Biden administration announces 15 new renewable energy projects on public lands

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced the advancement of 15 new renewable energy projects in the western U.S. as the Biden administration seeks to tout its record on energy.

The projects include a 500-megawatt photovoltaic facility in Riverside County, Calif., that the Bureau of Land Management said was fully operational Friday, as well as another solar energy facility in Riverside County set to generate 364 megawatts.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is also expected to announce approval of 500 kilovolts worth of transmission lines across 60 miles of public lands west of Phoenix.

The administration has set a goal of 25 gigawatts of onshore renewables on public lands by 2025. In a call with reporters Friday, officials said that since 2021, the BLM has approved 46 renewable projects on public lands, which are collectively expected to generate up to 11,236 megawatts.

“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 on the call. “They also build on the tremendous momentum we’ve seen throughout this administration to [break] ground on transmission lines that will deliver this clean energy across the West.”

“The BLM’s work to responsibly and quickly develop renewable energy projects is crucial to achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035,” added BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “Investing in clean and reliable renewable energy represents the BLM’s commitment to addressing climate change and supports direction from the president and Congress to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025.”

The administration has also set a broader target of a fully renewable grid by 2035.

The announcement comes weeks after the administration also announced $7 billion toward regional hubs for hydrogen energy production, with sites in the Appalachian region, California, the Gulf Coast, the mid-Atlantic, the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest and North Dakota and Minnesota.

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