The recently announced Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) invests over $360 billion in clean energy over the next ten years and includes an agreement to implement comprehensive permitting reforms focused on renewable energy projects. While the legislation has not yet passed, and the finer details of the changes are not fully available, proactive efforts to recognize and plan for its likely impacts will position renewable energy developers to act successfully upon new opportunities. With expertise in scenic resource management, visual impact assessments, and environmental permitting, Saratoga Associates has years of experience delivering proven results across all stages of environmental review.
Crucially for renewable projects, the IRA includes significant reform to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Major project reviews now have a maximum timeline of two years, while lower-impact projects must be reviewed within one year, reducing the risk of project overruns and bureaucratic delays. To better streamline the review process, a single inter-agency environmental review document will be required and used for concurrent agency review – further accelerating project approval. Ensuring that the environmental review process is not tied up in endless litigation, the bill requires that if a federal court remands or vacates a permit for energy infrastructure, the agency under remand must now act within 180 days, minimizing unnecessary delays. Off-shore wind especially benefits from the IRA, which will lift the moratorium that exists on offshore wind across the Southeastern U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico, potentially allowing access to wind energy in areas beyond the Outer Continental Shelf. Coupled with this move is increased funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), including $20 million allocated to expediting the permitting and review process.
The final form of the bill remains in flux, with procedural hurdles remaining for many provisions, and amendments likely to occur on the floor. It is clear, however, that the bill’s impact will stretch far beyond permitting, reshaping the development of clean energy projects in significant ways. While it may not be immediately apparent how these changes will affect your firm, Saratoga Associates is here to help you navigate any stage of the process, from community outreach to permitting.
Saratoga Associates’ Visual Assessment and Scenic Resource Management studio offers services for a variety of project types including renewable energy, traditional power generation and transmission systems, industrial, land and natural resource management, residential, and transportation projects. These services include:
- Impact Assessment/Regulatory Compliance
- Project Visualization (simulation + animation)
- Night Lighting/Shadow Analysis
- Zone of Visual Influence (Viewshed) Mapping
- Mitigation Strategies
- Public Outreach
- Land Use and Zoning Policy, Standards + Guidelines
- Expert Testimony
Saratoga Associates Landscape Architects, Architects, Engineers, and Planners, P.C. is a multi-disciplinary, professional design firm with over 40 years of experience providing landscape architecture, architecture, engineering, and planning services throughout the Northeast.