On November 28, 2011, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk announced the beginning of a major reform of federal surface leasing regulations for American Indian Lands.  The Department of the Interior, as trustee responsible for managing approximately 56 million surface acres in Indian Country, currently processes requests for land leases and subleases without a defined process or deadline for review.  Attempts to engage in lease or mortgage transactions can languish for years.
Continue Reading A Boon for Renewable Energy Projects- Department of the Interior Proposes Reforms of Leasing Regulations on American Indian Land

On October 6, 2010, Secretary Salazar and Cape Wind Associates, LLC signed the first lease for commercial wind energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf (“OCS”), the Cape Wind Project.  The Cape Wind Project has 130 planned wind turbines which could then create up to 468 megawatts, with an average output of 182 megawatts.  The Cape Wind Project could power over 200,000 homes in Massachusetts, roughly 75 percent of electricity demand in Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Island.  The lease for the Cape Wind Project is for 28 years and will cost Cape Wind Associates a 2 to 7 percent operating fee while in production which equals $88,278 a year.
Continue Reading Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Signs the First Lease for Commercial Wind Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf

On January 29, 2010, the U.S. Department of Interior (“DOI”) and Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced that the agencies have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) to collaborate in developing commercial-scale offshore renewable energy projects on the Outer Continental Shelf (“OCS”). 
Continue Reading DOI and DOE Sign MOU on Offshore Renewable Energy Projects

On April 21, 2010, the U.S. Department of the Interior (“Interior” or “DOI”) issued the nation’s first Request for Interest for the development of renewable energy projects on the Outer Continental Shelf.  The Request for Interest covers federal waters in between the shipping routes of the Delaware Bay off the coast of Delaware. 
Continue Reading DOI Initiates Process to Lease Wind Projects on the Outer Continental Shelf

March 29, 2010

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Department of the Interior (DOI) through the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), and Department of the Army (DOA) through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), announced on March 24, 2010 the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the federal agencies to promote the development of hydropower.  Pursuant to the MOU, studies will be conducted over the next few years that may help industry determine which Federal dams and reservoirs would be best suited for non-Federal hydropower development.  The process will hopefully determine which sites will have the fewest roadblocks from stakeholders, including the federal dam owners themselves.  These studies may also lead to a determination of which projects can be most efficiently integrated into the grid. 
Continue Reading DOE, DOI, and Army Corps Sign MOU on Hydropower

On April 22, the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (“MMS”) approved final regulations to establish a program to grant leases, easements, and rights-of-way (“ROW”) for renewable energy activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (“OCS”). The final rule is effective as of June 29, 2009.
Continue Reading MMS Publishes Final Rules for Offshore Renewable Energy