Project development facts


Clean energy projects must locate a site, secure financing, conduct environmental reviews, find buyers for the power, obtain permits, and communicate with local stakeholders. Getting the development process right ensures projects are profitable, have minimal environmental impact, and are embraced by the community.


The industry achieved major milestones last year, but clean energy deployment must accelerate at a more rapid pace to reach a net zero grid by 2035.

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Land-based project development

Clean energy companies are experts in finding the perfect area for new wind and solar farms and energy storage facilities. Companies must secure each of the elements below to move a project from development, through construction, and into operation.

Failure to successfully navigate any one of these issues can result in a shelved project. These steps are necessary to ensure profitable projects, happy host communities, and responsible stewardship of the land.

Adequate resources

Developers typically review several years of data to measure wind speed or solar strength and consistency at a potential location.

Community support

Developers work hand-in-hand with host communities, gaining support through outreach, engagement, and transparency.

Landowner partners

Most U.S. wind and utility-scale solar projects are located on private land, so developers work with landowners to lease land.

Wildlife & environmental studies

Developers work closely with federal and state authorities to identify and mitigate potential impacts on land and wildlife.


The wind, solar and storage industries are carefully regulated. Developers must secure proper permits from all levels of government.


Access to transmission capacity is essential. Developers use existing transmission when possible and build new infrastructure as needed.

Clean power buyers

Developers secure a utility or other entity to purchase power generated by the clean energy project, often before building it.


Investors are typically large banks that carefully review the business plan, ensuring the project is a good investment.


Before a project is built, developers plan for end-of-life equipment removal and land restoration.

An example project development timeline for renewable energy,

A sample timeline for Bureau of Ocean Management participation on an offshore wind project.

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