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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

RAPID Toolkit FAQs

Learn more about the RAPID Toolkit through the answers to these frequently asked questions.

What is the RAPID Toolkit?

RAPID stands for the Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop. The RAPID Toolkit is a “one-stop shop” for permitting and siting information for bulk transmission lines and renewable energy projects and includes information and resources such as permit applications, processes, manuals, and best practices. All the information contained in the RAPID Toolkit is publicly available and kept up-to-date by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the RAPID Toolkit community of users (via crowd-sourcing).

What technologies does the RAPID Toolkit host information about? Will RAPID host other technologies in the future?

The RAPID Toolkit currently hosts information about bulk electricity transmission, geothermal, and solar technologies. Information about hydropower technologies is under development. An advantage of the RAPID Toolkit’s wiki-based platform is that information for new technologies can be easily added.

What types of information and resources will I find on the RAPID Toolkit?

The RAPID Toolkit contains the following resource tools and information for bulk electricity transmission, geothermal, and solar technologies:

  • Regulatory Flowchart Library
Details the major requirements—in topics such as siting, land access, exploration, grid connection, water access and rights, and environmental considerations—for developing renewable energy and bulk transmission projects in the U.S. Permitting processes required by states, the U.S. Department of Interior, and the U.S. Forest Service are included, with more to be added in the future.
  • Reference Library
Includes a collection of links to regulatory and permitting resources—including permit applications, guidance, manuals, tools, regulations, and rules—that are available on other websites.
  • Best Practices
Includes helpful information such as descriptions, case studies, templates, and how-to information for efficiently permitting renewable energy and bulk transmission projects.
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Database
Includes a collection of document sets and details from previously conducted NEPA analyses that can be used to inform future analyses.

Who funded the RAPID Toolkit?

The U.S. Department of Energy provided funding to partners including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Western Governors’ Association.

Who developed the platform?

The RAPID Toolkit is hosted on the OpenEI platform, an internationally supported wiki platform for crowd-sourced energy information that is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and reegle. Learn more about OpenEI.

What is OpenEI? What is the difference between OpenEI and RAPID?

OpenEI is a wiki-based platform that hosts energy information. Users can view, edit, add, and download data for free. The RAPID Toolkit is a set of information resources and tools that is hosted on OpenEI’s wiki-based platform, with a particular focus on the siting and permitting of bulk transmission, geothermal, hydropower, and solar technologies (with others coming soon). Learn more about OpenEI.

Who developed the initial content in the RAPID Toolkit?

Content in the RAPID Toolkit was initially developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Tetra Tech with direction from the Western Governors’ Association and funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. Content was developed in close consultation with state, federal, industry, and nongovernmental stakeholders. Additional outreach and stakeholder engagement support was provided by Kearns and West and Environmental Management and Planning Solutions Inc. Herrick Solutions provided legal review.

How do I know if content is up-to-date?

The RAPID Toolkit is a wiki and relies on the user community to update information. You can click the History button on any RAPID Toolkit page to see the dates and times of each revision. Individual state regulatory information is included in the RAPID Toolkit as hyperlinks to state-maintained Web resources.

Who is responsible for managing the RAPID Toolkit now?

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is still in the process of actively developing content for the RAPID Toolkit and curating previously developed content. In addition, the RAPID Toolkit uses a wiki-based platform and allows the user community to monitor, edit, and update information as needed. Additionally, agencies and other users receive update notifications when changes are submitted to pages they select to monitor. A periodic review of information and functionality will be undertaken by one of the development partners.

What is the log-in feature for?

To create or edit pages, you must have an OpenEI account. All OpenEI accounts are free. Sign up or log in.

What if I want to add information or make a correction?

Once you create an OpenEI account and log in, you are free to add and edit information. You can add or revise content using a simple user interface by selecting the Edit with Form button at the top of each page. More advanced editing capabilities are available using the Page Actions menu on each page.

Can I monitor updates?

To receive an email alert each time an update is made to a page, ensure that you are logged in, select Page Actions at the top of the page, and click Watch. An alternative option is to select the Edit with Form button, scroll to the bottom of the page, and select the Watch this Page option.

What if someone abuses the privilege to edit content?

Throughout OpenEI’s history, cases in which a user maliciously changes information are rare. In these cases, the user can be blocked. If the information is simply inaccurate or misleading, the page watchers can revert the information back to its original state or provide clarifications to the edited information.

Who should use the RAPID Toolkit? Who is it designed for?

Anyone interested in the regulatory and permitting processes for energy development. The RAPID Toolkit’s goal is to facilitate communication between project developers and permitting agency personnel, among permitting agencies at all jurisdiction levels, and among all project stakeholders—including the public. Learn how the RAPID Toolkit can be of value to you.