Applications for utility-scale solar energy facilities will be authorized as ROWs under Title V of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and (43 CFR Part 2800). Applications submitted to the BLM for utility-scale solar energy development will use Form SF-299, Application for Transportation and Utility Systems and Facilities on Federal Land, consistent with the requirements of 43 CFR Part 2804.
The Secretary of the Interior, with respect to public lands, is authorized to grant, issue, or renew ROWs over, upon, under, or through such lands for systems for generation, transmission, and distribution of electric energy (43 USC 1761(a)(4)). The term "ROW," as defined by FLPMA, includes an easement, lease, permit, or license to occupy, use, or traverse public lands (43 USC 1702(f)). The BLM has prepared a template ROW lease/grant that would be used to authorize utility-scale solar energy development projects. BLM ROW authorizations will include the solar collectors, tower, turbine generator, fossil-fired generator for hybrid systems, thermal storage, access roads, electrical and transmission facilities, and other testing and support facilities. An authorization for a utility-scale solar facility also typically includes approval of ancillary facilities such as roads, transmission lines, interconnection facilities, etc. In some cases, a separate ROW authorization(s) may be needed for ancillary facilities such as long linear facilities (e.g., transmission lines and access roads) or more distant interconnection facilities.
Solar ROW applications will be processed by BLM Field Office and Renewable Energy Coordination Office staff. The decision to grant a ROW will be made by the BLM Authorized Officer in accordance with Title V of the FLPMA. More information on the BLM’s general ROW program, policies and procedures is available on the BLM's National ROW Web page.