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Interior plans to revise rules for wind, solar projects on federal lands

September 02, 2021

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The U.S. Department of the Interior is looking to revise its regulations for permitting wind and solar energy projects on federal lands amid a push to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production.

Interior said the effort could be “crucial” to achieving the Biden administration’s goal to decarbonize the U.S. power sector by 2035 and fulfilling a directive from Congress to permit 25 GW of solar, wind and geothermal energy on public lands by 2025.

Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, announced Aug. 31 that it is seeking input on a range of issues, including rent schedules and fees for wind, solar and transmission rights-of-way. As part of that effort, the BLM will evaluate “scenarios or criteria when reduced rents/fees are appropriate for wind and solar rights-of-way,” as well as potential changes to its competitive processes for renewable energy development.

The bureau will also consider extending wind and solar energy rights-of-way beyond the current 30-year limit and ways to improve the application process and environmental justice considerations for those projects.

Along with taking written input, the BLM will host four virtual listening sessions on the rulemaking throughout September. The bureau then expects to publish a proposed rule by early 2022.

Renewable energy advocates welcomed the BLM’s announcement.

[Molly Christian]

More: Interior looks to ease renewable energy development on US federal lands

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