Tester sponsors bills to promote wind, solar, and geothermal development

Senator: Use renewable energy to strengthen jobs, America’s energy future

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) –  Senator Jon Tester is sponsoring legislation to ramp up the development of wind, solar and geothermal energy as an critical component of America’s more secure energy future.

Tester today introduced two bills to streamline the leasing process on public lands and add more assistance for geothermal energy development. 

The two bills are:

  • The Wind and Solar Leasing Act will alter leasing on public lands to a competitive process for renewable energy development while also ensuring that states and counties get a part of revenue from that new development.  The bill moves to leasing by competitive bidding on public lands instead of the current rights of way application that are granted on a first-come, first-served basis.  It also sets up a compensation fund to minimize the impact on the land.
  • The Geothermal Exploration Act will help energy companies with the up-front costs associated with exploration and drilling for geothermal resources. The bill will set up a loan fund that the Department of Energy will administer to assist companies with higher risk development projects.

“Montana has tremendous potential to create jobs and opportunity in renewable energy development, especially with our wind, solar and geothermal resources,” Tester said. “The key is to support the development efforts of energy companies while making sure communities benefit from the responsible energy development on public lands.”

Tester is also pushing for the BLM to ramp up its efforts to develop renewable energy projects in Montana. After Tester pushed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to ramp up the agency’s renewable energy efforts in Montana, Salazar announced that Montana’s renewable energy office will be fully staffed.

Tester today joined Senator Harry Reid in introducing the two bills.