The Obama Administration focus on increasing renewable energy development on federal lands manifests towards the end of October. The US government’s Bureau of Land Management at that time takes off with the first Solar Energy Zone auction.
The US Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) first competitive auction for public lands is in two designated Solar Energy Zones in the state of Colorado on October 24. The Colorado Solar Energy Zone auction will take place at the BLM Colorado State Office in Lakewood, Colorado.
The Obama Administration’s strategy to activate and increase renewable energy development on public land is part of a dual goal. The White House’s intent is to reduce carbon emissions in the US and also stimulate economic and job growth through this joint purpose.
Besides Colorado, other states targeted for renewables are Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.
In addition, according to the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, or PEIS, ongoing and future regional planning processes may approve solar development on approximately 19 million more acres that are located in “variance” areas lying outside of the identified SEZs.
More details from PV Magazine:
The sealed and oral bid auction will select a preferred applicant to submit a right-of-way application and plan of development for utility-scale solar energy projects on 3,705 acres (1,499 hectares) in the De Tilla Gulch and Los Mogotes East Solar Energy Zones in the San Luis Valley’s Conejos and Saguache counties.
The Interior and Energy Departments are looking to establish utility-scale solar development on public lands that will be capable of producing 20 MW or more of energy. The competitive bidding process is required for new solar development applications in Solar Energy Zones.
“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 BLM’s auction announcement comes after a two-year planning effort between the Interior and Energy Departments to pave the way for utility-scale solar energy development on public lands. The Western Solar Plan, approved in October 2012, created 17 Solar Energy Zones with access to existing or planned transmission, incentives for development and a process for considering additional zones.
The Interior Department approved an 18th Solar Energy Zone as part of the Restoration Design Energy Project in Arizona in January. The new West Chocolate Mountains REEA, announced last week, brings the national total to 19.
The minimum bonus bids for the three parcels are $3,352 (€2,511)for De Tilla Gulch; $4,035 for the north parcel of Los Mogotes East; and $4,284 for Los Mogotes East’s south parcel.
How wonderful to see the White House’s intent moving along so clearly in Colorado. Recently in California clear intention approved a new solar zone in California. As part of the Obama administration’s clean energy goals, the US Interior Department has established a new Renewable Energy Evaluation Area that could result in the development of more than 3.3 GW of solar capacity.