Developing a robust and sustainable clean energy economy “I believe that a clean energy future is within our grasp, but it will take all of us and the best available science to make it happen.” —Secretary Deb Haaland From coastal towns and rural farms, to urban centers and Tribal communities, climate change poses an existential threat — not just to our environment, but to our health, our communities, and our economic well-being. At the Department of the Interior, we know that the time to act on climate is now. Renewable energy — including solar, onshore and offshore wind, geothermal, and wave and tidal energy projects — will help communities across the country be part of the climate solution while creating good-paying union jobs. The Biden-Harris administration is taking an all-of-government approach toward its ambitious renewable energy goals that will create jobs to support families, boost local economies, and help address environmental injustice. As directed by President Biden’s Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, the Interior Department has partnered with other federal agencies to increase renewable energy production on public lands and waters —including a commitment to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind by 2035, and a target goal of permitting at least 25 gigawatts of onshore renewable energy by 2025. To facilitate this transition to clean energy and meet our ambitious goals, the Department has announced a new offshore wind leasing strategy, which includes holding up to seven new offshore wind lease sales by 2025. This strategy provides two crucial ingredients for success: more certainty for industry, and transparency for our stakeholders and ocean users. Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, the Department has approved the nation's first five commercial scale offshore wind projects, held three offshore wind lease auctions – including a record-breaking sale offshore New York and the first-ever sale offshore the Pacific and Gulf Coasts, initiated environmental review of 10 offshore wind projects, and advanced the process to explore additional Wind Energy Areas in Oregon, Gulf of Maine and Central Atlantic. The Department has also taken steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive towards union-built projects and a domestic based supply chain. Onshore, the Biden-Harris administration is expanding renewable energy technologies like wind, solar, and geothermal across public lands while upholding essential regulatory and review processes to avoid adverse human and wildlife impacts. These efforts are bolstered by ongoing updates to the Western Solar Plan, which helps identify where solar resources are high and conflicts are low for accessible and reliable renewable energy for more families across the country. The demand for renewable energy has never been greater. The technological advances, increased interest, cost effectiveness, and tremendous economic potential make these projects a promising path for diversifying our national energy portfolio while at the same time combatting climate change and investing in communities. At every step of the way, the Interior Department will undertake these goals with broad engagement, including fishermen, outdoor enthusiasts, sovereign Tribal nations, states, territories, local officials, agricultural and forest landowners, and others to identify strategies and goals that reflect the priorities of all communities. Resources: Offshore renewable energy development Onshore renewable energy development Tribal renewable energy development Learning About Renewable Energy Solar Energy The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) is an innovative landscape-level plan that streamlines renewable energy development while conserving unique and valuable desert ecosystems and provides outdoor recreation opportunities. Photo courtesy of Tom Brewster Photography. Caption Solar Energy Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on Earth. Within an hour and a half, the amount of sunlight that strikes the Earth’s surface is enough to handle the entire world's energy consumption for a full year. When the sun shines onto a solar panel, energy from the sunlight is absorbed by the photovoltaic cells in the panel. This energy creates electrical charges that move in response to an internal electrical field in the cell, which causes electricity to flow. Onshore Solar Photo by Jessica K. Robertson, USGS. Caption Onshore Solar The Bureau of Land Management manages millions of acres of public lands with excellent onshore solar energy potential. Across the 245 million acres of public land it manages, the BLM currently has prioritized a combined total of roughly 870,000 acres for solar energy development within its land use plans. Under a scenario where 8.5 acres is needed to generate 1 megawatt of electricity from photovoltaic solar panels, these prioritized areas could support more than 100 gigawatts of electricity, which is enough to power more than 29 million homes. In addition to the prioritized areas, the BLM maintains more than 19 million additional acres as open for potential solar development, subject to a variance process. As directed by President Biden’s Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, Interior has partnered with other federal agencies to increase renewable energy production on public lands and waters — including a target goal of permitting at least 25 gigawatts of onshore renewable energy by 2025. To meet this goal, we recently approved a new solar energy project on public lands that will deliver enough power to energize approximately 87,500 homes. Offshore Solar Photo by BOEM. Caption Offshore Solar Oceans cover more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface, so they receive an enormous amount of solar energy. Deep ocean currents, waves and winds all are a result of the sun's radiant energy and differential heating of the Earth’s surface and oceans. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is responsible for offshore renewable energy development in federal waters. While there are no commercial solar energy facilities currently operating offshore, BOEM anticipates future development on the Outer Continental Shelf. Solar radiation has the potential to be converted directly to usable energy through a variety of technologies, including concentrating solar power and photonic technology. Onshore Wind Photo by Tom Brewster Photography. Caption Onshore Wind All wind turbines operate in the same basic manner. As the wind blows, it flows over the airfoil-shaped blades of wind turbines, causing the turbine blades to spin. The blades are connected to a drive shaft that turns an electric generator to produce electricity. The newest wind turbines are technologically advanced and include engineering and mechanical innovations to help maximize efficiency and increase the production of electricity. The Bureau of Land Management manages more than 20 million acres of public lands in 11 western states with wind energy potential. Over the past two decades, wind energy has seen dramatic increases in use in the United States and worldwide. Currently, about 5 percent of total producing utility-scale wind energy capacity in the United States is generated from facilities located on public lands. The BLM has approved wind energy projects on public lands since 1982. As of May 2021, there were 36 BLM-approved wind energy projects on public lands with a combined total of over 2,900 megawatts of approved capacity, enough to power one million homes. Offshore Wind Photo by BOEM. Caption Offshore Wind The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is responsible for offshore renewable energy development in Federal waters, and is paving the way for the future of this innovative industry. Offshore wind is an abundant domestic energy resource. Offshore wind energy projects open new opportunities for accessing stronger winds, building larger-scale projects, creating domestic jobs and revitalizing ports. Our goal is to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. Meeting this wind energy target will trigger more than $12 billion per year in capital investment in projects on both U.S. coasts, create tens of thousands of good-paying, union jobs, with more than 44,000 workers employed in offshore wind by 2030 and nearly 33,000 additional jobs in communities supported by offshore wind activity. It will also generate enough power to meet the demand of more than 10 million American homes for a year and avoid 78 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. To meet these goals, we recently approved the first large-scale, offshore wind project in the United States, which will create 3,600 jobs and provide enough power for 400,000 homes and businesses. Geothermal Photo by Chris Farrar, USGS. Caption Geothermal Geothermal energy is the heat produced deep in the Earth’s core and a renewable resource that generates electricity with minimal carbon emissions. It is an abundant resource, especially in the West, where the BLM has authority to manage geothermal leasing on approximately 245 million acres of public lands (including 104 million acres of U.S. Forest Service lands). Geothermal energy is used to heat buildings and operate greenhouses and aquaculture operations. Types of unharnessed geothermal energy include eruptions of lava, water and steam. Hydropower Hoover Dam and the bypass bridge. Photo by Alexander Stephens, Bureau of Reclamation. Caption Hydropower Hydroelectric energy is produced by the force of falling water. When water builds up behind a high dam, it accumulates potential energy. This is transformed into mechanical energy when the dam gates are opened, water flows through a pipe called a penstock and applies pressure to turbines, making them turn. Just like in other kinds of power plants, the spinning turbines power a generator to produce electricity. Dams must have a powerful streamflow and enough vertical distance for the water to flow between the reservoir and the river below the power plant to effectively produce electricity. The Bureau of Reclamation maintains approximately 500 dams and operates more than 300 reservoirs, including Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and Grand Coulee on the Columbia River. Reclamation is the second largest producer of hydropower in the United States and operates 53 hydroelectric powerplants that annually produced, on average, 40 billion kilowatt-hours for the last 10 years. Ocean Wave Energy (Hydrokinetic) Photo by BOEM. Caption Ocean Wave Energy (Hydrokinetic) Ocean waves contain tremendous energy potential. Wave power devices extract energy directly from the surface motion of ocean waves. In many areas of the world, the wind blows with enough consistency and force to provide continuous waves along the shoreline. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is responsible for offshore renewable energy development in federal waters, and recently issued a lease for the first wave energy research project on the West Coast. A variety of technologies have the potential to capture that energy and some of the more promising designs are undergoing demonstration testing. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides useful maps and tools regarding wave energy. Ocean Current Energy (Hydrokinetic) Photo by BOEM. Caption Ocean Current Energy (Hydrokinetic) The relatively constant flow of ocean currents moves large amounts of water across the Earth’s oceans. Researchers are developing new technologies that can extract energy from ocean currents and convert it into usable power. While the United States and other countries are pursuing ocean current energy, it is still in the early stages of development. Submerged water turbines, like wind turbines, may be deployed on the Outer Continental Shelf in the coming years to extract energy from ocean currents. Biomass Photo by the Department of Energy. Caption Biomass There are many types of biomass resources such as forestry residues, municipal solid waste, unrecyclable plastics, agricultural crops and other organic wastes. These materials can be converted into useable forms of energy including heat, electricity and fuels through incineration, gasification, anaerobic digestion or pyrolysis. Industrial scale applications include fuels production and distribution, which can take the form of ethanol, biodiesel, wood pellets and wood chips. Many Tribes have access to a wide range of these biomass resources. The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Division of Energy and Mineral Development facilitates all aspects of energy development for Tribes, including renewable and distributed energy development.