The Washington State Department of Natural Resources leases lands to a variety of clean energy projects on the 3 million acres of lands it manages across Washington state, and the agency also has forest products available for use as biomass. Revenue generated through these leases help support schools, counties, and critical services across Washington state.
DNR can help identify land and resources across the state that are suitable for energy projects, including sites with easy access to transmission lines. Developers can contact the Clean Energy Program to find the right location for their next energy project.
In December 2022, DNR launched a first-of-its-kind interactive map to responsibly site clean energy development on state trust lands, including site characteristics and lease expiration information.
Washington state has tax exemptions available for qualifying clean energy projects that meet certain labor standards, up to a 100 percent sales tax exemption for projects that use a project labor agreement certified by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.
DNR leases land and sells forest products to generate revenue for trust beneficiaries (schools, counties, etc.). When DNR receives interest, a lease or sale is typically put up for public auction. Leases for energy projects can last up to 55 years. Biomass contracts are typically 12 months long.
Land use licenses are also available for initial surveying and review of a property. This is a non-exclusive right to perform actives such as surveys of the parcel, and no ground-disturbing actives are allowed.
DNR has lands available for lease across the state with high solar potential and access to energy transmission. Three solar projects on DNR lands are currently under lease. DNR is currently analyzing its state trust lands to identify potential solar development lease opportunities and build a map of properties for potential leases.
Some DNR-managed lands are in parts of Washington with significant potential for wind power generation.
As of 2020, 20 wind projects on DNR-managed lands were in operation. 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.
The Washington Geological Survey maintains a geothermal resources layer on its Geologic Information Portal that interested parties can use to see and map areas of interest. Some DNR-managed lands have geothermal potential that has yet to be explored. Additional information about geothermal resources in Washington can be found here.
As a timber harvest byproduct, forest biomass is a promising source of renewable energy. A growing biomass-to-energy industry may help to reduce the fuel load in Washington state’s forests while creating jobs and contributing to the state’s clean energy economy. Biomass can also be used for biochar, products from distilling (such as oil), and other chemicals. For information on currently available biomass, please contact us or visit our Biomass webpage.
DNR lands are available for a wide range of clean energy projects, such as energy storage and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Contact the Clean Energy Program to discuss potential projects.