Protected: Clean Energy Permitting Reform (new)

Let’s Reform America’s Clean Energy Permitting Process

We need to speed up the pace at which we build and connect new clean energy projects ⚡️

cut out image of a solar panel on a blue background

The Benefits of Clean Energy Permitting Reform

✅ Necessary to meet America’s climate goals

Permitting reform is critical if we’re going to make the clean energy transition happen fast enough to meet our climate targets. If we don’t start building clean energy infrastructure faster, we will only achieve about 20% of the potential carbon pollution reduction from climate policy that is already in place (specifically, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022).

✅ Removes a backlog of clean energy projects

Most of the new infrastructure proposed in the U.S. is now for clean energy, so making permitting easier will largely benefit clean energy projects. Reports from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory find that in 2021, 85% of new energy capacity was clean energy. More than 92% of new energy projects currently awaiting permits are solar and wind, and just 7.5% are natural gas.

✅ Creates jobs in rural areas

New clean energy projects rely on building new long distance transmission lines, a process which currently takes 10 years on average. Wind and solar farms will be built in rural areas that have abundant sun and wind. These projects will bring economic benefits and jobs to those rural areas.

✅ Improves air quality in disadvantaged communities

In frontline communities, lives are already being lost due to pollution from fossil fuels. Climate policy already in place (specifically, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022) could prevent up to 180,000 premature American deaths over the next decade by reducing air pollution. Permitting reform will allow us to fully realize the potential emissions cuts from that policy. That means preventing thousands more premature deaths, mostly in disadvantaged communities near sources of pollution.

See who supports permitting reform

Senator Brian Schatz quote in favor of permitting reform

Lots of environmental activism is principled on stopping bad projects from happening. But if we're actually going tomeet our clean energy goals, we have to buld things. [...] We have to make it easier to build, especially electricity transmission. So the basic strategy for the grid is to electrify everything and then, over time, to make sure that the electrons going into the grid are increasingly clean. Well, that doesn't work if it takes 15 years to do a transmission line from the American Southwest to the American Midwest. And so we're going to have to do permitting reform. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI)

Quote by Joe Biden in support of permitting reform

[President Biden] also reiterated his desire for Congress to pass permitting reform legislation, which he said will "acclerate the development of clean energy" and improve national security. Right now, he said, securing approval for energy projects is "too cumbersome and too time consuming." He urged Congress to "pass a permitting bill to speed up the approval of all kinds of energy production from wind to solar to clean hydrogen." - As reported by E&E News (Oct. 19, 2022)

Quote by John Curtis in favor of permitting reform

We need to get Republicans and Democrats in the same room, talking about policies. Permitting reform's been brought up a number of times. We all agree, permitting reform needs to be done, and I think we can get it across the finish line. That's where I'd like to see this go. You don't have to spend money. You don't have to spend tree quarters of a trillion dollars. You name any single goal that you have dealing with energy and climate, and you cannot get there today with today's permitting laws. Rep John Curtis (UT-03), at a Utah candidate forum hosted by CCL

Quote by Tina Smith in favor of permitting reform

We need permitting reform so that wind and solar energy from rural minnesota gets to cities and towns across this country. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN)

Clean Energy Permitting Reform 101: What is permitting reform?

Just like you need a building permit to expand your home, big energy projects must get written approval from local, state, and/or federal authorities to start construction. Permitting is important, but it adds hefty time and expense to projects of all kinds. Permitting reform is critical if we’re going to make the clean energy transition happen fast enough to meet our climate targets.

What does successful clean energy permitting reform look like?

There are two key parts to successful energy permitting reform.

1. Siting/building clean energy projects

Right now, it takes an average of 4.5 years for federal agencies just to complete environmental impact statements for major energy projects. These are important assessments, but we need them to move faster and speed up the pace with which we build new clean energy projects.

2. Transmitting that clean energy across the country

In the past decade, the U.S. has expanded our electricity transmission infrastructure at a pace of just 1% per year. We’ve got to speed up the pace with which we build and connect new transmission lines. Ultimately, we need to triple our current capacity to transmit clean electricity by 2050.

What are the ethics of permitting reform?

Permitting reform will make it easier to build clean energy infrastructure, and get that clean energy to American households and businesses. Local communities must be able to have input into projects that will directly impact them.

Will permitting reform increase fossil fuel production?

Most of the new infrastructure proposed in the U.S. is now for clean energy. Reports from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory find that in 2021, just 7.5% are natural gas. So while a few new fossil fuel projects will be expedited, the vast majority of energy development projects will be much-needed investments in clean energy.

What was the Manchin permitting reform bill?

In 2022, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin introduced a bill that would speed up permitting reform in the United States. The Senate failed to add the bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill. 47 Senators voted to support the amendment, including 6 Republicans, falling short of the required 60 votes. Senator Manchin’s bill would also have sped up the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a fossil fuel project in West Virginia, which added controversy to it. Senator Manchin has vowed to continue to work towards permitting reform legislation in 2023.

How will permitting reform impact frontline communities?

Permitting reform should be done in a way that minimizes the negative health impacts from air pollution and other pollution in frontline communities, where lives are already being lost due to pollution from fossil fuels. Moving to clean energy will provide major health benefits for communities impacted by air pollution today.

How will permitting reform affect my community?

If an energy development project is proposed in your community, you should know about it and be given the opportunity to respond in a streamlined process. Permitting reform should be done in a way that empowers communities to weigh in on what projects happen in their area.