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Release Date: 03/14/14
Contacts: Amy Krause (BLM) , 202-912-7236  

BLM Seeks Public Interest for Solar Energy Development in the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Washington, D.C. - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced that it is accepting preliminary right-of-way (ROW) applications and expressions of interest from interested parties for conducting a solar competitive auction on the 5,717–acre Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone in Clark County, Nevada.

The BLM's current action builds on the Western Solar Energy Plan, a two-year planning effort conducted on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Energy to expand domestic energy production and spur development of solar energy on public lands in six western states.  The Western Solar Energy Plan provides a blueprint for utility-scale solar energy permitting in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah by establishing Solar Energy Zones with access to existing or planned transmission, incentives for development within those Solar Energy Zones, and a process through which to consider additional Solar Energy Zones and solar projects.

This public notification is the first step toward possible competitive solar energy development on public lands in the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone.  Once the 30 day notice period closes, the BLM will review all submissions from interested parties to see if other companies are interested in developing solar energy in these areas. If the BLM determines that sufficient competition exists, it may use a competitive bidding process, consistent with its regulations, to select a preferred applicant in the Solar Energy Zone.

“By locating projects in areas of high development potential and low resource conflict, the BLM is providing a more predictable process for industry while ensuring better outcomes for communities and the environment,” said Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze.  “In addition, competitive bidding for solar energy development ensures that we are securing a fair return for the American taxpayer.”

Today’s announcement also includes the release of the "Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone,” a pilot effort by the BLM that identifies mitigation priorities and options in advance of development.  The strategy takes into account the resource conditions of the land and regional trends informed by BLM's recent Rapid Ecoregional Assessments.  Regional mitigation plans are intended to provide a more predictable and effective landscape-scale approach to mitigation, while providing both greater certainty for project developers and more benefit to the natural resources affected by energy development.  The Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone is the first of several pilot plans to be developed by the BLM.  

The strategy was developed in collaboration with dozens of stakeholders to address key issues such as where and how mitigation may be achieved and the costs associated with doing so.  The BLM will conduct additional stakeholder outreach on the development of future regional mitigation strategies for solar energy zones.

The Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone is available online at: 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Last updated: 03-14-2014