In June 2020, IEEFA said there is a massive scope for utility scale solar on BLM managed lands. A year down the line, under Biden-Harris administration, the agency is seeking public input to ease land permitting process for solar and wind energy facilities. (Illustrative Photo; Photo Credit: zhengzaishuru/Shutterstock.com)
- BLM plans to revise regulations related to land it manages, to promote renewable energy technologies
- Some of the regulations it plans to revise include procedures related to solar and wind energy projects and their linear rights-of-way
- It is seeking public feedback on potential extension beyond 30 years for both solar and wind energy facilities, among other measures
The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is revising regulations to make federal land available for renewable energy by easing permitting processes. For this it is seeking public opinion and is organizing 4 listening sessions between September 14, 2021 and September 26, 2021.
According to the agency, regulations to be revised relate to renewable energy permitting and linear rights-of-way on public lands including electric transmission lines, and procedures related to solar and wind energy projects on BLM-managed lands.
Subject areas to be covered under the plan include rent schedules and fees for linear, solar and wind energy rights-of-way, competitive processes for wind and solar rights-of-way, application prioritization and screening rights-of-way, potential extension beyond 30 years for the 2 technologies, among others.
Once all inputs are recorded and assessed, the BLM expects to publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register by early 2022 which will be open for additional public review.
Interested stakeholders need to pre-register for the listening sessions, details of which are available on BLM’s website.
“The efficient deployment of renewable energy from our nation’s public lands is crucial in achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, as well as Congress’ direction in the Energy Act of 2020 to permit 25 GW of solar, wind, and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025,” stated BLM.
BLM manages close to 245 million acres of public land in 12 states in the US, and also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate.
In a June 2020 report, IEEFA pointed out massive scope for 119 million acres of solar rich land in the Southwest under BLM for utility scale solar development (see US: Federal Land Holds Scope For Utility Scale Solar).