The United States government has announced it is to move ahead with ambitious plans for renewable energy projects on land and sea.
The US Department of the Interior (DoI) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)has announced significant milestones on three transmission projects that will carry renewable energy across the West of the country as the DoI has begun the process of looking to lease almost 4 million acres of the Atlantic for wind energy projects.
If approved, the transmission projects have the potential to unlock 10,000 MWs of “clean, affordable, and reliable” energy across the West.
“The projects will help build a reliable, resilient electric grid critical to withstand climate change impacts and make progress towards achieving President Biden’s goal of a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035,” said a DoI spokesperson.
“The Department of the Interior continues to make significant progress in President Biden’s efforts to spur a clean energy revolution, strengthen and decarbonize the nation’s economy, and help communities transition to a clean energy future,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Transmission projects like those advanced today offer a promising path for diversifying our national energy portfolio and connecting more renewable energy, while at the same time combatting climate change and investing in communities.”
“The actions we are prioritizing will advance clean energy production in the 21st century and ensure that that energy will be able to reach markets,” added BLM director Tracy Stone-Manning. “We are proud to work collaboratively with states, cities, and other stakeholders to move these projects forward and help meet this administration’s clean energy goals.”
The BLM is releasing its draft Environmental Impact Statement for the SunZia Transmission Project in New Mexico and Arizona and is initiating two more major transmission line environmental reviews for the Greenlink West and Cross-Tie projects in Nevada and Utah.
The proposed SunZia Southwest Transmission Project includes two planned 500 kV transmission lines located across approximately 520 miles of federal, state, and private lands between central New Mexico and central Arizona
The Greenlink West Transmission Project is a system of new 525-kilovolt (kV), 345-kV, 230-kV, and 120-kV electric transmission facilities located across approximately 423 miles of private, state, and federal lands between northern and southern Nevada. Additionally, the Cross-Tie 500-kV Transmission Project is a proposed approximately 214-mile, 1500 MW, 500 kV high-voltage transmission project that would be constructed between central Utah and east-central Nevada
In a separate announcement the DoI revealed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is to issue two separate Calls for Information and Nominations for possible leasing in areas that are determined to be suitable off the coast of Oregon and in the Central Atlantic.
BOEM is seeking information on six distinct areas in the Central Atlantic comprising almost 3.9 million acres. The closest point to the shore of any of the areas is approximately 20 nautical miles off the Central Atlantic coast.
“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to supporting a robust clean energy economy, and the upcoming steps taken toward possible leasing off the coast of Oregon and Central Atlantic provides another opportunity to strengthen the clean energy industry while creating good-paying union jobs,” said Haaland. “We will continue using every tool in our toolbox to tackle the climate crisis, reduce our emissions to reach President Biden’s bold goals, and advance environmental justice.”