Federal Regulatory Framework

Several federal policies provide directives and guidance to federal agencies and developers of wind projects. On May 18, 2001, Executive Order 13212 "Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use" directed federal agencies involved in reviewing energy-related projects to streamline their internal approval processes and established an interagency task force to coordinate federal efforts at expediting approval mechanisms. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the National Energy Policy of 2001 report provide additional guidance to federal agencies and developers to promote the development of domestic renewable energy supplies. Interagency working groups such as The Federal Interagency Wind Siting Collaboration have evolved out of such national initiatives to facilitate the coordination among federal agencies regarding wind energy specifically and to develop a federal agency wind energy information center.

In addition to carrying out general federal policy regarding wind energy development, federal agencies must review potential impacts from the construction and operation of a wind project as with any development project. When a project is located on privately, locally, or state-owned land, the potential impacts of the project to resources such as wildlife, water, and aviation may also trigger a federal approval process. Sections 4.1.1 to 4.1.6 discuss the federal statutes that may apply to a project regardless of where it is located. Section 4.1.7 discusses additional federal procedures specific to projects that are located on federally managed lands. The following table provides a summary of commonly required federal approvals for wind power projects. This table is reproduced in the Resources section of the handbook with links to guidance documents for further information on each requirement.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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