Renewable Energy in the Right of Way

At SSTI’s first Sustainability Directors Community of Practice meeting in June 2015, attendees discussed their states’ interest in siting solar and other renewable energy generation facilities in the highway right-of-way (ROW) but cited uncertainty regarding FHWA rules and unfamiliarity with the business side of renewable energy production as major hurdles. These conversations led SSTI to organize a workshop on the topic in January 2016, at the TRB Annual Meeting. Nine state DOT representatives from New York, Washington, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Hawaii, Virginia, and California, attended, in addition to three representatives from FHWA, one representative from FTA, one representative from the USDOT Volpe Center, and SSTI staff members. This workshop further clarified the needs and concerns of state DOTs interested in moving forward in this area.

DOTs have very limited resources available to explore projects falling outside of their core responsibility of providing safe and efficient transportation facilities. Learning from the experiences of those DOTs, and other units of government, that have already worked through issues associated with renewable energy facilities in the ROW can enable agencies embarking on these projects to save time and money, and avoid potential pitfalls.

The technical documents gathered here, under the headings below, comprise a living repository for state DOTs and others to use as examples as they develop their own ROW renewable energy projects. We will expand this repository as additional documents become available. If you or your organization are willing to share any of the technical documents related to renewable energy projects in the ROW being pursued in your state, please let us know.

Environmental Impacts
Health and Safety
Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)
Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and Similar Documents (RFIs, RFRs, RFOs, etc.)
Site Characteristics