Bureau of Land Management solicits interest in solar development on public lands
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced it is soliciting interest for utility-scale solar energy development on nearly 90,000 acres of public land located across Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. Today’s solicitation is the agency’s largest for solar development interest since it designated 17 solar energy zones in a comprehensive 2012 solar energy planning effort.
“Scaling-up support for responsible renewable energy production is one of the BLM’s top priorities as we work across the Department of the Interior to lead the way in creating a clean energy economy in the United States,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “Today’s request for interest in these solar energy zones is an opportunity to expand the opportunities for the industry as we work to do our part to meet America’s energy needs.”
To date, the BLM has allocated roughly 870,000 acres of federal public land as environmentally preferrable for solar leasing based on the areas’ high potential for solar energy, suitability for utility-scale solar facilities, and limited potential for natural and cultural resource conflicts. The solar energy zones were previously analyzed and designated in the BLM’s 2012 Western Solar Plan, which was the product of extensive stakeholder involvement, including conservation organizations, state and local governments, Tribal Nations, solar energy industry representatives, and cooperating federal agencies.
The specific areas identified in this solicitation include: within Colorado - Antonito Southeast Solar Energy Zone (9,712 acres), DeTilla Gulch Solar Energy Zone (1,064 acres), and Los Mogotes East Solar Energy Zone (2,650 acres); within Nevada - Dry Lake Valley North Solar Energy Zone (25,069 acres), Gold Point Solar Energy Zone (4,596 acres), and Millers Solar Energy Zone (16,534 acres); and within New Mexico - Afton Solar Energy Zone (29,964 acres).
This effort builds on successful BLM competitive offers in recent months. In November, the BLM awarded three competitive solar leases on 4,800 acres within the Milford Flats Solar Energy Zone. The agency expects it will also finalize competitive solar leasing for 8,500 acres within the Gillespie, Brenda, and Agua Caliente Solar Energy Zones in Arizona before the end of December.
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.