Biden admin to review land permitting for renewable projects

Biden admin

The Biden administration is undertaking a thorough review of the land permitting processes regarding fees on renewable energy developers. The aim is to make rents cheaper for them from deferral lands, as the current legislation is out of sync with private land rents.

According to Reuters, this Tuesday, the Bureau of Land Management has initiated a process to review the current regulations related to renewable energy federal land permitting; as well as the rights of way. Sessions to formally review them will start in September and will have a separate consultation with Native American tribes.

Particularly, the sessions will focus on the rent lease schedules and rights-of-way fees for solar and wind developers; the application processing, times related to them as well as environmental justice considerations.

Specifically, the renewable energy industry is pointing out that the current policy is out of date. The current policy was implemented on 2016 by former President Barack Obama; it demands major projects to pay around $971 per acre per year on rent, along with $2000 annually per megawatt of power produced.

The utility-scale fees are even greater, as utilities cover 3000 acres on average and produce 250 MW of power, which would make up $3,5 million annually. Nevertheless, wind projects’ fees are lower. However, the capacity fee is higher at around $3800, according to a federal fee schedule.

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Biden admin with the goal to decarbonize the electricity sector by 2035

Renewable energy developers argue that those charges are way up and out of sync with private lands fees. Which can reach $100 per acre, and do not have any fee upon the amount of power produced. In fact, those fees are also bigger than those for oil and gas drilling, which can run at $1,50 or $2 per acre.

“Until these overly burdensome costs resolve, our nation will likely miss out on living up to its potential to deploy homegrown clean energy projects on our public lands.” Said Gene Grace, general counsel for clean energy trade group American Clean Power Association.

Moreover, the solar industry began lobbying the issue in April. When the Large Scale Solar Association, a coalition of some of the nation’s top solar developers, filed a petition to the BLM asking it to lower rents on utility-scale projects in the nation’s deserts. The Association includes top companies like NextEra Energy, and EDF Renewables.

Finally, the measure that the Biden administration will undertake aims directly at further helping the renewable energy industry to grow. The Biden administration has the goal to decarbonize the electricity sector by 2035.

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