Northwest Land Matters

Northwest Land Matters

Developments in Energy, Natural Resources & Environmental, Real Estate, and Land Use Law in the Pacific NW

Category Archives: Energy Efficiency/Sustainability

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Tidal-power License Issued for Snohomish County PUD

Posted in Energy, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Environmental
On March 20th, Van Ness Feldman client, Snohomish County PUD, received a long-awaited license by the federal government to construct the world’s first grid-connected, tidal-energy project using underwater turbines to produce electricity. “Tidal energy offers enormous potential as a renewable energy supply.  This Federal license represents a key milestone in the effort to develop the… Continue Reading

Federal Funding Opportunities for Natural Resources, Agriculture, Alternative Energy, Water, and Energy Efficiency

Posted in Development, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Environmental, Land Use, Land Use Planning, Municipal, Water Law
Six opportunities totaling over $16.25 million in federal financial assistance were released this week, soliciting proposals in the major program areas of: Agriculture Alternative and Renewable Energy Energy Efficiency Public Lands and Natural Resources Water Van Ness Feldman’s Federal Funding Resource Center is an online information tool designed to inform our clients and friends about key energy-,… Continue Reading

Federal Government Releases Roadmap for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands

Posted in Development, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Environmental, Land Use, Land Use Planning
The Department of the Interior, in partnership with the Department of Energy, will publish the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for solar energy development in six southwestern states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Key elements include: an initial set of 17 Solar Energy Zones on 285,000 acres across 6 Western States; a process… Continue Reading

BLM Releases Draft Impact Management Plans and Design Criteria for Solar Projects

Posted in Climate Change, Development, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Environmental, Land Use
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages approximately 264 million acres of Federal lands around the country, has issued two draft documents in support of BLM’s recent push to expedite permitting of utility-scale solar power projects in six Southwestern states.  One of the documents is a set of standard design criteria for solar projects,… Continue Reading

Domestic Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increased in 2010

Posted in Climate Change, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability
The EPA has published the final version of its latest Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, covering trends in domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sequestration between 1990 and 2010.  Despite trends to “Go Green,” the report found that U.S. emissions totaled 6,822 million metric tons CO2-equivalent in 2010, a 3.2% increase relative… Continue Reading

Van Ness Feldman Launches Federal Funding Resource Center

Posted in Climate Change, Development, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Environmental, Land Use, Municipal
We are pleased to announce the launch of our Federal Funding Resource Center – – an online information tool designed to inform our clients and friends about key energy-, environment-, and resource-related federal funding opportunities across a range of federal agencies including the Departments of Energy, Defense, Agriculture, and the Interior. The Federal Funding… Continue Reading

Bipartisan Duo Introduce Homeowner Energy Efficiency Bill

Posted in Energy Efficiency/Sustainability
Congressmen David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced H.R. 4230, the “Home Owner Managing Energy Savings Act” (HOMES Act).  H.R. 4230 would provide rebates to homeowners who invest in energy efficiency improvements.  Under the bill, a homeowner who achieves 20 percent energy savings will receive a $2,000 rebate and for every 5 percent in… Continue Reading

Gov. Gregoire Expands Definition of Renewable Energy

Posted in Energy Efficiency/Sustainability
The measure makes electricity produced from older biomass facilities, such as pulp mills, eligible for the state’s renewable energy mandate.  Passed in 2006, I-937 requires nearly a third of the state’s utilities, those with at least 25,000 customers, to build toward getting 15 percent of their power from wind, solar, geothermal and certain woody biomass by… Continue Reading

New Report Collects Research on Designing Buildings to Resist Climate Change Impacts

Posted in Climate Change, Development, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability
A comprehensive new report by the U.S. Green Building Council and University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning evaluates research on the likely impacts of climate change on the built environment, and identifies strategies for adapting to those impacts while upholding sustainable design principles.  Among other things, the report notes that most buildings… Continue Reading

Model Ordinance for Municipal Solar Siting

Posted in Climate Change, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Municipal
Columbia Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law has prepared a first draft of a model small-scale solar-siting ordinance. The model ordinance offers a framework that can enable municipalities to implement and enforce the effective and efficient use of solar energy resources. The ordinance would govern all new solar energy systems of up to ten… Continue Reading

Delay In Alternative Fuel Requirements for Public Vehicles

Posted in Electric Vehicles, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Environmental
The 2011 legislature passed ESHB 1478 (Laws of 2011, Ch. 353), effective July 22, 2011, which delays a variety of requirements that apply to cities, counties, and the state.  One requirement of interest that is related to electric vehicles is a 3 year delay in the requirement for publicly owned vessels, vehicles, and construction equipment… Continue Reading

Angering Drivers, All Part of The Master Plan?

Posted in Development, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Land Use, Land Use Planning, Municipal
A recent New York Times article raises some interesting questions about how US cities might tackle increasing traffic congestion and subsequent pollution—by following the urban planning of many European cities, where trends are to make driving as irritating as possible, thereby almost forcing individuals to choose public transportation.  Interesting concept—plan a city/development around people NOT cars.  … Continue Reading

Washington Will Have Nation’s First Electric Highway

Posted in Electric Vehicles, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability
The Washington State Department of Commerce and WSDOT are teaming up to implement the nation’s first “electric highway,” a basic network of public access electric vehicle (EV) recharging locations along Interstate 5. Once implemented, Washington will have the first border to border highway to offer fast charge technology. The project supports the West Coast Green Highway… Continue Reading

Zoning Codes and Renewable Energy: Anticipating Small-Scale Wind and Solar Energy Installations

Posted in Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Environmental, Land Use, Municipal
A recent post, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, commented on a not too surprising gap in the City of Seattle’s land use codes that did not specifically address construction of a 200-foot tall ferris wheel.  While local governments probably don’t need to run out and amend their local codes to address ferris wheels specifically, another developing trend in local… Continue Reading

Smart Growth = Better Bottom Line?

Posted in Development, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Growth Management Act, Land Use, Land Use Planning
This month the Center for Clean Air Policy released a study Growing Wealthier: Smart Growth, Climate Change and Prosperity which argues that “smart growth” can lead to economic gains by the private sector, governments, and local citizens . “Smart growth” describes development that reduces suburban sprawl, makes efficient use of public utilities, and fosters mixed-use and… Continue Reading

Seattle’s Urban Farm and Community Garden Code Takes Effect

Posted in Energy Efficiency/Sustainability
Today, the City of Seattle’s new land use code governing urban farming and community gardens takes effect allowing “urban farms” and “community gardens” in all zones providing some limitations in industrial zones, and giving residents the ability to sell food grown on their property.  As jurisdictions become increasingly committed to sustainability as a public policy, measures such… Continue Reading

New Energy Efficiency Laws Benefit Building Owners and Tenants

Posted in Energy Efficiency/Sustainability
Jessica Green of Brightworks also contributed to this post. The State of Washington and the City of Seattle are passing new laws and ordinances to increase energy efficiency.  In particular, the Washington State Building Code Council adopted changes to the Washington State Energy Code to require building owners to achieve additional energy efficiency.  Public hearings… Continue Reading