The US Department of the Interior on Thursday announced proposed updates to its renewable energy regulations aimed at encouraging solar and wind energy development on public lands.
The proposal includes reducing fees for these projects by about 80%, streamlining the review process for applications in priority areas, and providing greater certainty for the private sector. There will now be a 60-day public comment period on the proposed rule.
After the Energy Act of 2020 enabled the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reduce acreage rents and capacity fees to support wind and solar development, the Interior’s agency reduced these fees through guidance in 2022. The current proposal would codify further reductions, the authorities explained.
The proposed Renewable Energy Rule expands the BLM’s ability to accept leasing applications in priority areas for wind and solar development without a full auction, while retaining its ability to hold competitive auctions where appropriate.
The BLM also provided updated information regarding its ongoing programmatic environmental review for solar energy development across 11 Western states.