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Using Public Land to Advance Renewable Energy Goals

Updated: Oct 20

Public land, or land owned by a government, makes up a significant portion of the land within the United States. The way that public lands are utilized have 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 range from environmental and social to economic and political. In particular, stewards of public land have a responsibility to manage land assets. So that it continues to support a clean energy future for all.

Leveraging public land to achieve mission-driven goals

Ownership entities of public land range from federal and state governments to regional airports, local universities, and counties. Although the type of public landowner varies, there is a similarity amongst all public landowners to achieve mission-driven goals. One example being clean energy development. A private landowner has 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. There are a few mission-driven goals that are common across most landowners and can be advanced by leveraging public lands and waters. These are several mission-driven goals that are common across public landowners:

  1. Minimize ownership and carrying costs

  2. Maximize existing and new revenue streams

  3. Expand economic development and investment activities

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

  5. Advance national renewable portfolio

Expanding national renewable energy portfolio using public lands

At LandGate, we believe that the public and private sectors must be equally committed to advancing mission-driven goals. Expanding the national renewable energy portfolio will require both full commitment and partnership between both sectors. This will allow for meaningful advancement towards achieving these very important goals. 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. One for specific renewable energy projects and one 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 sites for specific renewable energy projects to engaging with a concentrated network of energy developers. Public landowners can easily find investors seeking land for renewable energy projects. Viewing Victorville, CA as an example. The City can use LandGate to identify this site as a likely high-value solar opportunity. With LandGate’s exclusive data and custom reporting functions, the City is able to quantify the estimated lease payments received from monetizing this site for solar farm development. Equally as important, the City is able to quantify the estimated renewable energy that will supply the local grid.

  • Victorville, CA Public Land for Solar Farm Development

  • 13 acres of public land

  • $1,315 / ac / year or approximately $17,000 in lease revenue

Maximizing the 13 acres with approximately 7,000 solar panels would contribute over 4 megawatts of renewable energy annually. By combining these data points, the City is able to quantify how the contribution of their public land is increasing the national renewable energy portfolio.

Please connect with us for a more in-depth discussion about how LandGate can support efforts to monetize public land through renewable energy.


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