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Using Public Land to Advance Renewable Energy Goals

Public land, or land owned by a government, makes up a significant portion of the land within the United States. In fact, the federal government is the largest landowner in the U.S. The way that public lands are utilized has a direct impact on the stakeholders of public land, especially since there are millions of acres of public land across the country.

Stakeholder impact from how public land is utilized ranges from environmental and social impacts to economic and political implications. In particular, stewards of public land have a responsibility to manage land assets so that they can continue to support a clean energy future for all.

Leveraging Public Land to Achieve Mission-driven Goals

Public landowners range from federal and state governments to regional airports, local universities, cities, and counties. Although the type of public landowner varies, there is a similarity among all public landowners to achieve mission-driven goals, one example being supporting clean energy development. While private landowners have a more traditional objective of generating a profit or return on an investment, public landowners have an additional responsibility to leverage land assets to achieve mission-driven goals and support the health and vitality of the community that they represent. There are a few mission-driven goals that are common across most landowners and can be advanced by leveraging public properties. Here are a few common examples of common goals:

  1. Minimize ownership and carrying costs

  2. Maximize existing and new revenue streams

  3. Expand economic development and investment activities

  4. Supply the local electrical grid with new sources of carbon-free energy

  5. Support federal and local renewable portfolio standards

  6. Bolster government policies on renewable energy development

Expanding National Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Using Public Lands

At LandGate, we believe that the public and private sectors must be equally committed to advancing mission-driven goals, such as supporting clean energy production. Expanding the national renewable energy portfolio will require full commitment and partnership between both sectors. Currently, the Biden-Harris administration has a goal of 100% carbon pollution free electricity by 2035 and a net-zero carbon economy by 2025. Contributing public lands is necessary to come close to achieving this goal. Especially because of the large amount of public land in the United States. As stated by Peter Daniels, “ …for the United States to reach the widely recommended goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, it will have to site renewable energy projects on roughly 145 million acres.” The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the largest public landowner of federal lands in the United States. BLM is setting the tone for other public landowners to contribute land to expand the national renewable energy portfolio through the use of environmentally sound renewable energy programs.

Identifying Public Land to Advance Renewable Energy Goals

Public institutions make up the majority of landowners in the United States, so it's even more critical for public land to be utilized for increasing the renewable energy portfolio of the nation. The policies, regulations, and requirements for public landowners to accommodate renewable energy projects vary across the country. The BLM has a defined process for identifying possible sites that are suitable for renewable energy projects. One process is specific to renewable energy projects, and the other process is for engaging with third-parties interested in developing projects. LandGate provides a unique platform for public landowners interested in energy production on public land. From identifying specific sites suitable for renewable energy projects to engaging with a concentrated network of energy developers, LandGate can help government property owners leverage their land and rooftops for clean energy production from start to finish. The success of LandGate's platform and marketplace is evident by the success of the State of New Mexico. The State listed their property for lease for solar energy and battery storage on LandGate’s marketplace in Q1 of 2023. The listing drew in multiple qualified offers, and a winning lessee was selected in June 2023. With the lease agreement secured, the lessee will begin developing the designated land in 2024, bringing the New Mexico Land Office closer to a cleaner, more sustainable future.

screenshot of a closed listing on landgate's marketplace
The State of New Mexico's closed LandGate listing

Interested in learning about the renewable energy potential of your agency's specific properties? Book a call with our team to learn more about the potential of your properties and to discuss listing properties for lease on LandGate's marketplace:


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