Dear Representative Markey,
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) are writing to express our strong support for your amendment to replace the existing requirement to move toward competitive leasing and royalty payments in Title V of H.R. 3534, the CLEAR Act, with language to establish a pilot leasing program for solar and wind electricity resources on public lands.
H.R. 3534 establishes a system of competitive leasing and royalty payments for the use of public lands by wind and solar electricity generation projects. We believe that this approach will lengthen and complicate the siting of wind and solar projects on public lands, thus increasing costs. Consequently, itis AWEA and SEIA’s preference that the current right of way system under which developers make rent payments at fair market prices be maintained for the foreseeable future.
Nevertheless, SEIA and AWEA support your amendment to establish a wind and solar leasing pilot program as an alternative to the near-term transition required in the underlying text. Under the amendment, competitive leasing and royalties are established for a limited number of sites on a trial basis. Based on the actual experience of the pilot program, as well as a National Academy of Sciences study, the Secretary of Interior is authorized to require competitive leasing and royalties if it is determined to be in the public interest.
AWEA and SEIA believe that the pilot program approach in the Markey amendment will help assure that any future decision regarding the establishment of competitive leasing and royalties for the use of public lands for wind and solar power development is fully informed by the facts. This, in turn, will greatly facilitate the environmentally responsible development of wind and solar electricity resources on public lands and will make a major contribution to our nation’s clean energy future. As always, thank you for your leadership.
President & CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association
CEO, American Wind Energy Association