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wo_2709.11_70.doc - USDA Forest Service

     2709.11_70 Page 1 of 31

     FOREST SERVICE HANDBOOK

    NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS (WO)

    WASHINGTON, DC

    FSH 2709.11 SPECIAL USES HANDBOOK

    CHAPTER 70 WIND ENERGY USES

Amendment No.: 2709.11-2011-7

Effective Date: August 4, 2011

Duration: This amendment is effective until superseded or removed.

Approved: JAMES M. PEÑA Date Approved: 08/02/2011

     Associate Deputy Chief, NFS

    Posting Instructions: Amendments are numbered consecutively by handbook number and calendar year. Post by document; remove the entire document and replace it with this amendment. Retain this transmittal as the first page(s) of this document. The last amendment to this handbook was 2709.11-2011-6 to 2709.11_40.

    2709.11_70 31 Pages New Document

     Superseded Document(s) by

    Issuance Number and

    Effective Date

Digest:

    70 Establishes new chapter and title, “Wind Energy Uses,” and sets forth direction on authority, objectives, responsibility, definitions, and references for use in authorizing wind energy uses on National Forest System lands.

    71 Establishes code and caption, “Types of Wind Energy Permits,” and sets forth direction on the purpose for issuing each type of permit.

    72 through 72.31e Establishes codes and captions and sets forth the procedures for screening wind energy proposals.

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    FSH 2709.11 SPECIAL USES HANDBOOK

    CHAPTER 70 WIND ENERGY USES

Digest--Continued:

    73 through 73.23 Establishes codes and captions and sets forth direction on the application requirements and considerations that should be made during preparation of wind energy applications.

    74 through 74.5 Establishes codes and captions and sets forth direction on the requirements for processing wind energy applications.

    75 through 75.22 Establishes codes and captions and sets forth direction on testing and feasibility permits (sec. 75.1), including types of permits (sec. 75.11) and monitoring requirements for those permits, and permits for construction and operation of a wind energy facility (sec. 75.2), including pre-authorization requirements (sec. 75.21).

    76 through 76.3 Establishes codes and captions and provides direction on the calculation of land use fees for different types of wind energy permits.

    77 through 77.3 Establishes codes and captions and sets forth direction on administration of wind energy permits, including construction (sec. 77.3) and operational (sec. 77.4) requirements. Also provides direction on site restoration upon discontinuation of an authorized use (sec. 77.5).

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    FSH 2709.11 SPECIAL USES HANDBOOK

    CHAPTER 70 WIND ENERGY USES

    Table of Contents

    70.1 Authority ......................................................................................................................5 70.2 Objectives.....................................................................................................................5 70.4 Responsibility ...............................................................................................................5 70.5 Definitions ....................................................................................................................5 70.6 References ....................................................................................................................6 71 TYPES OF WIND ENERGY PERMITS ................................................................... 7 72 WIND ENERGY PROPOSALS ............................................................................... 8 72.1 Pre-Proposal Meetings ..................................................................................................8 72.2 Screening of Proposals..................................................................................................9 72.21 Siting Considerations ..............................................................................................9 72.21a Recreational and Scenery Considerations ............................................................ 10 72.21b Community Tourism Considerations ................................................................... 10 72.21c Public Access Considerations .............................................................................. 10 72.21d Species of Management Concern ........................................................................ 11 72.21e Historic Properties and Cultural Considerations ................................................... 11 73 WIND ENERGY APPLICATIONS ......................................................................... 11 73.1 Application Requirements for All Wind Energy Permits ............................................. 11 73.2 Application Requirements for Site Testing and Feasibility Permits ............................. 12 73.3 Application Requirements for Permits for Construction and Operation of a Wind

    Energy Facility .......................................................................................................... 12 73.31 Study Plan............................................................................................................. 12 73.32 Plan of Development ............................................................................................. 13 73.33 Site Plan................................................................................................................ 15 73.4 Resource Considerations ............................................................................................. 16 73.4a Species of Management Concern ........................................................................... 16 73.4b Scenery Management ............................................................................................ 18 73.4c Noise Management................................................................................................ 19 73.4d Lighting ................................................................................................................ 19 73.5 Public Outreach .......................................................................................................... 20 74 REQUIREMENTS FOR PROCESSING WIND ENERGY APPLICATIONS .......... 20 74.1 Environmental Analysis .............................................................................................. 20 74.2 Applications Involving Lands under the Jurisdiction of Multiple Federal Agencies ..... 20 74.3 Proprietary Information .............................................................................................. 21 74.4 Change in Ownership or Control of an Applicant ........................................................ 21 74.5 Cost Recovery Requirements ...................................................................................... 21 75 WIND ENERGY PERMITS .................................................................................... 21 75.1 Site Testing and Feasibility Permits ............................................................................ 21 75.11 Site Testing and Feasibility Studies ....................................................................... 22 75.12 Determination of Competitive Interest................................................................... 23 75.13 Site Testing and Feasibility Permit Form ............................................................... 24 75.2 Permits for Construction and Operation of a Wind Energy Facility ............................. 24

