Wind turbines and solar panels may be coming soon to a national forest near you. According to a new report, there are plenty of opportunities to develop renewable energy on millions of acres of federal land in the West.
In Assessing the
Potential for Renewable Energy on Public Lands, the Bureau of Land
Management and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory outline
possibilities for photovoltaic, solar, wind, biomass and
geo-thermal energy on public lands. According to the study, all 11
Western states could develop one or more sources, and seven of them
could develop three or more.
Mike Kirby, associate
director of the BLM National Science and Technology Center, says
that even before the first draft was released, industry began
showing great interest. “We’ve seen 42 applications for
wind power this year,” he says. “Last year, we only had
Proponents of renewable energy say privately
owned lands need to be studied next. Stephanie Bonin of Coloradans
for Renewable Energy notes, “Developing renewable sources on
private land would help keep our public lands wild and undeveloped.
It would also provide a needed boost to rural
Assessing the Potential for Renewable
Energy on Public Lands is available online at