High Country’s Renewable Energy Initiatives

Renewable energy differs from fossil fuels by being drawn from naturally regenerative resources and can be used to generate electricity, heat and motive power.

The Biden-Harris Administration is advancing renewable energy projects on public lands while adhering to established environmental review procedures. For these endeavors to succeed, however, they require smart grid technology and skilled workers.


Renewable energy has experienced explosive growth as we transition toward a low carbon future, yet still faces considerable obstacles such as cost pressures, grid restrictions, project delays and supply chain constraints. To make matters worse, global efforts need to move toward net zero emissions by 2050 – creating even greater obstacles to its expansion.

New technologies are revolutionizing renewable capabilities and helping them overcome many of their difficulties, which is set to accelerate deployment and move the industry forward as it provides clean and affordable power for families across America.

New York is leading the charge in pioneering a new era of renewable energy. Governor Kathy Hochul’s office announced one of the largest conditional land-based large-scale renewable awards ever in U.S. history this year, totaling 6.4 gigawatts. These projects will stimulate billions in investment while creating thousands of long-term jobs throughout New York state.

In addition, this announcement featured the largest offshore wind solicitation ever undertaken in U.S. history and innovative leasing provisions designed to support prevailing wage and project labor agreements, advanced manufacturing credits for Made in America wind turbine components production and new investments in transmission planning and port infrastructure as well as improved leasing and permitting processes.

EERE is making significant strides toward our goal of permitting 25 GW of solar, wind and geothermal energy on public lands by 2025. In just the past four years alone, we’ve issued nine onshore wind projects and eight projects with interconnection lines on public land; two solar and six wind repowering projects on public land were also approved and processing has started for over 12 priority solar, onshore wind, and geothermal energy projects.

EERE’s buildings and industrial technology work is also helping accelerate the transition to renewable energy for both commercial and residential buildings, leading to lower energy costs for both businesses and homeowners while decreasing carbon pollution. Furthermore, they’re supporting innovative transportation projects designed to cut emissions in both freight and passenger transportation sectors.

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Solar energy is the fastest and most cost-effective method of producing electricity, capable of powering every home in America. It has numerous advantages such as reduced pollution levels, clean air and water sources, jobs created in high growth industries as well as tax credits offered to homeowners using this renewable source of power. Click here for more information about renewable energy at home including state incentives available to home-owners.

Renewables are also revolutionizing our nation’s energy grid, hastening the shift away from coal and gas power sources. Solar and wind’s meteoric rise has produced an uneven energy landscape: historic investments, competitiveness and demand drive their development while grid, supply chain and workforce challenges hamper its progress.

The Administration is working tirelessly to bring the benefits of clean energy to all Americans, particularly the most vulnerable. For instance, the Department of Agriculture is creating a pilot program to fund community-based clean energy projects in rural communities; Commerce’s Economic Development Administration uses American Rescue Plan funds to support regional coalitions that are growing industry clusters focused on clean energy deployment and job training; while HHS LIHEAP keeps families safe by helping reduce energy costs through weatherization services, bill payment assistance services, energy crisis aid packages and home energy efficiency services.

As renewable energy production ramps up, the Biden-Harris Administration is making sure it benefits all Americans. They’ve invested $10 million into a Community Solar Subscription Platform that will create good-paying long-term jobs within this sector – part of their Build Back Better initiative using American Rescue Plan funding to strengthen regional economies and ensure equitable economic recovery from pandemic.

Solar is becoming an ever-increasing part of our global energy mix. Namibia recently opened the first seawater desalination plant using solar energy to drive pumps that remove salt from water – using 70% lower life-cycle costs than traditional fuel-powered systems and with 70% fewer operational requirements than their traditional equivalents. EERE works towards making such advancements more accessible to developing nations through various programs involving training and technical assistance, financing options and grants.

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Biofuels offer renewable energy solutions by directly replacing fossil fuels used to power engines with them, cutting emissions by cutting carbon dioxide levels. They’re an integral component of combatting climate change while helping heat homes and fuel vehicles – as well as being blended with traditional petroleum-based fuels for use as an additive or standalone. Biofuel production comes from corn, soy beans, wheat crops and grasses among other sources as well as tree bark. Animal waste or municipal solid waste may all serve as potential sources for producing biofuel.

The Biden-Harris Administration is increasing renewable energy technologies like wind, solar, and geothermal across public lands while upholding essential regulatory processes to avoid adverse human or wildlife impacts. USDA is supporting several projects aimed at developing renewables and improving energy efficiency in rural communities nationwide.

Biofuels offer great promise to American workers while helping reduce our dependence on foreign oil through reduced gasoline prices and new market opportunities for American farmers and ranchers. The USDA is investing in various clean energy projects to meet President Biden’s goal of lower energy costs for Americans while simultaneously decreasing carbon pollution levels.

DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) is working to advance clean energy technologies that will assist the Biden-Harris Administration in meeting its ambitious climate goals while creating economic opportunities. These investments include renewable chemicals and biofuels which diversify the economy while increasing domestic production.

LPO is using its diverse loan portfolio to assist innovative projects utilizing biomass and advanced biofuels, solar, wind, geothermal, ocean energy and advanced transportation systems – projects which will accelerate our nation’s transition towards a net zero economy while upholding American leadership on climate change issues.

Appalachian State University Biodiesel Collaborative was awarded $17,500 from Appropriate Technology Program funding to install a 1.7 kW photovoltaic system at their biodiesel facility. The system features 10 regionally made 170-watt Sharp modules with real-time web monitoring and an SMA Sunnyboy 2500 grid interactive inverter; offsetting current and projected utility demand while saving over $17,500 annually in electricity costs.


The Biden Administration is making significant strides toward its goal of permitting 25 gigawatts (GW) of solar, wind, and geothermal energy on public lands by 2025. Since President Obama took office, the Bureau of Land Management has readied offshore areas for harnessing wind energy; approved new solar projects on public land; and initiated processing on 54 priority projects that together total 27.5 GW.

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Renewable technologies also offer solutions to global water challenges, with solar powered seawater desalination being one such example of how renewables can help. By cutting costs by 70% when compared with traditional systems using fossil fuels for power, Namibia recently became the first country in the world to use solar to produce green hydrogen, which can then be used in vehicles as well as stored as energy for heating and cooling homes.

For nations to meet the Sustainable Development Goal of Water by 2030, investments must be increased in water infrastructure, providing affordable access to affordable, clean and safe drinking water for all. This requires rapid implementation of renewables and efficiency initiatives within electricity sectors which account for most global water consumption.

Communities can support responsible clean energy development in their area by instituting programs that promote local ownership, workforce development and entrepreneurship. EERE offers funding to support these goals as well as programs providing siting assistance, connecting renewable energy to the grid and supporting community-led energy projects. Learn more about available funding opportunities here and apply for grants here.

Rural communities can take advantage of the energy transition by joining forces with industry to invest in renewable projects that create jobs and enhance quality of life – for instance, Yakama Nation in Washington is currently working alongside Rye Development on building a solar power plant which will harness solar energy directly at home on tribal lands.

Klickitat County in Klickatat County has begun conducting feasibility studies for a pumped storage project that would make use of Columbia River’s steep banks and gorges as an energy resource, helping reduce transmission costs while increasing reliability by storing renewable electricity in a lower reservoir during times of high demand and then releasing it back upstream at times of lower demand.