Perhaps I'm mistaken. I recall an entity that wanted to build a wind farm but the shortest path to a population center meant crossing a national park or something.
Yeah, probably there have been individual transmission line bans for reasons like that. Which are entirely legitimate, by the way. But it's not the main thing holding wind power back.
Of course no private entity stepped up to build a uranium fuel reprocessing plant. If no one is able to build a new nuclear power plant then who is going to buy the reprocessed fuel?
Companies have been able to build new nuclear plants for years, permits have been issued, and some construction has taken place. TFA is about a recent freeze which isn't expected to last long. The reason you don't see more nuclear plants is economics.
My "beef" is not with the Department of Energy specifically, it's with the federal government in general. The Department of Energy gets special attention today because of this ban on nuclear power plant permits, the ethanol subsidies (making the news because of the drought in the Midwest), the solar power subsidies, and because of the subsidies to a foreign electric car company.
The DOE does not regulate power plant construction; that's the NRC. The DOE does not provide ethanol subsidies; that's a Congressional handout to the farm industry. (Incidentially, those subsidies expired this year, although the Renewable Fuel Standard that Congress passed is still here.)
The DOE does subsidize solar power and electric vehicle companies. I don't agree that none of them produce real benefit, but that aside, that's not the only thing the DOE does. Most of its budget is actually nuclear national security, it does R&D, etc.
The Department of Energy did[n't] ban the fracking for natural gas but the federal government is doing its best to stop the construction of any new oil wells.
While oil wells produce crude petroleum they also produce vast quantities of natural gas. If we can't drill for oil then we can't drill for natural gas either, they both come from the same hole.
Most of the long-term growth potential of natural gas in this country will come from fracking, which isn't banned by the federal government.