An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

DNR Making Money For Schools From Renewable Energy Leases

Photo by Jennifer Roseman

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.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.