Renewable Energy - Overview
The Renewable Energy Ordinance (REO) was adopted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on December 13, 2016, and becomes effective on January 12, 2017. The final ordinance is available here.
The REO updates the County’s planning and zoning code for the review and permitting of solar and wind energy projects. The ordinance helps California meet its goals for renewable energy generation and greenhouse gas reduction, while minimizing environmental and community impacts.
The purpose and goals of the REO include:
- Incentivizing small-scale and structure-mounted projects through a streamlined review process, thereby reducing dependence on ground-mounted utility-scale projects; and
- Regulating ground-mounted utility-scale projects to better address community concerns and minimize environmental impacts.
The REO incentivizes small-scale solar and wind projects that generate energy for on-site use, and structure-mounted projects such as on rooftops and over parking lots. The ordinance accomplishes this by establishing a simplified, streamlined permitting process. Encouraging distributed generation reduces dependence on ground-mounted utility-scale projects as sources for renewable energy.
The REO provides comprehensive regulations for ground-mounted utility-scale solar facilities, which reflect the need for careful review of these projects in order to minimize environmental and community impacts. These requirements include placing transmission lines underground and incorporating measures designed to minimize fugitive dust.
The standards and conditions established by the REO, along with existing processes and policies, will give the County the tools to effectively regulate utility-scale projects, while providing clear expectations to applicants and the public on project outcomes.
In addition, the REO prohibits ground-mounted utility-scale solar facilities in the Significant Ecological Areas (SEAs) and Economic Opportunity Areas (EOAs) designated in the County’s General Plan and Antelope Valley Area Plan. Utility-scale wind facilities are prohibited in all zones and areas within the unincorporated County.