The US just beat its goal to permit 25 GW of clean energy by 2025


The US Department of the Interior has now permitted more than 25 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy projects – surpassing its original 25 GW by 2025 goal.

25 GW of clean energy permits by 2024

Once the federally permitted 25 GW comes online, it will be enough clean energy to power more than 12 million homes across the US. 

The clean energy projects include solar, wind, and geothermal, as well as generation interconnect (gen-tie) lines on public lands to connect the projects on federal and non-federal land to the grid.

The Department of the Interior has now permitted nearly 29 GW of clean energy – enough to power more than 12 million homes across the US. Additionally, it’s also leased eight new areas in Solar Energy Zones with the capacity to generate nearly 2.5 GW of additional clean energy. 

As for what’s in the pipeline, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is currently processing permits for an additional 66 utility-scale clean energy projects proposed on public lands in the US West. Those projects could add more than 32 GW of renewable energy to the grid.

Around 200 applications for solar and wind, and more than 100 applications for solar and wind energy site area testing, are at the BLM’s preliminary review stage. All projects are tracked on this public online dashboard.

The BLM also announced today that two solar farms – the Arica and Victory Pass projects in California – are now online, adding 465 megawatts (MW) of clean electricity to the grid. That means more than 10 GW of clean energy is now generated on public lands, powering more than 5 million homes across the West. 

Electrek’s Take

Beating the permitting 25 GW of clean energy by 2025 goal is great news and something worth celebrating.

But all that permitted clean energy needs to come online, and that requires transmission capacity and grid upgrades. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is working on a proposed rule to reform planning processes, and it finalized its interconnection rule to speed grid access in 2023.

However, the World Resources Institute reports, “Together, the 36 major transmission projects that could begin construction in the near-term represent only about 10% of the transmission investment needed in the US.” Power lines take a decade to build, but technology to increase capacity on existing lines is rolling out fast, so that could ease the backlog a bit.

Plus, FERC last year issued Order No. 2023, which requires transmission providers to, among other things, transition from a “first-come, first-served” to a “first-ready, first-served” cluster study process, and that will improve interconnection wait times.

Upgrading the national grid and bringing clean energy online is monumental. It’s going in the right direction, but the WRI declared the current rate of progress “insufficient,” and I have to agree. It’s time to use all our resources – and we have what we need – to bring this clean energy online much faster than our current pace.

Read more: The largest clean energy project in US history closes $11B, starts full construction

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