Leasing Renewable Energy on State Trust Lands in the Intermountain West
Renewable energy is a growing market in the United States. Consumers are increasingly seeking alternatives to fossil fuels for a variety of reasons: to reduce carbon emissions; to support domestic sources of energy; and as a hedge against price fluctuation in oil markets. Many states have adopted renewable portfolio standards that require a percentage of energy to come from renewable sources.
State trust lands could play an important role in the growing market for renewable energy. These lands, covering 35 million acres in the Intermountain West, were granted to the states by Congress to support public education and other public institutions. In each state, state trust land managers search for a variety of innovative and sustainable ways to generate income from these lands in order to support their beneficiaries.
All of the states in the Intermountain West have pursued renewable energy projects on trust lands to some degree, although none have met their full potential in the renewable energy sector. This report discusses the status and trends of renewable energy on state trust lands, and makes recommendations for ways to better incorporate renewable energy into state trust land portfolios.