Track: Trends in Project Development (stakeholder and community interaction)
Siting Energy Projects on Public Lands: Pennsylvania Case Study
Presentation Description: Some of Pennsylvania’s best wind resources can be found on the mountain ridges in the Commonwealth’s state forests and game lands, however, all proposals to build utility-scale wind farms have been denied by state agencies. Both DCNR and the Game Commission have been approached by developers to lease state land for wind development, however all proposals have been denied. Even when DCNR owns the surface rights, they still cite the lack of legal authority to lease the land for wind, as their statute does not explicitly state “wind turbines” as a lawful lease option.
The Game Commission does have the legal authority to lease its land for wind development, but has denied 19 out of 19 requests (as of Dec 2017) by developers to do so, citing many environmental and surface disturbances as the primary reason not to lease.
Using GIS layers, we estimate that 35% of the state’s best wind resource is undevelopable simply because it is on public land.
The objective of this research is to provide both Pennsylvania citizens and policymakers with accessible information about how Pennsylvania owned lands (specifically, state parks, state forests, and state game lands) are being used and managed for energy resource development.
This research was conducted by myself and Michael Sell at the SFU Institute for Energy using grant funds from the Heinz Endowments. Full report can be accessed here:https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WyMLVf_eQ3K3PXEV72xpOS1V3Vicbudf/view