BLM Arizona advances development in solar energy zones
Development could produce as much as 825 megawatts of solar energy
PHOENIX — As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to achieve a carbon-pollution-free electricity sector by 2035 and meet the Energy Act of 2020’s goal of permitting 25 gigawatts of renewable energy on public land by 2025, the Bureau of Land Management today auctioned utility-scale solar energy development leases in each of the three solar energy zones in Arizona. The development from the resulting leases and right-of-way could produce as much as 825 megawatts of solar energy.
Heliogen, Inc. placed the high bid of $114,428 for a lease in the Brenda solar energy zone, near Lake Havasu City, and Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC placed a high bid of $78,728 for a lease in the Agua Caliente solar energy zone, east of Yuma. There were no bids for the Gillespie solar energy zone, southwest of Phoenix, so the BLM made the lands available for application for a non-competitive grant, and accepted a solar energy right-of-way application for that zone from Candela Renewables.
Solar energy zones are areas of public land designated for competitive leasing for utility-scale solar energy development. In Arizona, three solar energy zones have been designated: the 3,348-acre Brenda solar energy zone, 2,560-acre Agua Caliente solar energy zone, and 2,618-acre Gillespie solar energy zone. The BLM Arizona State Office received interest from potential developers to lease lands within each solar energy zone.
“This auction of solar energy zone leases represents a proactive effort by the BLM to implement responsible renewable energy policy,” said Ray Suazo, BLM Arizona State Director. “The auction will contribute to the target of permitting 25 gigawatts of renewable energy on public lands by 2025, per the Energy Act of 2020.”
This auction furthers the Administration’s goals of promoting responsible renewable energy generation on public land (Executive Order 14008). Full development of all solar energy zones in Arizona would produce approximately 825 megawatts of solar energy.
The solar energy zones were previously analyzed and designated in the BLM’s Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (2012) and Renewable Arizona: Restoration Design Energy Project (2013). These efforts were the product of extensive stakeholder involvement, including conservation organizations, state and local governments, Tribes, solar energy industry representatives, and cooperating federal agencies. The BLM will conduct environmental reviews of site-specific development proposed by the companies prior to development.
Additional information on the leases and auction can be found at: https://go.usa.gov/xMXRG
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.