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    75.21 Pre-Authorization Requirements ........................................................................... 24

    75.22 Authorization of Wind Energy Facilities ............................................................... 26 76 LAND USE FEES .................................................................................................. 27 76.1 Land Use Fees for Site Testing and Feasibility Permits ............................................... 27 76.2 Land Use Fees for Permits for Construction and Operation of a Wind Energy Facility 28 76.3 Land Use Fee Updates ................................................................................................ 29 77 ADMINISTRATION OF WIND ENERGY PERMITS .............................................. 29 77.1 General Administration............................................................................................... 29 77.2 Inspections ................................................................................................................. 29 77.3 Construction Requirements ......................................................................................... 30 77.4 Operational Requirements .......................................................................................... 30 77.5 Site Restoration Upon Discontinuation of the Authorized Use .................................... 31

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    FSH 2709.11 SPECIAL USES HANDBOOK

    CHAPTER 70 WIND ENERGY USES

    This chapter provides direction regarding the authorization of wind energy uses on National Forest System (NFS) lands. General requirements and direction for special use proposals, applications, and permits apply to the authorization of wind energy land uses. See 36 CFR part 251, Subpart B, and FSH 2709.11, chapter 10. The direction in this chapter supplements general special use requirements, including requirements for the screening of proposals and the evaluation of applications.

    70.1 Authority

    Section 501(a)(4) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), 43 U.S.C. 1761(a)(4) (FSM 2701.1, para. 15) authorizes the Forest Service to issue rights-of-way for the use and occupancy of NFS lands for generation, transmission, and distribution of electric energy. FLPMA contains provisions for reimbursement of administrative costs and collection of land use fees based on fair market value (43 U.S.C. 1764(g)).

    70.2 Objectives

    The Energy Policy Act of 2005 recognizes the Forest Service’s role in meeting the renewable energy goals of the United States. Consistent with Agency policies and procedures, the use and occupancy of NFS lands for alternative energy production, such as wind energy development, are appropriate and will help meet the energy needs of the United States. The directives provide consistent guidance and adequate analyses for evaluating wind energy proposals and applications for issuing wind energy permits. For additional objectives regarding wind energy facilities, see FSM 2726.02a.

    70.4 Responsibility

For responsibility regarding wind energy facilities, see FSM 2726.04.

For responsibility for NFS roads, see FSM 7700 and 7730.

    70.5 Definitions

    Cultural Resource. A product or location of human activity, occupation, or use

    identifiable through field survey, historical documentation, or oral evidence, including

    prehistoric, archaeological, and architectural sites and structures, historic properties,

    sacred sites and objects, and traditional cultural properties.

    Historic Property. Any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object

    included or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, including

    artifacts, records, and remains that are related to and located within these properties.

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    Minimum Area Permit. A land use authorization of up to 5 acres for the construction, operation, and removal of a meteorological tower (MET) or measuring instrument that is necessary for the appropriate study and evaluation of the wind resource. Nacelle. A cover installed to protect the major components of a wind turbine, which are typically a generator and gearbox.

    Plan of Development. A document describing a proposed wind energy facility, including planned construction, operation, and decommissioning.

    Project Area Permit. A land use authorization of more than 5 acres for the construction, operation, and removal of multiple METs or measuring instruments that are necessary for the appropriate study and evaluation of the wind resource.

    Site Plan. A scaled, two-dimensional graphic representation of the location of all proposed wind turbines, buildings, service areas, roads, structures, and other elements of a wind energy facility that are displayed in relationship to existing site features, such as topography, major vegetation, water bodies, and constructed elements. Species of Management Concern. Federally listed threatened and endangered species;

    species that are candidates for listing as threatened or endangered; Forest Service sensitive species (FSM 2670), species of high public interest and State protected species. String. A series of three or more wind turbines oriented in close proximity to one another that are usually positioned in a line, such as along a ridgeline.

