US agencies seek to fast-track renewables on public lands

First Solar-powered PV park in California. Author: U.S. Department of the Interior.

January 13 (Renewables Now) - A number of US federal agencies will collaborate to speed up reviews of clean energy projects situated on public lands that are managed by the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, it was announced on Wednesday.

The Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Defense, Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency have signed a memorandum of understanding to prioritise and expedite federal agency reviews and permitting decisions for wind, solar and geothermal projects on public lands. They will establish interagency coordination teams to facilitate environmental reviews preparation, accelerate decision-making and coordinate all environmental and other agency reviews.

The move supports the US president’s goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035, as well as the target of permitting 25 GW of solar, wind and geothermal facilities on public lands by 2025. The Biden-Harris Administration has so far approved 18 onshore projects with a combined capacity of 4.175 GW, including eight on public lands and 10 with interconnection lines on public lands.

This announcement came as the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said it will hold an unprecedented offshore wind lease sale of six areas in the New York Bight off the coasts of New York and New Jersey that could provide up to 7 GW of offshore wind energy.

Along with a grid upgrade initiative launched by the Department of Energy, the announcements were highlighted in a fact sheet on clean energy issued by the White House on Wednesday. The statement says that “to fully seize the opportunities of a clean energy economy, President Biden is pressing forward on passing the Build Back Better Act.”

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Browse all articles from Plamena Tisheva

Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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