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Colorado Solar News and Announcements


January 12, 2017

BLM Releases Strategy for Solar Energy Development on Colorado Public Lands

On January 12, 2017, the Bureau of Land Management issued a News Release to announce the release of the document "Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Colorado Solar Energy Zones – Final Report" (available at the BLM's Renewable Energy Mitigation webpage). The SRMS applies a landscape-level approach to managing solar development and mitigation on public lands in Colorado's San Luis Valley and New Mexico's Taos Plateau. It identifies natural, cultural and human resources that could be impacted by potential solar development in the three Colorado solar energy zones (SEZs), introduces measures to compensate for any unavoidable impacts, and identifies priority sites for mitigation.

The strategy also recommends a per-acre fee for solar development that would fund off-site compensatory mitigation measures. The standardized fee would provide solar developers with more certainty regarding the cost of potential solar development, and would ensure that any residual impacts of solar projects in the SEZs are addressed through mitigation.

The BLM first established SEZs in its Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for solar energy development, finalized in 2012. The PEIS provided a blueprint for utility-scale solar energy permitting in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah by establishing SEZs with access to existing or planned transmission, incentives for development within those SEZs, and a process through which to consider additional zones and solar projects.

The SRMS is not a National Environmental Policy Act document or decision, but rather a strategy document meant to inform project-level development and permitting.

In addition to the SRMS, Colorado is announcing the availability of the final version of these supporting studies:

  • San Luis Valley – Taos Plateau Landscape-Level Cultural Heritage Values and Risk Assessment.
  • San Luis Valley – Taos Plateau Level IV Ecoregion Landscape Assessment.
  • Visual Resource Analysis for Solar Energy Zones in the San Luis Valley.
  • Modeling of Dust Levels Associated With Potential Utility-Scale Solar Development in the San Luis Valley-Taos Plateau Study Area.

The SRMS and supporting documents are available through the BLM's Renewable Energy Mitigation webpage. Please contact Nancy Keohane, Project Lead, at 719-269-8531 for more information.


April 15, 2016

BLM Extends Public Comment Period for Regional Mitigation Strategy for Colorado Solar Energy Zones

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has extended the comment period for the Draft Regional Mitigation Strategy for Colorado Solar Energy Zones from April 15 to April 29, 2016.

On March 2, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the Draft Regional Mitigation Strategy for Colorado Solar Energy Zones. The BLM is asking for the public to review and provide comments on the draft strategy.

The BLM hosted a webinar reviewing the content of the draft strategy on March 24, 2016.

The strategy document, slides from the webinar, and other supporting documents, are available through the project website at: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/slvfo/solar.html.

BLM requests comments by April 29, 2016.

Comments may be submitted to SolarMitigation@blm.gov.

For more information about this Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy project contact Nancy Keohane, Project Manager, BLM Colorado Renewable Energy Program, at 719-269-8531 or SolarMitigation@blm.gov.


July 1, 2015

Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy for Three Solar Energy Zones in Colorado: Public Webinar July 7

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host a public webinar to discuss the Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy (SRMS) for three Colorado solar energy zones (SEZs) on July 7, 2015 from 10:00 to 11:30 AM Mountain Time.

The webinar objectives are to: 1) review stakeholder comments; 2) provide an update on regional goals and objectives; 3) review candidate site matrix revisions and additional spatial site narrowing criteria; and 4) present a draft approach to identifying the mitigation obligation.

The dial-in number for the webinar is: 1-888-850-4523; Passcode: 473080. The URL for the webinar is: http://anl.adobeconnect.com/lasrms/.

All project documents are posted to the Colorado SRMS project website.

If you are planning to attend the webinar please email your RSVP to SolarMitigation@blm.gov.

For more information about this Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy project contact Joe Vieira, Project Manager, BLM Colorado Renewable Energy Program, at 719-246-9966 or jvieira@blm.gov.


May 8, 2015

Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy for Three SEZs in Colorado: Public Workshop in Monte Vista, CO, May 13-14

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host a second public workshop to discuss the Solar Regional Mitigation Strategies (SRMS) for three Colorado solar energy zones (SEZs) on Wednesday May 13th from 12:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. and Thursday May 14th from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the BLM San Luis Valley Field Office, 1313 E. Highway 160, Monte Vista, CO.

If you are planning to attend the public workshop please email your RSVP to solarmitigation@blm.gov
The workshop will not be offered via webinar due to planned breakout group discussions.
Note: With your RSVP please indicate whether you would like to be included in a cookout lunch on Thursday. Food will include hamburgers, Boca burgers, and a variety of salads; cost of about $6 will be collected that day.

