Dear Representative Inslee:
We are writing to express our strong support for three amendments you are planning to offer during the markup of the amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act (CLEAR Act), on July 14, 2010. We support your amendment to allow the grandfathering of all projects that have submitted applications for either a permit to install a measuring device or to construct a project as of July 1, 2010.
This amendment will help ensure that renewable energy developers are not put at a disadvantage during the move toward competitive leasing as a result in delays in processing applications that are currently pending. It is important to send a signal to developers and the financial community that investments made to date will be respected under any new system.
We also support your amendment to establish an Office of Renewable Energy Development within the Bureau of Energy and Resource Management created by Title I of the bill. The development process, economics and other aspects of renewable energy projects are different than the oil and gas projectswith which agency staff are most familiar. Maintaining a distinct effort to develop and focus expertise in renewable energy permitting, continuing along the lines of the Renewable Energy Coordination Offices (RECOs) supported by both the prior Administration and the current administration, is critical to responsibly deploying renewable energy in a timely manner.
Finally, we support your amendment to condition the beginning of a competitive leasing process on a determination that renewable resources are competitive with fossil-fueled generation. The costs of wind and solar generation are coming down significantly. We are concerned that moving to competitive leasing is likely to raise the cost of producing wind and solar power on public lands, which would offset some of the progress that has been made.
Thank you for your continued leadership efforts on policies to deploy renewable energy.
President & CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association
CEO, American Wind Energy Association