US’ BLM soliciting for utility-scale solar projects on 90,000 acres of state land

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The BLM said the areas were chosen because of their high solar potential and suitable environmental conditions. Image: Amonix Solar

The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is soliciting interest for utility-scale solar projects on nearly 90,000 acres of public land located across Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, constituting the agency’s largest solar interest since 2012.

The specific areas identified in the solicitation are as follows:

Colorado

  • Antonito Southeast Solar Energy Zone (9,712 acres)
  • DeTilla Gulch Solar Energy Zone (1,064 acres)
  • Los Mogotes East Solar Energy Zone (2,650 acres)

Nevada

  • Dry Lake Valley North Solar Energy Zone (25,069 acres)
  • Gold Point Solar Energy Zone (4,596 acres)
  • Millers Solar Energy Zone (16,534 acres)

New Mexico

  • Afton Solar Energy Zone (29,964 acres)

“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,” said BLM director Tracy Stone-Manning.

To date, the BLM, part of the US Department of the Interior (DOI), 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 and suitability for utility-scale solar plants.

The solicitation builds on recent solar offers by the BLM. In November, it awarded three solar leases on 4,800 acres within the Milford Flats Solar Energy Zone in Utah, and it expects to finalise leasing arrangements for a further 8,500 acres within the Gillespie, Brenda and Agua Caliente Solar Energy Zones in Arizona before the end of December.

In August, the agency launched a public review on a draft environmental analysis for two solar-plus-storage farms in California, which will include 465MW of solar and 400MW of energy storage. It announced yesterday that it had approved the projects, which will result in a “combined infrastructure investment of about US$689 million”.

And in April it established a new Climate Task Force to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy generation across the country and revoked several Trump administration policies promoting fossil fuels on public land.

For more information on this current solicitation, click here.

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