The Washington Department of Natural Resources is making money these days by leasing land that is used for generating renewable energy.
The money raised goes to the state and school funding.
DNR has 21 properties leased to wind generation projects that generate 150 megawatts per year, which brings in $1.25 million for schools annually.
Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz says the state also has leases for two solar projects, which will be the largest solar projects in the state.
“They will actually be able to generate enough energy for 25,000 homes, and we have 33 solar projects in the pipeline that will be going out for auction for solar developers," Franz said.
She says the renewable energy sites were selected for how viable they are for that type of generation and that has dramatically increased the value of the property.
“In the past we may have gotten $1.43 an acre, and we’re now getting $1,100-1,400 hundred per acre. It’s a 98,000% increase in revenue for our schools,” she said.
DNR manages three million acres of trust lands that produce revenue for beneficiaries; the largest portion goes to schools.