In the last days of the Obama administration, the Bureau of Land Management raised the rent for large scale renewable energy projects located on federal lands. Solar and wind farm operators like federal land because it tends to have wide-open space available. The energy operators pushed back, and in late 2018 the Trump administration put the rent payments on a hiatus while it reviewed the higher charges, which are based on acreage and power generated.
Now the waiting game is over, and the charges are back. Recently the BLM sent rent invoices to the energy project owners, but not just for the current month. The BLM is charging back rent as well, which means millions of dollars in new charges during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Interior Department expects to collect $50 million in rent fees for wind and solar projects in 2020, up from $1.1 million last year, and more than double what it collected in 2018.
It’s not quite $3 trillion, but every little bit of revenue will help pay for the coronavirus relief efforts.