DOI aims for more clean energy on public lands

WYOMING – The U.S. Secretary of the Interior announced earlier this week a new policy geared toward increasing clean energy production on public lands as part of the current Biden Administration’s goal of a net-zero economy by 2050.

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland made the announcement in Nevada during a clean energy roundtable that included other government officials, stakeholders and energy producers. One of the main goals was cementing ongoing efforts to permit at least 25,000 megawatts of renewable energy on public land by 2025. During that discussion, Haaland announced the implementation of a new policy to reduce rents and fees charged for wind and solar projects on public lands, as well as establishing Renewable Energy Coordination Offices in the Bureau of Land Management offices throughout the West.

“Clean energy projects on public lands have an important role to play in reducing our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and lowering costs for families,” Haaland said. “As we seek to advance President Biden’s clean energy goals, the Department of the Interior is continuing to meet the moment in coordination with local, state and elected officials, Tribes and conservation and industry groups to help ensure we modernize America’s power infrastructure while creating jobs and bolstering climate resilience.”

Director of the BLM, Tracy Stone-Manning, said this endeavor is the latest step to attract renewable energy investments on public lands while still being environmentally conscious.

“This will help support our clean energy economy by creating good-paying jobs, increasing our energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Energy Act of 2020 provided the BLM with authority to reduce rents and fees if necessary to promote use of wind and solar resources. The new rate reduction is aimed at incentivizing industry to partner in responsible renewable energy development. On average, the BLM expects rents and fees to decrease by over 50 percent.