Approval of more than 120 renewable energy projects with combined generating capacity of 12,000 megawatts; new BLM report forecasts additional activity
Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2022
WASHINGTON — As part of its commitment to support and inspire a clean energy transition, the Department of the Interior today announced a series of steps taken to advance the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to permit 25 gigawatts of renewable power 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 good-paying union 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 nation’s economy, and help communities transition to a clean energy future,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “The demand for renewable energy has never been greater. The technological advances, increased interest, cost effectiveness, and tremendous economic potential make these projects a promising path for diversifying our national energy portfolio, while at the same time combatting climate change and investing in communities.”
“Our nation’s leaders have asked for timely action on renewables, and the Biden-Harris administration is delivering,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Management Laura Daniel-Davis. “The Bureau of Land Management’s energy experts understand the demand and the need to ensure environmentally sound development of renewable energy on these lands. We’re on the path to build upon the extraordinary work already being done.”
To help further Congress’s direction to permit 25,000 megawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal energy production on public lands no later than 2025, and to help ensure the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, this month the Bureau of Land Management (BLM):
BLM-managed public lands have the potential to contribute significantly to the nation’s renewable energy portfolio. The BLM manages roughly 245 million acres of public lands, including many that have substantial solar, wind, and geothermal energy potential. To date, the BLM has approved over 120 renewable energy projects on public land that have a combined generating capacity of over 12,000 megawatts. The BLM also plays a key role in support of non-federal renewable energy development through permitting electricity transmission lines for connecting clean energy to the grid.
President Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget request includes more than $49 million in the BLM’s Renewable Energy Management program and an additional $11 million in the Resource Management Planning program to support siting, leasing, and processing rights-of-way applications for renewable energy projects and transmissions lines.
The BLM’s ongoing work to facilitate renewable energy comes amid increasing calls for clean energy from public and private sectors and follows on the heels of establishing Renewable Energy Coordination Offices across the West to facilitate improved permitting coordination for renewable energy projects. The BLM is actively working on filling dozens of vital positions to support renewable energy efforts in BLM’s headquarters and throughout the West. Positions include but are not limited to realty specialists, project managers, wildlife biologists, archaeologists/cultural resources specialists, geologists/fluid mineral specialists, planners, natural resource specialists, GIS specialists, and hydrologists.