WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior yesterday announced that it is taking the next steps toward permitting two proposed transmission projects, which will facilitate increased renewable energy development and delivery in Nevada.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is initiating the environmental review for the Greenlink North project and releasing a draft environmental impact statement for Greenlink West transmission projects, which together would help connect eight gigawatts of clean energy to the Western power grid.
These projects represent continued progress in the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to accelerate transmission buildout to lower consumers’ energy costs, prevent power outages in the face of extreme weather, create good-paying union jobs, and make progress towards achieving President Biden’s goal of a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035.
“The Department of the Interior is committed to expanding clean energy development to address climate change, enhance America’s energy security and provide for good-paying union jobs,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Laura Daniel-Davis. “Under President Biden and Secretary Haaland’s leadership, this Administration is taking an all-hands-on-deck approach toward ambitious clean energy goals that will support families, boost local economies, and help increase climate resilience in communities across the West.”
“Our public lands have a critical role to play in the clean energy transition,” said Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “In order to ensure healthy public lands in the future, the BLM must help lead the way on addressing climate change.”
The Greenlink West transmission project would run for more than 450 miles, connecting Las Vegas to Reno, and providing capacity for renewable energy development in Clark, Esmerelda, Lyon, Mineral, Nye and Storey counties. The notice of availability for Greenlink West opens a 90-day public comment period on the project’s draft environmental impact statement and associated resource management plan amendment. If approved, the Greenlink West transmission project is anticipated to have the potential to unlock up to 4 gigawatts of renewable energy.
The notice of intent for the Greenlink North transmission project, a 232-mile-long, 525 kV transmission line running through White Pine, Eureka, Lander, Churchill and Lyon counties, begins a 45-day scoping and public comment period to help inform the development of the BLM’s environmental impact statement for the project. If approved, the Greenlink North transmission project could also unlock up to 4 gigawatts of renewable energy.
The BLM aims to finalize the proposed documents and develop a record of decision for the Greenlink West project by late 2024, and to release draft environmental planning documents for the Greenlink North project for public comment later this year.
The initiation of environmental review for the Greenlink North project and release of a draft environmental impact statement for Greenlink West follow several other major milestones in the Department’s continued progress on clean energy projects, including: approval of the Sunzia Southwest Transmission Project in New Mexico; construction approval for California’s Sunlight Storage II 300 MW Battery Storage System; and next steps in the review of Utah’s Star Range Solar Project and Nevada’s proposed 300 MW Bonanza Solar Project.
Since 2021, the BLM has approved 35 projects (10 solar, 8 geothermal, and 17 gen-ties) on approximately 23,396 acres of BLM-managed lands. These projects are expected to produce 8,160 megawatts of electricity — enough to power more than 2.6 million homes.
The BLM is currently processing 74 utility-scale onshore clean energy projects proposed on public lands in the western United States. This includes solar, wind and geothermal projects, as well as interconnected gen-tie lines that are vital to clean energy projects proposed on non-federal land. These projects have the combined potential to add over 37,000 megawatts of renewable energy to the western electric grid. The BLM is also undertaking the preliminary review of over 150 applications for solar and wind development, as well as 51 applications for wind and solar energy testing.
The BLM manages vast stretches of public lands that are making significant contributions to the nation’s renewable energy portfolio. To promote the development of these energy sources, the BLM provides sites for environmentally sound development of renewable energy on public lands. The efficient permitting of renewable energy and transmission from our nation’s public lands is crucial in achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, as well as Congress’ direction in the Energy Act of 2020 to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025.
Courtesy of The Department of the Interior.
Featured image: The Blue Mountain geothermal plant in Humboldt County, Nevada. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL.
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