Permitting Resources

To view permitting assistance resources for a specific renewable energy technology, please click on one of the following links.

All Technologies

Document Title Entity or Author Description
PT-1 2010 Energy Aware Facility Siting and Permitting Guide, Consultant Report California Energy Commission
This guide assists local governments with developing general plan energy and transmission elements and provides guidance on electricity generation and transmission planning and permitting. California has ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and renewable energy development targets that are spurring new energy infrastructure. The guide describes the regulations and policies (both federal and state); planning processes that define future electricity generation and transmission needs; development and permitting of renewable energy facilities in more remote locations of the state; and the transmission lines needed to access these facilities. Throughout the guide, opportunities for local government involvement in electricity infrastructure planning and permitting are presented. Examples of local government development of energy planning tools and involvement in generation and transmission planning and permitting are provided. The Energy Aware Facility Siting and Permitting Guide also describes the environmental impacts associated with developing new generation and transmission lines.
PT-2 NA Guidance Resources for Power Plants California Air Resources Board
ARB participates in the certification of power plants in California and has developed guidance and information for interested parties found on this website. The Guidance Resources for Power Plants web site contains links to power plant-related resources such as detailed guidance related to siting, best available pollution control technologies, offsets and more.
PT-3 NA Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan California Energy Commission, California Department of Fish and Game, Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Renewable Energy Action Team will provide 4 major products:
  1. Best Management Practices and Guidance Manual The Manual provides advice including 1) voluntary application preparation guidance for RE projects located on public lands in the California desert region and 2) best management practices for desert renewable energy facility permitting/pre-construction, construction, operation, repowering, or design features.
  2. Draft Conservation Strategy that clearly identifies and maps areas for renewable energy project development and areas intended for long-term natural resource conservation as a foundation for the DRECP.
  3. Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan-- a joint state and federal Natural Communities Conservation Plan and part of one or more Habitat Conservation Plans.
  4. DRECP Draft and Final joint state and federal Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement.
PT-4 2009 Re-Powering America's Land US EPA
As encouragement for renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated land and mine sites, U.S. EPA's RE-Powering America's Land Initiative webpage contains useful resources for the siting of renewable energy facilities on these lands. There is a multitude of resources including: feasibility reports, technology factsheets, the Renewable Energy Interactive Mapping Tool (Google Earth Tool), listings of incentives, success stories, and much more.

Biomass Technology

Document Title Entity or Author Description
PT-5 2010 Air Quality Guidance for Siting Biorefineries in California California Air Resources Board
This document is a best practices guidance document for stakeholders when considering the siting of biofuel production facilities in California. Identified in the report are the most current limits for air emissions from individual stationary process equipment. This document also provides general guidance on the available options for mitigating mobile source emissions associated with biorefineries.
PT-6 2011 Program Environmental Impact Report for Anaerobic Digestion Facilities Cal Recycle
To assist in the siting and permitting of anaerobic digestion facilities, under way is Cal Recycle's Program EIR for Anaerobic Digestion Facilities, which "assesses the environmental effects that may result from the development of anaerobic digestion facilities in California. The results of the Program EIR will inform future policy considerations related to anaerobic digestion facilities and provide background information on technologies, potential impacts, and mitigation measures.
PT-7 2010 Dairy Manure Digester and Co-Digester Facilities Response to Comments Document Final Program EIR California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region
This document and the draft Program EIR constitutes the Final Program EIR for dairy manure digester and co-digester facilities in the Central Valley Region. This document responds to all significant environmental points raised during the public review period of the draft Program EIR. Also listed in the text of this document are changes to the draft Program EIR as a result of the CEQA review process.

Geothermal Technology

Document Title Entity or Author Description
PT-8 2007 California Geothermal Energy Collaborative: Expanding California's Confirmed Geothermal Resources Base - Geothermal Permitting Guide California Energy Commission
This guide was "created as a reference tool for geothermal stakeholders interested in developing low temperature direct use and/or power production projects. It addresses the environmental regulatory requirements beginning after acquisition of the land and/or mineral rights. Organized by development activity, it begins with resource exploration and continues to well abandonment and project closure. No one set of standard regulations applies to geothermal projects due to the differences in land and/or mineral rights ownership, location and resource chemistry. The document contains websites and regulatory citations as statutes and regulations change."

Solar Technology

Document Title Entity or Author Description
PT-9 2007 Solar Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management
This website is the online center for public information and involvement in the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement prepared by DOE, BLM, and DOI for solar energy development in six Southwestern States (Solar Energy Development PEIS) including California. This multi-agency effort will streamline policy, programs, and plans for solar energy projects on Federal land. Contains general information, energy and transmission guide, maps, and other related information.
PT-10 NA The Vote Solar Initiative's Project: Permit The Vote Solar Initiative
Vote Solar's Project: Permit compares permitting practices and fees in cities against "best practices" on an interactive map. Also provides online toolkit for improving permitting via adopting "best practices".
PT-11 2007 Solar Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement Cal-Fire
This document was developed by state and local fire officials in cooperation with the solar industry as a guideline for safe installation of solar photovoltaic systems. "The provisions of this guideline, if adopted by the local enforcing agency by local ordinance, is meant to apply to the design, construction and installation of solar photovoltaic systems on buildings regulated by Title 24 of the California Building Standards Codes."
PT-12 NA The Solar America Board for Codes and Standards U.S. Department of Energy

The Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) is a collaborative effort among experts to formally gather and prioritize input from solar photovoltaic stakeholders including policy makers, manufacturers, installers, and consumers.

The Solar ABCs improves building codes, utility interconnection procedures, and product standards, reliability, and safety of solar PV systems.

Expedited Permit Process for PV Systems This document presents an expedited permit process that can be implemented to create a quick and easy permitting process for small-scale residential sized photovoltaic systems.

PT-13 2009 SolarTech
This document describes SolarTech's recommendation to make online application and approval of PV construction permits "interoperable;" in other words, standardize such applications across software developers and jurisdictions. In general terms, the paper also proposes to automate and streamline online applications SolarTech is an organization focused on removing technical and market barriers for solar energy.
PT-17 2012 Solar Energy Facility Permit Streamlining Guide, Model Solar Energy Facility Permit Streamlining Ordinance, and Renewable Energy Combining Zone California County Planning Directors Association
These resources provide counties and local government agencies with the market and policy drivers of solar energy facilities (SEF) development as well as regulatory options and model development standards for streamlining the permitting of SEFs while protecting sensitive land resources.

Wind Technology

Document Title Entity or Author Description
PT-14 NA Wind Powering America - Siting Wind Turbines U.S. Department of Energy
This website contains various resources on siting wind energy projects from best practices to ordinances throughout the U.S.
PT-15 NA American Wind Energy Association
Helps determine best practices for siting and in understanding permitting implications of a 2003 California law (AB 1207). Specifically, covers site considerations, key provisions in the law, model zoning ordinance and best practices, and a list of resources.
PT-16 NA California Wind Energy Collaborative
With the goals of the permitting process from county to county becoming more straightforward and to support safe, cost effective, and environmentally responsible installations of small wind systems throughout the state, the CWEC conducted two studies on small wind permitting challenges and fees. The findings were presented in the following reports: 1) Small Wind Permitting Challenges: Findings From a Survey of Small Wind Installers - Identifies barriers to installing small wind (most commonly regulation, fees, and processing time). CWEC-2009-01 2) Permitting Fees for Small Wind Turbines in California Counties - Reviews fees for 58 counties, with a recommendation for a permit fee ceiling of $1,000. CWEC-2009-02