The Biden administration is set to lower the costs of wind and solar development on public lands in order to increase clean energy investments, a move that follows its reforms to raise prices for oil and gas producers.
The new policy, announced on Tuesday by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland during a clean energy roundtable in Nevada, will drive down costs for solar and wind projects by 50% due to lower rent prices and a standard megawatt fee to help attract new renewable investments on public land, according to a Bureau of Land Management estimate. The department is also seeking to meet a congressional mandate requiring it to permit at least 25,000 megawatts of renewable energy on public land by 2025.
“The Bureau of Land Management continues to take bold steps to attract renewable energy investments on public lands in a way that is environmentally sound,” Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning said in a statement. “This will help support our clean energy economy by creating good-paying jobs, increasing our energy security, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
As part of that effort, the Interior Department will also establish five new offices of Renewable Energy Coordination in Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington, and Utah, which it said will aid in expediting the processing of renewable energy environmental reviews.
The offices will also help facilitate better communication with federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, and Defense, DOI said.
The news comes as a victory for renewable energy lobbyists, who have urged the Biden administration for more than a year to lower lease rates and fees for developers, arguing that current rates risked turning away investors and tanking President Joe Biden’s goals to tackle climate change.
The Biden administration has moved to increase royalties for oil and gas leases on federal lands.