Inspenet, December 26, 2023.
According to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the agency’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is pursuing the development of 15 new renewable energy facilities in various locations across the western United States, some of which have recently started their commercial operations.
During her presentation, Haaland highlighted several renewable energy projects, including the 500 MW Oberon Solar Project in Riverside County, California, which includes energy storage and began operating on November 3. Likewise, he highlighted the Arlington Solar Energy Center , a 364 MW project in Riverside County, which also incorporates energy storage and was launched commercially on November 6.
Notably, the Biden administration has set a goal of achieving 25 GW of onshore renewable energy generation capacity on public lands by 2025. In a conference with the media on November 3, Department of the Interior officials reported that, over the last two years, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has given the green light to 46 renewable projects on public lands. According to the authorities, these facilities have a combined generation capacity of more than 11.2 GW.
The approved projects include 20 related to grid connections and transmission line improvements, according to information provided by the BLM. In addition, 16 solar energy installations and 10 of geothermal origin stand out.
Moving towards decarbonization
“The advancement of these projects reflects significant progress across the West to decarbonize our economy, create jobs, and help address the climate crisis.”Haaland said during the media call. “They are also taking advantage of the tremendous momentum we have seen throughout this administration to begin construction of transmission lines that will deliver this clean energy throughout the West.“.
Currently, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is in the process of evaluating 66 utility-scale renewable energy projects that have been proposed on public lands throughout the western United States. These facilities have a combined potential generation capacity that exceeds 33 GW. Approximately 200 applications for the development of solar and wind projects are under preliminary review, along with 95 applications for testing in areas designated as potential sites for solar and wind projects.
BLM is expected to release the Notice of Availability for the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the 500 kV Cross-Tie Transmission Project proposed in Beaver, Juab and Millard counties in Utah, as well as Lincoln counties, Nye and White Pine in Nevada. Additionally, the agency is anticipated to announce approval for the construction of a 500 kV gen-tie transmission line crossing public lands approximately 60 miles west of Phoenix, Arizona. This line will support the supply of solar energy from the 150 MW Harquahala Sun facility located in Maricopa County, Arizona.
Another important aspect is the competitive auction of geothermal energy leases in Nevada. BLM specified that 45 parcels will be offered for sale, covering more than 135,000 acres in 12 counties in the state. Additionally, the agency announced a plan for seven solar projects in Esmeralda County, Nevada, with a combined generating capacity of up to 5.3 GW. Notably, the Esmeralda 7 facility will be located on nearly 119,000 acres of public lands managed by the BLM.
“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to expanding clean energy development to address climate change, improve 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”Haaland said during her meeting with the governors on November 6. “Through historic investments from President Biden’s Invest in America agenda, the Department of the Interior is helping to build modern, resilient climate infrastructure that protects our communities from the growing impacts of climate change.“.
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