Laws and Regulations

Applications for wind and solar energy projects may be processed and authorized as rights-of-way under Title V of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended, and Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 43, Part 2800. Wind and solar projects are authorized under right-of-way leases within designated leasing areas and are authorized under right-of-way grants in areas outside of designated leasing areas. Geothermal energy projects are processed under the Geothermal Steam Act, as amended and CFR Title 43, Part 3200, and are authorized under leases and permits.

On January 18, 2017, the BLM enacted the Solar and Wind Energy Rule to facilitate responsible solar and wind energy development on public lands and ensure that American taxpayers receive a fair return from use of those resources. The rule aims to provide flexibility to operators, develop a competitive bidding process, and encourage development in designated leasing areas that are most amenable to high generation with low resource conflicts.

To remove unnecessary barriers, ineffective planning or procedures, and other impediments to timely permitting of renewable energy projects, the BLM is considering revisions to these regulations. As part of this process, the agency has been soliciting preliminary input from the public on relevant areas, with an aim to publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register by early 2022.