The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is planning to hold its first competitive auction for public land for solar project development later this year.
The auction, billed by the BLM as part of a drive by the Obama administration to spur renewable energy development on federal land, will be for sites in two ‘Solar energy zones’ (SEZ) in Colorado.
Preferred bidders selected through the auction process will be invited to submit applications for utility-scale solar energy projects on over 1,500 hectares of in the De Tilla gulch and Los Mogotes East solar energy zones in Conejos and Saguache counties.
“This process will facilitate the department’s priority approach to making appropriate public lands available for renewable energy development in the solar energy zones and ensure a fair return to taxpayers for the commercial use of these lands,” said Helen Hankins, BLM Colorado state director.
The zones are two of 17 SEZ sites created in the Western Solar Plan approved last year. SEZs are sites specifically earmarked for solar development, offering developers existing or planned transmission connections and incentives for development.
A further SEZ was approved in Arizona in January and another one in California last week, taking the total to 19.
The SEZ auction will take place on 24 October at the BLM office in Lakewood, Colorado.