In a significant stride towards achieving President Biden’s target of permitting 25 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy on public lands by 2025, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland revealed today that the Interior Department is advancing 15 onshore renewable energy projects across the Western United States. During her address at the Western Governors Association Winter Meeting, Secretary Haaland outlined the department’s accomplishments, including the fully operational status of two solar and battery storage projects in California, permit milestones for transmission lines in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, progress in geothermal energy development in Nevada, and advancements in environmental reviews for seven solar projects in Nevada and a solar and battery storage project in Arizona.
These initiatives, part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, aim to expedite transmission buildout, reduce energy costs, address climate change, create union jobs, and work towards achieving a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035.
“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to expanding clean energy development to address climate change, enhance America’s energy security and create good-paying union jobs. The projects we are advancing today will add enough clean energy to the grid to power millions of homes,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Through historic investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Interior Department is helping build modern, resilient climate infrastructure that protects our communities from the worsening impacts of climate change.”
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), responsible for these advancements, plays a pivotal role in fulfilling the administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. Tracy Stone-Manning, BLM Director, commented, “The BLM’s work to responsibly and quickly develop renewable energy projects is crucial to achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. Investing in clean and reliable renewable energy represents the BLM’s commitment to addressing climate change and supports direction from the President and Congress to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025.”
Since 2021, the BLM has approved 46 clean energy projects, including 16 solar, 10 geothermal, and 20 gen-tie transmission lines, covering approximately 35,000 acres of BLM-managed lands. These projects are projected to generate up to 11,236 megawatts of electricity, enough to power over 3.5 million homes. Currently processing 66 utility-scale onshore clean energy projects across the Western U.S., the BLM anticipates adding over 33 GW of renewable energy to the Western electric grid. The administration is also reviewing 192 applications for solar and wind development and 95 applications for solar and wind energy site area testing.
The announcement aligns with the administration’s recent efforts to accelerate transmission buildout, with groundbreaking ceremonies this year for new transmission lines connecting communities in the West to clean, reliable, and affordable energy.
Key Onshore Renewable and Transmission Projects Milestones:
Oberon Solar Project: The 500-megawatt photovoltaic facility near Desert Center, California, with 250 megawatts of battery storage, will be fully operational, delivering clean energy to 146,000 homes.
Arlington Solar Energy Center: Generating 364 megawatts with 242 megawatts of battery storage, this Riverside County facility is now fully operational, powering 111,000 homes annually.
Cross-Tie 500-kV Transmission Project: The Notice of Availability for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is set to be announced next week, supporting clean energy projects in Utah and Nevada.
500-kilovolt gen-tie transmission line: Approval for construction, crossing public lands west of Phoenix, Arizona, to support the Harquahala Sun solar generation facility.
New Lease Sale:
Geothermal Lease Sale: A competitive sale offering 45 parcels across multiple Nevada counties will be held next week.
Opportunities for Public Comment:
Esmeralda Solar Projects: Notice of Intent published for RMP amendment and associated PEIS for seven solar projects in Nevada.
Wabuska Geothermal Exploration Project: Draft environmental assessment in progress for potential geothermal development in Lyon County, Nevada.
Ranegras Plains Energy Center Project: Environmental analysis initiated for a proposed 700-megawatt solar and battery energy storage system in Yuma, Arizona.
Pantheon Solar Project: Two-year segregation initiated for public lands in Ely, Nevada, to evaluate a proposal generating approximately 400 megawatts of renewable energy.
These collective efforts underline the administration’s commitment to ushering in a new era of sustainable and clean energy production while fostering economic growth and environmental stewardship.