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Bureau Of Land Management Leads In Western Renewable Energy

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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is moving forward on 15 new renewable energy projects across the western United States. States, including California, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, are leading the way in these new solar and battery-focused developments. 

Since 2021, the bureau has approved nearly 50 renewable projects on public lands, which are expected to generate up to 11,236 megawatts when complete. The recent increase in projects directly results from the federal government’s Investing in America agenda, which aims for 25 gigawatts of renewable energy on public lands in the next two years.

“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,” Tracy Stone-Manning, BLM director, said in a press release.

Photo Courtesy Bureau of Land Management 

New projects include the approval of 500 kilovolts worth of transmission lines across 60 miles of public lands west of Phoenix. This new gen-tie transmission line will support the delivery of solar power from the 150-megawatt Harquahala Sun solar generation facility into the grid. 

In Nevada, the seven Esmeralda Solar Projects in Esmeralda County will generate up to 5.3 gigawatts of electricity. That’s enough electricity to power approximately 4 million households annually.

In California, the bureau is working with the Oberon Solar Project, a 500-megawatt photovoltaic facility in Riverside County that will include up to 250 megawatts of battery storage. According to the BLM, the storage capability can deliver enough clean energy to power 146,000 Southern California homes. 

In the same county, the Arlington Solar Energy Center is currently generating 364 megawatts of power and energizing more than 100,000 homes yearly. The site also includes battery storage. Additional sites are in progress, including ones in Yuma, AZ; Esmeralda and Lyon counties in Nevada; and Beaver, Juab, and Millard counties in Utah.

Photo Courtesy Bureau of Land Management

“The completion of the Oberon Solar Project underscores the Bureau of Land Management’s commitment to responsible energy development in pursuit of a carbon-free power sector,” Karen Mouritsen, BLM California state director, said in a statement. “This project is another example of the Bureau’s steadfast commitment to the furtherance of renewable energy and prioritizing a healthier planet.”

These important sustainable energy steps from the bureau are pieces of the puzzle moving the United States closer to a fully renewable grid by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Photo Courtesy Bureau of Land Management

“The advancement of these projects reflects significant progress across the West to decarbonize our economy, create jobs, and help address the climate crisis,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a call with reporters. “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.”


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