Las Vegas, NV – Continuing his work to make Nevada the leader in renewable energy, U.S. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada sent a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne today as a follow-up on the Secretary’s recent meeting with Nevada’s congressional delegation regarding wind power development in Nevada.
In the letter, Reid highlights his key priorities and urges Secretary Wynne to develop a centralized process for considering proposed wind projects.
“As a follow-up to our meeting and to highlight key priorities, I would like to address three important issues – first, the publication of several airspace maps (“stoplight map”) of Nevada and surrounding states and how the Air Force intends to utilize these maps in its process for reviewing wind power projects. The second involves the Air Force’s cooperation with the state and other agencies. The third issue is the development of a standardized, centralized process for reviewing wind power projects.”
The text of the letter is included below.
January 3, 2008
The Honorable Michael WynneSecretary, United States Air ForceSenate Liaison Office182 Russell BuildingWashington, D.C. 20510
Dear Secretary Wynne:
Thank you again for meeting with me and the rest of the Nevada congressional delegation to discuss wind power development in our state. I appreciate your time and attention to this important issue.
During our meeting, you recognized the importance of wind power to Nevada. I understood you to agree that there is a need for the Air Force, in cooperation with other Defense, Federal and State agencies and wind energy stakeholders, to develop and establish a standardized, centralized process for reviewing the impacts of proposed wind projects.
As a follow-up to our meeting and to highlight key priorities, I would like to address three important issues – first, the publication of several airspace maps (“stoplight map”) of Nevada and surrounding states and how the Air Force intends to utilize these maps in its process for reviewing wind power projects. The second involves the Air Force’s cooperation with the state and other agencies. The third issue is the development of a standardized, centralized process for reviewing wind power projects.
I am aware that the military has been working with federal and state agencies to develop stoplight maps of all Nevada, Utah and Idaho bases that could affect renewable energy development in Nevada. The military’s stoplight maps can be an important tool for efficiently reviewing wind projects. However, for the review process to be fair and effective, the state, other Federal agencies, as well as wind power developers and the public should have access to relevant military stoplight maps and an explanation of how the maps will be used in a review projects.
It is also important that stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in the development of the Air Force’s process for reviewing wind power projects. By consulting with relevant State and Federal agencies, wind developers, and utilities, and the public, I am confident that a clear, timely, and predictable process for engaging the Air Force, the Department of Defense and other Federal agencies in siting wind projects could be developed.
While such consultation could be informal or formal, as appropriate to comply with applicable laws or regulations, a working group should be formed with a plan to meet regularly until all parties agree upon and thoroughly understand the new streamlined process for reviewing new wind project sites. Specifically, this working group could:
Conduct an agency-by-agency review of existing procedures and requirements for siting new wind projects.
Develop procedures for: (1) determining what each agency’s interests are with respect to new wind projects; (2) identifying and understanding how wind projects could interfere with Air Force or other military operations; (3) utilizing stoplight maps in reviewing wind projects; and (4) determining mitigation methods that would allow the approval of wind projects.
Publish a list of mitigation strategies and technologies to ensure they are accessible to all potential wind power developers.
Finally, for this process to work efficiently, I urge you to designate a primary point of contact at Air Force, and defense-wide if possible, with the decision-making authority necessary to be responsible for the matters outlined above. This measure alone could significantly help streamline the Air Force’s review of new wind projects by ensuring that all interested parties may bring their questions to a single decisionmaker within the Air Force.
I greatly appreciate your attention to this time sensitive matter. I am hopeful that the Air Force and other stakeholders can work together to quickly develop a more consistent process that serves all sides’ interests of efficiency and predictability, and facilitates the development of Nevada’s renewable resources in the near future. Please feel free to contact me (or Chris Miller/Alex McDonough on my staff), if I can be of any assistance to you as the Air Force moves forward to develop a better and more effective process for reviewing new wind projects.
HARRY REIDUnited States Senator
cc: Senator John Ensign Representative Shelley Berkley Representative Jon Porter Representative Dean Heller Governor Jim Gibbons Ron Wenker, Director, Bureau of Land Management-Nevada Colonel Linda Medler, Hill AFB Colonel Michael L. Bartley, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada Captain Michael H. Glaser, Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station-Fallon, Nevada Major General Cindy Kirkland, Nevada National Guard Jo Ann P. Kelly, Chairwoman, Nevada Public Utilities Commission Jeneane Harter, Windpowering America Eric Witkoski, Nevada Consumer Advocate Thomas Fair, Nevada Power Michael Yackira, CEO, Sierra Pacific Resources