Biden administration announces 15 new renewable energy projects on public lands

Nov 7, 2023

The Biden administration announced yesterday the advancement of 15 large renewable energy projects on public lands in the West. The projects include next week’s geothermal lease sale across 12 counties in Northern Nevada, a new transmission line west of Phoenix, the completed construction of more than 800 megawatts of solar power in Southern California, progress on environmental reviews for seven solar projects proposed in Nevada, and a solar and battery storage project in Arizona. With these additions, the Biden administration has approved a total of 46 clean energy projects on BLM lands since 2021.

Once these projects are completed, they have the potential to achieve the Biden administration’s goal to generate 25 gigawatts of onshore renewables on public lands by 2025. This would be enough to power approximately five million homes and would be a significant step toward the administration’s broader objective of establishing a fully renewable energy grid by 2035.

“The projects we are advancing today will add enough clean energy to the grid to power millions of homes,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “Through historic investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Interior Department is helping build modern, resilient climate infrastructure that protects our communities from the worsening impacts of climate change.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has pumped over $4 billion into the Mountain West in just two years

Yesterday marked the two-year anniversary of the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a historic and ongoing investment in America’s natural and built environment. A new blog post from the Center for Western Priorities breaks down how this historic funding is being implemented across the West, with significant investments in wildfire preparedness and prevention, sagebrush steppe recovery and conservation, abandoned oil and gas well plugging and remediation, wildlife habitat and fish passage improvements, climate change adaptation, and more.

Quick hits

Biden administration announces 15 new renewable energy projects on public lands

The Hill | New York Times | KJZZ | Desert Sun | Grist | UPI | E&E News | Department of the Interior [press release]

Opinion: The BLM was right to close vehicle trails around Labyrinth Canyon

Salt Lake Tribune

Climate change is turning swaths of California’s mountains into ‘zombie forests’

Los Angeles Times

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has pumped over $4 billion into the Mountain West in just two years

Westwise | Colorado Sun

Wyoming legislators want $50M to sue federal government over environmental laws


Conservation groups partner with the military to conserve open space in Colorado

Colorado Sun

Forest Service proposes allowing carbon capture projects in national forests

NPR | Reuters | E&E News

After destructive event, Utah town urges BLM to restrict weddings

Salt Lake Tribune

Quote of the day

I always say to my people when I’m working out there that what we do for Mother Nature is we give her a pedicure, a manicure, we even try to clean her up a little bit. But she’s going to the ball in the springtime; she’s going to put on her own dress. When you give her the opportunity, she knows how to dress herself up.”

—Ron Goode, chairman of the North Fork Mono Tribe, Los Angeles Times

Picture This

bison on prairie

The protection and recovery of bison in Yellowstone is one of the great triumphs of American conservation.In 1902, after years of market hunting and poaching, there were only about two dozen bison left in Yellowstone. Over the next 100+ years, we’ve worked to bring this species back from the brink of extinction. We succeeded, and now face the challenge of helping to manage a healthy population of bison that sometimes roams beyond park borders onto private land and land managed by other agencies, where there is less tolerance for them.

Working together with Tribal Nations and state and federal agencies, we started the Bison Conservation Transfer Program in 2018. The goal of the program is to rehome brucellosis-free, Yellowstone-origin bison to Native American Tribes and support the ecological and cultural conservation of this iconic species.

With help from Yellowstone Forever (@ynpforever) and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (@greateryellowstone), coupled with continued coordination with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, we expanded the Bison Conservation and Transfer Program in 2022 to increase the number of bison transferred to Tribes. This program has led to the largest transfer of Yellowstone bison among Native American Tribes in history!

Still, substantial work remains to build capacity for the program and negotiate more tolerance for bison as they migrate outside of Yellowstone.

Learn more about bison conservation and management in Yellowstone:

Featured photo: Solar project in California, Tom Brewster/BLM