- BLM is soliciting proposals for solar energy development on close to 90,000 acres of public land
- This land is available in 7 solar energy zones in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico
- The solicitation follows its call for public comments on draft guidance to promote the use of wind and solar energy on public lands on December 3, 2021
The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has launched its largest solicitation for solar development to date, seeking interest for utility scale solar energy development on nearly 90,000 acres of public land across Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.
This land will be distributed in the following solar energy zones (SEZ):
- 9,712 acres in Antonito Southeast SEZ, Colorado
- 1,064 acres in DeTilla Gulch SEZ, Colorado
- 2,650 acres in Los Mogotes East SEZ, Colorado
- 25,069 acres in Dry Lake Valley North SEZ, Nevada
- 4,596 acres in Gold Point SEZ, Nevada
- 16,534 acres in Millers SEZ, Nevada
- 29,964 acres in Afton SEZ, New Mexico
The agency manages close to 245 million acres of public land in 12 Western states of the US, including Alaska. Additionally, it also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate in the country. Of this, it has leased close to around 870,000 acres of federal public land with high potential for solar energy and limited potential for natural and cultural resource conflicts, for utility scale solar energy development out of 17 SEZs designated for solar.
Launched on December 20, 2021, the BLM will accept written expressions of interest (EOI) or nominations through January 20, 2022, as per the solicitation call.
This call comes soon after the agency awarded 3 competitive solar leases on 4,800 acres of land within Milford Flats SEZ in November 2021. It expects to finalize competitive solar leasing for 8,500 acres within Gillespie, Brenda and Agua Caliente SEZs in Arizona before the end of December 2021.
On December 3, 2021, BLM also sought public input on draft guidance to promote the use of wind and solar energy on public lands with an aim to reduce acreage rental rates and capacity fee for existing authorizations for the 2 technologies on public lands. Till the time the policy is finalized, according to the BLM, it has paused annual billing for wind and solar authorizations. Comments to the draft can be submitted till February 2, 2022.