clear of pristine landscapes and wildlife corridors. Many endangered and threatened species are vulnerable to energy development, including the desert tortoise, golden eagle, sage grouse, and whooping crane. NRDC helps direct projects away from sensitive habitat and toward lands that have already been used by agriculture, grazing, or mining.

We also help the Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies establish a long-term planning approach for renewable energy development and transmission across the Western landscape.