Home Office outlines roadmap for continued progress on renewable energy on public lands

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Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Contact: [email protected]

WASHINGTON – As part of its commitment to support and inspire a clean energy transition, the Department of the Interior today announced a series of measures being taken to advance the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of enabling 25 gigawatts of renewable energy on public lands by 2025. These efforts support the department’s strategy to responsibly unlock and deliver the full potential of renewable energy on our public lands and waters, while creating well-paying unionized jobs and reducing emissions.

“The Department of the Interior continues to make significant progress in our efforts to spur a clean energy revolution, strengthen and decarbonize the national economy, and help communities transition to a clean energy future,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “The demand for renewable energy has never been greater. Technological advances, increased interest, profitability and huge economic potential make these projects a promising avenue to diversify our national energy portfolio, while fighting climate change and investing in communities.

“Our nation’s leaders have called for swift action on renewable energy, and the Biden-Harris administration is delivering on that promise,” said Principal Assistant Assistant Secretary for Land and Mineral Management Laura Daniel-Davis. “Bureau of Land Management energy experts understand the demand and need to ensure environmentally sound development of renewable energy on these lands. We are on the right track to build on the extraordinary work already done.

To further assist Congress in authorizing 25,000 megawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal power generation on public lands no later than 2025, and to help secure the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a sector carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035, this month the Bureau of Land Management (BLM):

  • Additional activity planned in the field of renewable energies. A report recently submitted to Congress, led by the Energy Act of 2020, outlines significant progress on clean energy deployment and includes a forecast of renewable energy activity in the West. The report demonstrates that the BLM increased renewable energy permitting activity by 35% in fiscal year 2021 compared to fiscal year 2020. The bureau authorized 12 projects on public lands that directly support the development of 2,890 megawatts of wind, solar and onshore geothermal power generation capacity. in fiscal year 2021. The BLM also worked to improve coordination of renewable energy infrastructure permits, including improving agreements with other federal agencies and increasing early coordination efforts with tribal nations, state and local governments, local communities and conservation groups. As the agency continues to scale up its renewable energy program, it plans to support nearly 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by the end of 2023, and more in 2024.
  • Improvements identified for energy corridors in the West. In a second report, the BLM identified potential improvements to power transmission line corridors that balance the need to deliver clean energy with the protection of U.S. land, water and wildlife habitat. . These energy corridors, called Western-wide energy corridors, span 11 contiguous western states. The report will guide future planning and use of these energy corridors to increase renewable energy generation on federal lands while ensuring strong protection of public lands, waters and biodiversity and the creation of well-paying jobs. .
  • Renewed and updated a policy that will allow staff to better select and prioritize solar and wind energy projects on public lands. Last week, the BLM released a policy to help screen and prioritize proposed solar and wind projects on public lands. The policy, a memorandum of instructions titled “Initial Screening and Prioritization of Solar and Wind Energy Applications and Nominations/Expressions of Interest,” will help accelerate clean energy development and conserve natural and cultural resources. America’s most valuable. The policy provides BLM staff with initial screening metrics and standardized prioritization methodologies for solar and wind right-of-way grant applications and public land right-of-way lease nominations. As a result, staff can focus and make decisions more quickly for projects with the greatest technical and financial feasibility and the least anticipated natural and cultural resource conflicts.
  • Advanced renewable energy projects to help create jobs.
    • This month, the BLM issued a Notice of Competitive Bid Notice for Solar Power Development on public lands in Clark County, Nevada in the Solar Power Area Lease Area of Dry Lake East. This notice is the third issued by BLM in the past six months. The BLM also completed a lease sale for geothermal power in Utah, which resulted in offers on 8 of 11 available parcels.
    • This week, the BLM also awarded its first competitive solar power leases in Utah. The leases are awarded to Minersville Solar Energy LLC for three parcels, encompassing more than 4,800 acres of public land managed by BLM. If the leases are fully developed, the solar power facilities could generate more than 600 megawatts of electricity and create about 200 construction jobs and 15 operations positions, totaling more than $10 million in salaries.

The public lands managed by BLM have the potential to contribute significantly to the country’s renewable energy portfolio. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land, many of which have significant solar, wind and geothermal energy potential. To date, the BLM has approved more than 120 renewable energy projects on public lands that have a combined generating capacity of more than 12,000 megawatts. The BLM also plays a key role in supporting non-federal renewable energy development by licensing power transmission lines to connect clean energy to the grid.

President Biden’s budget request for fiscal year 2023 includes more than $49 million in BLM’s renewable energy management program and an additional $11 million in the resource management planning program to support implementation , leasing and processing right-of-way applications for renewable energy projects and transmission lines.

BLM’s ongoing work to facilitate renewable energy comes amid growing calls for clean energy from the public and private sectors and follows the establishment of renewable energy coordination offices across the West to facilitate better coordination of permits for renewable energy projects. The BLM is actively working to fill dozens of vital positions to support renewable energy efforts at BLM Headquarters and throughout the West. Positions include, but are not limited to, real estate specialists, project managers, wildlife biologists, archaeologists/cultural resources specialists, geologists/fluid minerals specialists, planners, specialists natural resources, GIS specialists and hydrologists.

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