The Department of the Interior (DOI) has finalized a rule that will cut fees by up to 80% for wind and solar projects developed on federal land. In addition, the DOI announced it has permitted more than 25 GW of clean energy projects, surpassing a “major milestone” of the Biden administration ahead of 2025.

The permitted 25 GW includes solar, wind, and geothermal projects, as well as gen-tie lines on public lands that are used for connecting clean electricity projects on both federal and non-federal land to the grid.

The final Renewable Energy rule from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is meant to lower consumer energy costs and the cost of developing solar and wind projects, improve renewable energy project application processes, and incentivize developers to continue “responsibly” developing solar and wind projects on public lands. The final rule also includes additional incentives for the use of project labor agreements and American-made materials, and extends lease terms for renewable projects to 50 years.

The final Renewable Energy Rule will reduce capacity fees for these projects by 80% and facilitate development in priority areas by streamlining application review. It expands the BLM’s ability to accept leasing applications in these priority areas without first going through a full auction but retains the BLM’s ability to hold competitive auctions “where appropriate.”

“We commend BLM for working alongside the solar and storage industry to deliver thoughtful rules that will help us strengthen the grid and deliver reliable clean energy to more consumers,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “We will continue to push for pragmatic solutions that will help us achieve our ambitious clean energy goals.”

The Energy Act of 2020 authorized the BLM to reduce acreage rents and capacity fees to promote the greatest use of wind and solar energy resources. The BLM initially reduced these fees through guidance in 2022. The final rule codifies further reductions.

In addition, the BLM announced that two solar projects – the Arica and Victory Pass projects in California – are now fully operational, adding 465 MW of electricity to the grid. With these two projects coming online, more than 10 GW of clean energy is currently being generated on public lands.

The BLM is currently processing permits for an additional 66 utility-scale clean energy projects proposed on public lands in the western United States. These projects have the combined potential to add more than 32 additional GW of renewable energy to the Western electric grid.

Originally published in Renewable Energy World.

This post appeared first on Power Engineering.