Bureaucracy trips up renewable energy projects  

Posted by Big Gav in

The San Francisco Chronicle has an article on red tape holding up renewable energy projects in California - Bureaucracy trips up renewable energy projects.

California's renewable power boom is off to a slower start than planned.

Delays have hit more than half of the big solar, wind and geothermal energy projects under development throughout the state, according to a recent government report. They're still moving forward, but not at the pace their developers expected.

As a result, California probably won't meet its goal of getting 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of 2010 - a key element of the state's fight against global warming.

In some cases, solar plants and wind farms have had difficulty lining up financing, particularly after last year's economic meltdown. Others need new transmission lines to carry their electricity to market. Some draw fire from environmentalists for their potential impact on plants and wildlife.

And for many, the process of winning government permits to begin construction has dragged on longer than expected. The local, state and federal agencies involved have been buried in applications, more than they can easily handle. Some agencies are now adding staff - a rarity in these times of constant budget cuts - to break the logjam.

"Until we solve the transmission and the permitting, it's going to be very difficult to move forward at the scale we need," said John Woolard, chief executive officer of BrightSource Energy, speaking at a renewable power conference in August.

Woolard's company, based in Oakland, is seeking state and federal approval to build large solar power plants in the Mojave Desert. "We're now 2 1/2 years into a one-year process," he said. "That's not what we need."

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