    70.6 References

    The following references contain useful information regarding wind energy facilities: 1. American Wind Energy Association. 2008. Wind Energy Siting Handbook. http://www.awea.org/sitinghandbook/.

    2. Avian Power Line Interaction Committee. 1994. “Mitigating Bird Collisions with

    Power Lines: The State of the Art in 1994.” Edison Electric Institute, Washington, D.C.

    78 pp.

    3. Avian Power Line Interaction Committee. 1996 (reprinted 2000). “Suggested Practices for Raptor Protection on Power Lines: The State of the Art in 1996.” Edison

    Electric Institute/Raptor Research Foundation, Washington, D.C. 125 pp. 4. Bureau of Land Management, Instruction Memorandum No. 2005-069, “Interim

    Offsite Compensatory Mitigation for Oil, Gas, Geothermal and Energy Right-of-Way Permits,” 2005.

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    5. Bureau of Land Management. 2005. Final Environmental Impact Statement on Wind Energy Development on BLM-Administered Lands in the Western United States. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Washington, D.C. 6. Bureau of Land Management. 2008. Instruction Memorandum No. 2009-043, “Wind

    Energy Development Policy.

    7. Gipe, Paul B. “Design As If People Matter: Aesthetic Guidelines for the Wind Industry,” Proceedings of the International Workshop on Wind Energy and Landscape, C. F. Ratto and G. Solari (ed.). Rotterdam: A. A. Balkema, 1998.

    8. Gipe, Paul B. “Design As If People Mattered: Aesthetic Guidelines for a Wind Power Future.”

    9. Wind Power in View: Energy Landscapes in a Crowded World. M. J. Pasqualetti, et al. (ed.). New York: Academic Press, 2002.

    10. http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dcs/policy/visual2000.pdf. New York State

    Department of Environmental Conservation, The DEC Policy System, “Assessing and Mitigating Visual Impacts,” 2000.

    11. Kunz, Thomas H.; Arnett, Edward B.; Cooper, Brain M.; Erickson, Wallace P.; Larkin, Ronald P.; Mabee, Todd; Morrison, Michael L.; Strickland, M. Dale; Szewezak, Joseph M. 2007. “Assessing Impacts of Wind-Energy Development on Nocturnally

    Active Birds and Bats: A Guidance Document.” Journal of Wildlife Management 71(8).

    2449-2486pp.

    12. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2011. Draft Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines and Draft Eagle Conservation Plan.

    71 TYPES OF WIND ENERGY PERMITS

    There are two types of permits for wind energy uses: site testing and feasibility permits and

    permits for construction and operation of a wind energy facility.

    1. Site testing and feasibility permits (sec. 75.1). These permits are issued for the

    installation, operation, and removal of METs or other instruments to gather data regarding the wind resource and to determine the feasibility of producing wind energy. A site testing and feasibility permit may be issued for up to 5 years. There are two types of site testing and feasibility permits: minimum area permits and project area permits. 2. Construction and operation permit (sec. 75.2). These permits are issued for the

    construction, operation, and removal of a wind energy facility. Proponents must establish the feasibility of successfully producing wind energy within a proposed project area

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    before they may be issued a construction and operation permit for that area. The

    feasibility of a project is usually established through the analysis of data collected during

    the tenure of a site testing and feasibility permit. A permit for construction and operation

    of a wind energy facility may be issued for up to 30 years.

    Environmental analyses for each type of wind energy permit should address only the proposed land use under consideration for authorization by the permit and connected actions essential to enabling that use. For example, environmental review of a permit for site testing and feasibility should address the environmental consequences of the installation, operation, and removal of METs or other instruments necessary for study of the wind resource. Connected actions for a permit for the construction and operation of a wind energy facility might include reconstruction of an NFS road to accommodate oversized vehicles needed to move wind turbine components and construction of a power line to connect the proposed site with the existing energy grid.

    Section 72 provides guidance regarding proposals for wind energy permits. Section 73 addresses applications for wind energy permits. Section 74 provides guidance on processing applications for wind energy permits. Section 77 addresses administration of wind energy permits. 72 WIND ENERGY PROPOSALS

This section applies to all proposals for wind energy permits.

