Between 2000 and 2012, wind energy has been the fastest growing energy technology in the U.S. and worldwide, achieving an annual growth rate of about 30%. Laws enacted in most of the Western states require energy companies to provide a portion of their energy from renewable energy sources. As a result, the BLM anticipates a continued interest in the use of public lands for renewable energy development. For more information, visit the Wind Energy page.
The Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 provides the Secretary of the Interior with the authority to lease public lands and other federal lands, including National Forest lands, for geothermal exploration and development in an environmentally sound manner. For more information, visit the Geothermal Energy page.
Ownership of hydropower generation facilities is classified as "federal" or "nonfederal". The majority of federal projects are owned and managed by the Bureau of Reclamation or the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers and are principally large multi-purpose dams capable of producing more than 30 megawatts (MW) of electricity. Nonfederal projects can be privately owned, or publically owned, and located on public, or private land. Nonfederal projects are licensed and administered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and are principally categorized as small hydropower (1-30 MW). In 2010 nonfederal hydropower accounted for 4% of total U.S. electrical power generation. It appears that all hydropower plants on BLM managed land are considered "nonfederal" projects and consequently are regulated by FERC. For more information, visit the Hydropower Energy page.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that 37 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity were generated from biomass in 2011 in the U.S. This represents about 1 percent of the electrical generation in that year. And they project that between 2013 and 2040 electrical generation from biomass will increase by 95 billion kWh, for an average annual increase of 4.5 percent. This compares with 134 billion or 2.6 percent for wind, and 92 billion or 9.8 percent for solar.
BLM manages approximately 65 million acres of forests and woodlands in Alaska and 14 Western States (FIA Report 2007). An estimated 16 million acres are in need of restoration. Woody biomass is a part of BLM's forest product line and is primarily comprised of restoration residues and smaller diameter material from forestry, fuels and rangeland treatments. Biomass utilization is expected to increase as an increasing number of renewable and bioenergy facilities come on-line. For additional information, visit the Biomass Energy page.
As of June 30, 2013 there were no tidal/wave energy projects involving BLM lands in either Oregon or Washington, and no transmission ROW applications connecting any tidal/wave project had been received. However, the Reedsport Wave Energy Project, whose transmission line will cross federal land, was recorded in BLM's LR2000 lands record system. It may be of interest to those BLM districts that border the Oregon coast. For additional information, visit the Wave and Tidal Energy page.