Expanding Renewable Energy
Significant portions of BLM public lands have excellent solar, wind and geothermal energy potential, and the BLM works to provide appropriate sites for environmentally sound development of renewable energy on public lands.
As of November 2021, permitted renewable energy projects on BLM-managed lands include 36 wind, 37 solar, and 48 geothermal projects with a total combined capacity of more than 12 gigawatts of power. Such deployment is crucial in achieving the Biden Administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, as well as Congress’s direction to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal energy production on public lands no later than 2025.
For more information on the BLM’s efforts to expand renewable energy use, visit our Renewable Energy Program pages below:
The Bureau of Land Management pauses wind and solar rent and fee collection during public comment period on proposed guidance
The Bureau of Land Management recently announced a public comment period for draft guidance to promote the use of wind and solar energy on public lands. The proposed policy direction would reduce acreage rental rates and megawatt capacity fees to provide additional financial and regulatory predictability for existing and new solar and wind energy projects authorized on public lands.
Typically, under the BLM right-of-way regulations, rents, and fees for authorizations on public land are due each year on January 1, with a 15-day grace period before late fees can be assessed for non-payment. However, because of the BLM’s ongoing policy review, the BLM will be delayed in sending bills to wind and solar energy right-of-way holders. Therefore, the agency is exercising its discretion under the regulations, including 43 C.F.R. 2806.12(d), and announcing that solar and wind energy acreage rents and megawatt capacity fees for calendar year 2022 are not due until the agency has finalized the guidance and issued bills to affected right-of-way holders. Late fees will not accrue during this billing delay. Solar and wind energy right-of-way holders are not required to make rent or fee payments, including payments that would otherwise be due for 2022, until such time as the BLM instructs.
The public is once again encouraged to review and comment on the BLM’s proposed reductions to rent and fee rates under the Energy Act of 2020. The BLM’s draft manual can be found at https://on.doi.gov/3DoYe22. Comments will be used to assist the BLM in determining appropriate reductions to rental rates, megawatt capacity fees, and potential project-specific reductions, and should be submitted no later than February 2, 2022, to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Comments on Draft update to BLM 2800 Right-of-Way Manual.