The Biden administration announced this week that it will cut the cost of building wind and solar on US public land by 50%.

In a statement, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced:

The new policy will reduce rents and fees substantially and enhance rate predictability for wind and solar developers. On average, the [Bureau of Land Management] expects rents and fees to decrease by over 50% due to lower acreage rents and a standard megawatt fee that promotes more efficient wind and solar or hybrid projects on public lands.  

The DOI is working to permit 25 gigawatts of clean energy on public lands by 2025 – enough to power around 4.75 million homes.

In 2021, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) permitted 2.89 gigawatts (GW), up 35% from 2020.

The DOI will also establish Renewable Energy Coordination Offices in BLM offices in western states in order to increase staff numbers to process renewable energy environmental reviews and permit applications.

The Renewable Energy Coordination Offices are expected to facilitate increased engagement between the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Energy, and Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The BLM’s website states:

Across the 245 million acres of public land it manages, the BLM has prioritized a combined total of roughly 870,000 acres for solar energy development within its land use plans. Under a scenario where 8.5 acres is needed to generate 1 megawatt of electricity from photovoltaic solar panels, these prioritized areas could support more than 100 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 29 million homes.

Read more: US announces the first offshore wind lease sale off the Carolinas


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About the Author

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.