In previous commentary, we discussed the opening of Department of Defense lands to renewable energy development, as well as some of the difficulties that may be encountered in developing on or near military lands. Notwithstanding technical and national security considerations, renewable energy development on or near Department of Defense lands appears to be steaming full speed ahead.
The Department of the Navy recently entered into its second memorandum of agreement this year to develop renewable wind energy near Naval Air Station Kingsville, bringing the total number of wind turbines proposed to be constructed in the area to over 180. The Riviera I wind project MOA and the Petronila wind project MOA provide a useful template for developers who are contemplating development on Department of Defense lands. The MOAs contain the following similarities:
- A provision for funding of mitigation measures related to wind turbine operations and compatibility, along with specification of various mitigation measures
- Agreement to participate in a working group composed of Navy officials, wind energy developers, and other stakeholders, including state and local government officials
- Agreement by the DoD and Navy not to object to the project
- Provisions regarding curtailment of wind turbine operations
- Provisional identification of specific locations of wind turbines
DoD’s support for renewable energy is widely recognized as a national security imperative and provides substantial opportunities for growth in terms of alternative forms of fuel and energy generation. But there are currently no requirements for “formal or enforceable early notification” to military bases that may be impacted by renewable energy development, but due to some siting problems, some military officials have asked Congress to require the involvement of nearby base officials in the planning process. Given the unique technical and national security considerations that will be involved in many projects developed on or near Defense lands, developers should consider voluntarily consulting with DoD relatively early in the development process.