Dept. of Interior head announces new clean energy efforts in Nevada, southwest
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland visited Las Vegas on Tuesday to announce new efforts to support Nevada’s growing clean energy economy and green jobs.
Climate change poses an existential threat to our environment, health and economic wellbeing, according to Haaland.
In Las Vegas, Haaland announced two new developments to foster renewable energy efforts. One is a new policy to reduce by 50% rent and fees charged for wind and solar projects on public lands for existing and new projects.
"It will incentivize industry to partner in responsible solar and wind development and help encourage and inspire to invest and compete in the clean energy economy," she said.
A second development is the creation of five new renewable energy coordination offices to handle the increasing number of applications by wind, solar and geothermal developers through the Bureau of Land Management.
Both projects are within the Biden-Harris Administration's goal of a net-zero economy by 2050.
The coordination offices include a national office at BLM’s headquarters, within state offices in Arizona, California and Nevada, as well as a regional office in Utah.
“The Bureau of Land Management continues to take bold steps to attract renewable energy investments on public lands in a way that is environmentally sound,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “This will help support our clean energy economy by creating good paying jobs, increasing our energy security, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Department of the Interior provided details on both efforts:
New Rate Reduction Policy
The Energy Act of 2020 provided authority for the BLM to reduce rents and fees if necessary to promote the greatest use of wind and solar resources. The new rate reduction policy for solar and wind, as well as the BLM’s prioritization of applications, will incentivize industry to partner in responsible solar and wind development.
The new policy will reduce rents and fees substantially and enhance rate predictability for wind and solar developers. On average, the BLM expects rents and fees to decrease by over 50 percent due to lower acreage rents and a standard megawatt fee that promotes more efficient wind and solar or hybrid projects on public lands.
Today’s announcement comes after the BLM held several listening sessions and released a draft rate reduction policy for public review and comment in 2021. These efforts helped the bureau gain valuable feedback from the public on how it might best promote wind and solar energy development on public lands.
Renewable Energy Coordination Offices
Recognizing the significant momentum around building a clean energy economy, the BLM is building new internal capacity to process the increasing number of applications by wind, solar and geothermal developers through the creation of five Renewable Energy Coordination Offices.
The BLM is actively partnering with key federal agencies to fund dedicated positions to prioritize robust environmental compliance coordination for renewable energy proposals. The coordination offices include a national office at the BLM’s headquarters, within state offices in Arizona, California and Nevada; and a regional office led by BLM Utah. The BLM is also actively hiring project managers in other states, such as Idaho and Colorado, to support renewable permitting work in those states.
The Renewable Energy Coordination Offices will also facilitate increased engagement between Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Energy and Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency.