U.S. says it will cut costs for clean energy projects on public lands By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An array of solar panels is seen in the desert near Victorville, California, U.S. March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) – The Biden administration on Tuesday said it would substantially reduce the cost of building wind and solar energy projects on federal lands to help spur renewable energy development and address climate change.

The new policy comes after years of lobbying from clean power developers who argued that lease rates and fees for facilities on federal lands were too high to draw investment.

In a statement, the Department of Interior said rents and fees for solar and wind projects would fall by about 50%.

The administration also said it would boost the number of people processing renewable energy environmental reviews and permit applications through the creation of five coordinating offices in Washington, Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah.

The offices are expected to improve coordination with other federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of agriculture, energy and defense.

Interior is seeking to meet a congressional mandate to permit 25 gigawatts of renewable energy on federal lands by 2025. That is enough capacity to power about 4.75 million homes. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management permitted 2.89 GW last year, up 35% from the previous year.

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