A proposed project may necessitate acquiring the right to use land owned and controlled by a state government. For example, the project developer may identify a possible site that is located within a state forest, state park, wildlife management area, recreation area, scientific study area, or other state preservation area. Several agencies may have jurisdiction over the various types of state-owned lands, so it is important to identify the agency that is delegated with the authority to provide a use authorization for the site in question. Use authorizations are typically governed by legislative or regulatory guidelines, and are sometimes prohibited altogether by state law or constitution. The project developer may need to obtain a use authorization, which can be in the form of a lease, an easement, a permit, or a license to use the state's land; some states even require special vote by the state legislature in order for state-held lands to be used for private purposes. Other lands may be privately owned but subject to certain restrictions to protect the public's interests, such as land beneath tidally influenced waters that have been filled.
Developers should consult 4.3 Local Approvals with local agencies to identify applicable requirements
At most proposed wind energy project sites, one or more local specific to the area where a wind approvals will be required. Local approvals are a critical project would be located.
component of the siting process for most proposed wind energy projects, particularly because local authorities often have jurisdiction to approve the actual construction of the proposed project. The Resources section of this handbook provides a list of state siting guidelines that are available to local governments for consideration when reviewing wind projects and working with wind developers. The U.S. Department of Energy's Renewable Energy Laboratory, in collaboration with the National Association of Counties, created a Wind Energy Guide for County Commissioners that can as also be a useful resource for developers. A detailed discussion of local approval requirements is beyond the scope of this handbook because of the wide variety of local ordinances, regulations and policies. The following table provides a summary of commonly required local approvals for wind energy projects. Developers should consult with local agencies to identify applicable requirements specific to the area where a wind project would be located.
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