Renewable Energy Efforts
DNR has the opportunity to help reshape our energy use around renewable sources, to improve energy independence, and to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, creating new industries and jobs in the process. In developing a renewable energy program for state lands, DNR will consider a variety of renewable energy sources, including wind, biomass, solar, wave/tidal, geothermal, and others as they emerge.
The Department is committed to exploring ways to produce clean energy generation on state lands. DNR managed lands currently have wind and solar potential. Additionally, through the agency’s biomass initiative, DNR is working to reduce the incidences of forest fires and increase forest health while simultaneously contributing to the State’s clean energy economy.
Forest Biomass Energy
Forest biomass based energy is energy and energy products that are derived from forest biomass in Washington’s forests. As Washington’s forests face the challenges that arise from a changing climate, the risk of forest fires and the prevalence of forest pests and diseases are increasing. These risks are magnified when coupled with unmanaged forests and the buildup of forest biomass due to past fire exclusion. Elevating Washington forest biomass-to-energy industry will not only help address these issues by creating markets for treatment to reduce the fuel load in our forests, but promise to contribute to Washington’s clean energy economy and create green jobs in the process.
Some of the land managed by the Department of Natural Resource is located in parts of the state that have significant wind power potential. There are currently five operation wind projects on 20,126 acres of land managed by the DNR. The projects produce up to 105.42 MW of energy a year and generate $653,800 a year for state beneficiaries. These projects create jobs in rural parts of the state. The agency is developing a comprehensive strategy to continue to encourage wind power production on state lands.
The DNR is investigating solar power generation potential on state trust lands. There are currently no solar installations on state trust lands; however, the agency is working to identify lands with high solar capacity. The next steps will include following the model created in our leases for existing and planned wind projects.
Geothermal Energy can be extracted from the heat stored in the earth. It can be a cost-effective, reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly source of power or heat. Geothermal energy has been used to generate electricity and as a direct heat source in areas along tectonic plate boundaries such as the Pacific Ring of Fire and has the potential to help mitigate global warming. DNR’s Division of Geology and Earth Resources is a leader in helping develop Washington’s geothermal resources.
Additional information on Geothermal Energy