When the energy industry shows interest, Washington’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) may hold auctions to lease state-managed lands—mostly state trust lands—for oil exploration, gas exploration, wind farms, or commercial-scale solar energy production. We welcome recommendations for areas of energy interest to be included in upcoming lease auctions.
Some of the lands managed by DNR is located in parts of the state that have significant wind power potential. As of 2015, there were 17 operational wind projects and 115 wind turbines on lands DNR-managed lands. These projects create jobs in rural areas and are capable of generating up to 208 megawatts of energy. These wind leases produce about $1 million per year for state beneficiaries.
As a timber harvest by-product, forest biomass is a promising source of renewable energy. A growing biomass-to-energy industry may help to reduce the fuel load in our forests while creating jobs and contributing to Washington’s clean energy economy.
DNR is interested in solar power generation on state trust lands. Although there are currently no solar installations on state trust lands, we are working to identify lands with high solar capacity. Please contact us if you have a proposal for a feasible solar power project on state lands.
Geothermal energy can be extracted from the heat stored in the earth as a cost-effective, reliable, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly source of power or heat. Areas along tectonic plate boundaries, such as the Pacific Ring of Fire where Washington state is located, have potential for geothermal power development. DNR’s Division of Geology and Earth Resources maintains a geothermal resources layer on its Geologic Information Portal that will allow you to see and make a map of the area you're interested in.
Oil and Gas
DNR leases lands for petroleum and natural gas exploration and production. Bonus bid incomes, rentals, and royalty revenues generated by leasing state lands benefit the associated trust beneficiaries.