In 2014, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) began developing the Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop (RAPID) Toolkit to act as a hub location from which users can easily and quickly access links to permit documents, processes, best practices, manuals and related information.
The RAPID Toolkit currently hosts information about bulk electricity transmission, geothermal, and solar technologies and is being expanded to include information about developing and permitting hydropower projects.
NREL personnel gave a presentation on the progress of RAPID Toolkit development during the Northwest Hydroelectric Association’s annual conference held in Portland, Ore., Feb. 16-18.
According to the agency, NREL will offer the opportunity to beta test the RAPID Toolkit during Waterpower Week in Washington, scheduled for April 25-27. NREL will release the finalized toolkit during HydroVision International 2016, scheduled for July 26-29 in Minneapolis, Minn.
NREL began development of the RAPID Toolkit with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Western Governors’ Association.
The toolkit’s goal is to facilitate better understanding and communication between project developers and permitting agency personnel, among permitting agencies at all jurisdiction levels, and with all project stakeholders–including the public.
Since its launch, the toolkit has helped provide more certainty about requirements, reduced duplicative processes, and facilitated communication among regulatory agencies and project developers. For example, in Nevada, mapping the permitting process for geothermal projects revealed water monitoring requirements at the federal, state, and local levels, and each jurisdiction had different design and reporting requirements.
Log on here to access the RAPID Toolkit, where you can contribute to the wiki-based source and view more than 500 regulatory flowcharts and supporting narratives; a NEPA database that includes more than 150 NEPA-related document sets and associated metadata; a resource library with hundreds of regulatory resources; and a best practices database.