The workshop objectives are to: 1) review and collaborate on regional mitigation goals and objectives for the Antonito Southeast, De Tilla Gulch, and Los Mogotes East SEZs, 2) review progress on assessment of impacts for air quality, visual, and cultural resources, 3) present proposed candidate site for consideration, and 4) conduct a group exercise on criteria for and scoring of the candidate sites.

The agenda and two documents to support the workshop have been posted to the Colorado SRMS project website. The supporting documents are: 1) the candidate site matrix including both BLM candidate sites and stakeholder candidate sites; and 2) a summary of the draft regional mitigation goals and objectives prepared by the BLM.

For more information about this Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy project contact Joe Vieira, Project Manager, BLM Colorado Renewable Energy Program, at 719-246-9966 or jvieira@blm.gov.


April 1, 2015

Reminder and Save the Date: Colorado Solar Regional Mitigation Project

Reminder: Please submit candidate mitigation site and action recommendations for the Colorado Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy by April 9, 2015.

When recommending a candidate site location, please use the candidate site screening matrix template that is posted on the Colorado SRMS project website. Please include a GIS shape file of the location and as much candidate site screening information as possible (e.g., number of acres proposed; Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 4 watershed; likely mitigation tool/action; list of the unique/valuable resources/features present at site; list of the resources that could be mitigated for at that location; reference material/data sources; information that would assist BLM in scoring the site for value in addition to existing management obligations (additionality), feasibility, durability, and risk). Recommendations and comments should be sent to SolarMitigation@blm.gov.

Save the date: The BLM is planning to host a workshop to review candidate mitigation sites and actions in Alamosa on May 14th. Additional details to be provided soon.

For more information about this Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy project contact Joe Vieira, Project Manager, BLM Colorado Renewable Energy Program, at 719-246-9966 or jvieira@blm.gov.


March 13, 2015

Colorado Solar Regional Mitigation Date Extension: Candidate Mitigation Site and Action Recommendations due April 9, 2015

Thanks to all of you who participated in our February 5th webinar on regional mitigation goals and candidate sites and actions for the Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy. The webinar presentation slides, as well as the candidate site screening matrix template, are posted to the Colorado Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy project website Documents page.

Note: BLM is extending the date for submission of candidate mitigation site and action recommendations to April 9, 2015. This extension will allow some newly-identified stakeholders that have expressed interest adequate time to submit their recommendations.

When recommending a candidate site location, please use the candidate site matrix template that is posted on the Project Website. Please include a GIS shape file of the location and as much candidate site screening information as possible (e.g., number of acres proposed; HUC 4 watershed; likely mitigation tool/action; list of the unique/valuable resources/features present at site; list of the resources that could be mitigated for at that location; reference material/data sources; information that would assist BLM in scoring the site for additionality, feasibility, durability, and risk). Recommendations and comments should be sent to SolarMitigation@blm.gov.

The BLM is planning to host either a workshop or webinar to review candidate mitigation sites and actions in early May; the specific date and details will be provided as soon as possible.

For more information about this Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy project contact Joe Vieira, Project Manager, BLM Colorado Renewable Energy Program, at 719-246-9966 or jvieira@blm.gov.


February 2, 2015

Colorado SEZs Solar Regional Mitigation Webinar to Be Held February 5, 2015

On February 5, 2015 from 10:00 AM to noon (Mountain Time) the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is hosting a webinar to continue discussion of Solar Regional Mitigation Strategies for three Colorado solar energy zones (SEZs): Antonito Southeast, De Tilla Gulch, and Los Mogotes East.

The webinar will present:

  1. An overview of Draft Landscape Assessment data available for stakeholder use;
  2. Information on development of Regional Mitigation Goals; and
  3. A process to nominate locations for regional mitigation

The dial-in number for the webinar is: 1-888-850-4523; Passcode: 473080. The URL for the webinar is: http://anl.adobeconnect.com/lasrms/.

The agenda, supporting documents, and links are available on the Colorado Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy project website Documents page.

If you are planning to call in to the webinar please email your RSVP to solarmitigation@blm.gov.

For more information about this Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy project contact Joe Vieira, Project Manager, BLM Colorado Renewable Energy Program, at 719-246-9966 or jvieira@blm.gov.


November 25, 2014

Colorado SEZs Solar Regional Mitigation Webinar to Be Held December 17, 2014

On December 17, 2014 from 10:00 to 11:30 AM (Mountain Time) the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is hosting a webinar to discuss Solar Regional Mitigation Strategies for the three Colorado solar energy zones (SEZs): Antonito Southeast, De Tilla Gulch, and Los Mogotes East.

The webinar will present:

  1. A summary of stakeholder comments on the Landscape Assessment and Resource Impact and Mitigation Summary Tables for the SEZs, and planned BLM responses; and
  2. Preliminary BLM Recommendations on impacts that may warrant regional mitigation.

