Ag Solar Easements For Review
California Department of Conservation (DOC) TODAY released draft regulations
for the creation of solar use easements on agricultural land, beginning an
official public comment period. Approval of the draft by the Office of
Administrative Law starts a one-year clock for DOC to institute the
goal is to move more quickly and to adopt these regulations prior to November
30, 2013 so that they will go into effect at the start of 2014,” said John
Lowrie, who heads DOC’s Division of Land Resource Protection. “Having these
regulations in place will help the state reach its renewable energy goals.”
has adopted a number of goals and strategies to encourage the production of
electricity from renewable resources and thereby reduce the production of
greenhouse gasses. One of those strategies is to encourage the use of
photovoltaic energy to produce electricity. It has been estimated that
photovoltaic panels will need to be installed on 100,000 or more acres of land
to meet the 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets.
has some of the world’s most productive and diverse agricultural land in the
world,” Lowrie said. “The Division of Land Resource Protection’s primary goal
is to conserve these resources. However, many of the same attributes that make
land useful as farmland -- such as an abundance of sun and flat, wide open
spaces -- make the land attractive to the developers of photovoltaic
facilities. These regulations will both ensure the best farmland continues to
be protected and define a path for the creation of needed solar facilities.”
618 (Senator Lois Wolk), signed by Governor Brown in October 2011, encourages
the development of photovoltaic facilities on marginal and impaired farmland by
creating solar-use easements. Under certain circumstances – with approval
from DOC in consultation with the Department of Food and Agriculture -- a
Williamson Act contract can be rescinded in order for property to
simultaneously enter into a solar-use easement. In most cases, the
easement will require that the land be used for solar photovoltaic facilities
for a term of no less than 20 years.
rulemaking clarifies the responsibilities of landowners and project proponents
hoping to create a solar-use easement; defines the roles of local jurisdictions
and the department in processing proposals and applications; and establishes a
fee structure for project review.
this time, no public hearing has been scheduled concerning the proposed
regulations. Any interested person may request a public hearing; he or
she must do so no later than September 15, 2013. Requests can be sent to
Lowrie’s attention by FAX at (916) 327-3430 or email at email@example.com.
Written comments also may be submitted by those methods; the written comment
period closes at 5 p.m. on September 30.
Labels: cal Ag today, California Department of Conservation, John Lowrie, Land Resource Protection, SB 618, Senator Lois Wolk, solar easements