    72.1 Pre-Proposal Meetings

    1. Ensure proponents of wind energy projects contact the Forest Service, as described in

    36 CFR 251.54(a), as early as possible before submission of a proposal.

    2. Use the pre-proposal meeting to:

    a. Explain the process for screening proposals and processing applications, including

    the authority of the Forest Service to allow compatible uses of NFS lands within a

    permit area.

    b. Identify potential issues and possible conflicts, including impacts on natural and

    cultural resources, such as sacred sites and other areas used for tribal traditional and

    cultural purposes, treaty and reserved rights, and conflicts with recreational use.

    c. Identify environmental or cultural resource studies and analyses that may be

    required.

    d. Assess public interest and likely concerns.

    e. Discuss other potential locations for wind energy production.

    f. Discuss the financial obligations that a proponent must assume.

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    g. Clarify expectations for coordination and consultation with tribal governments,

    State agencies, and Federal agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the

    National Marine Fisheries Service, the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Homeland

    Security (DHS), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the National

    Weather Service.

    72.2 Screening of Proposals

    To screen proposals for site testing and feasibility permits and proposals for construction and operation of wind energy facilities, refer to 36 CFR 251.54(e) and Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 2709.11, sections 12.2 and 12.3. These references describe the screening process and nine criteria to be used in screening special use proposals.

    Deny proposals for wind energy facilities in wilderness areas and wilderness study areas; in wild and scenic rivers; at national historic sites; on National Historic or National Scenic Trails; in other special areas where Federal law precludes land use for wind energy production; and in areas authorized for use by DoD or one of its agencies, unless DOD concurs with siting wind energy facilities at that location.

    Proposals for wind energy facilities may be denied in areas where DoD, DHS, FAA, or the National Weather Service expresses substantial concern that a proposed wind energy facility would adversely impact national security, military readiness or suitability of training areas, radar and electronic security, or safety of military or civilian airspace and mitigation for the concern is not possible.

    72.21 Siting Considerations

    Wind turbines are generally installed individually, in clusters, or in strings along ridgelines where the wind is sufficient and consistent enough to warrant investment in facilities for energy production. Electricity produced by wind turbines will likely require a generation substation and transmission lines to carry it to a power grid. Other facilities may be required for access, construction, operation, and maintenance of a wind energy facility.

    In making the long-term management decision to authorize wind energy uses, consider the public benefit for energy and the current and future needs of the Nation, local community and the Forest Service.

    Ensure that wind energy proposals are consistent or can be made consistent with the applicable land management plan (36 CFR 251.54(e)(1)(ii)). Follow procedures for special uses management policy in FSM 2700.

    Apply the following siting considerations in conducting initial and second-level screening of wind energy proposals (36 CFR 251.54(e)(1) and (e)(5)). Chapter 3 of the 2007 American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Handbook, the 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Draft Land-

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Based Wind Energy Guidelines, and “Assessing Impacts of Wind-Energy Development on

    Nocturnally Active Birds and Bats: A Guidance Document” contain additional useful recommendations and factors regarding siting of wind energy facilities. 72.21a Recreational and Scenery Considerations

    Recreational settings and experiences and scenery valued by the public are important siting considerations.

    1. Use the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) (FSM 2311.1) to identify the

    recreational activities, settings, and facilities in the area proposed for a wind energy

    project.

    2. Consider how recreational settings may be affected by:

    a. Noise and lighting impacts and

    b. Dust or air quality impacts during construction or maintenance.

    3. Consider how ROS classes may be modified by road construction and increased

    recreational use.

    4. Strive to maintain the ROS characteristics of the proposed area, including the setting,

    views, number of motorized access routes, and remoteness.

    5. Use the Scenery Management System (SMS) (FSM 2380) to assess the value of

    scenery in the project area, the experience it provides relative to competing resource

    demands, and the impacts on scenery from project construction and operation. 72.21b Community Tourism Considerations

    1. Where possible and to the extent practicable, manage wind energy uses to protect

    community tourism values associated with natural scenery, recreation settings, wildlife

    viewing, fishing, and cultural resources.

    2. Consider the effects of wind energy uses on tourism values and communities,

    including opportunities to enhance tourism.

    72.21c Public Access Considerations

    Consider the effects of wind energy uses on public access via roads, trails, and waterways. Review road management objectives for NFS roads and trail management objectives for NFS trails (FSM 7714). Consider the effect of traffic on NFS roads and NFS trails for wind energy

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