The dial-in number for the webinar is: 1-888-850-4523; Passcode: 473080. The URL for the webinar is: http://anl.adobeconnect.com/lasrms/.

Revised draft Resource Impact and Mitigation Summary Tables for the SEZs, and tables summarizing the rationale for impacts warranting mitigation, will be posted to the Colorado SRMS Project website documents page approximately one week prior to the webinar. Please review these documents prior to the webinar if possible.

If you are planning to call in to the webinar please email your RSVP to solarmitigation@blm.gov.

For more information about this Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy project contact Joe Vieira, Project Manager, BLM Colorado Renewable Energy Program, at 719-246-9966 or jvieira@blm.gov.


August 28, 2014

Reminder: Landscape Assessment and Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy for Three Solar Energy Zones in Colorado: Public Workshops September 8-11, 2014

The BLM will host field visits to three solar energy zones (SEZs) and public workshops during the week of September 8th. Field visits, open houses, and workshops are designed for the public and local stakeholders with interest in specific SEZs (field visits will last from 1 to 2 hours). The September 10th all-day workshop will include discussion of potential impacts for all the SEZs and additional details on the Landscape Assessment and Solar Regional Mitigation processes. The schedule and locations for these meetings are as follows:

Monday, September 8: De Tilla Gulch SEZ
Saguache County Road and Bridge Bldg, 305 3rd St., Saguache, CO 81149
3 PM: assemble for field visit; 4–6:30 PM: local open house/workshop
Tuesday, September 9: Antonito Southeast SEZ (NOTE: CORRECTED ADDRESS PROVIDED)
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church–Parish Hall, 6631 County Rd 13, Conejos, CO 81129
9 AM: assemble for field visit; 4–6:30 PM: local open house/workshop
Wednesday, September 10: All-Day Workshop – Landscape Assessment and Solar Regional Mitigation for Three Colorado Solar Energy Zones
Adams State University (Student Union Rm 309), First St and Monterey Ave, Alamosa, CO 81102
8:30 AM: Registration
Thursday, September 11: Los Mogotes East SEZ
Romeo Town Hall, 149 2nd Avenue, Romeo, CO 81148
9 AM: assemble for field visit; 4–6:30 PM: local open house/workshop

If you are planning to attend any of these field visits or workshops please email your RSVP to solarmitigation@blm.gov.

Draft Resource Impact Tables for each SEZ, as well as baseline reports and public outreach presentations have been posted to the project website for stakeholder review prior to the meetings. The Impact Tables, baseline reports, and outreach information are available at: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/slvfo/solar/solar_regional_mitigation.html.

A Landscape Assessment Phase I Report is also available, at: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/slvfo/solar/landscape_assessment.html.

For more information about this Landscape Assessment/Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy project contact Joe Vieira, Project Manager, BLM Colorado Renewable Energy Program, at 719-246-9966 or jvieira@blm.gov.


August 1, 2014

Landscape Assessment and Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy for Three Solar Energy Zones in Colorado: Public Workshops September 8-11, 2014

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a Landscape Assessment and Solar Regional Mitigation Strategies for three solar energy zones (SEZs) in Colorado: Antonito Southeast, De Tilla Gulch, and Los Mogotes East. The BLM is developing solar regional mitigation strategies to identify potential impacts of solar development in SEZs and appropriate mitigation measures to address these impacts. The Landscape Assessment will characterize the natural and cultural environment of the region in support of the solar regional mitigation strategy process.

Solar regional mitigation strategy development will be a public, stakeholder driven process. To begin this process, the BLM will host field visits to the SEZs and public workshops during the week of September 8. Field visits and local workshops are designed for local stakeholders with interest in specific SEZs (field visits will last from 1 to 2 hours). The September 10 all-day workshop will include discussion of potential impacts for all the SEZs and additional details on the Landscape Assessment and Solar Regional Mitigation processes. The schedule and locations for these meetings are as follows:

Monday, September 8: De Tilla Gulch SEZ
Saguache County Road and Bridge Bldg, 305 3rd St., Saguache, CO 81149
3 PM: assemble for field visit; 4–6:30 PM: local workshop
Tuesday, September 9: Antonito Southeast SEZ (NOTE: CORRECTED ADDRESS PROVIDED)
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church – Parish Hall, 6631 County Rd. 13, Conejos, CO 81129
9 AM: assemble for field visit; 4–6:30 PM: local workshop
Wednesday, September 10: All-Day Landscape Assessment/Solar Regional Mitigation Workshop for Three Colorado Solar Energy Zones
8:30 AM: Registration
Adams State University (Student Union Rm 309), First St and Monterey Ave, Alamosa, CO 81102
Thursday, September 11: Los Mogotes East SEZ
Romeo Town Hall, 149 2nd Avenue, Romeo, CO 81148
9 AM: assemble for field visit; 4–6:30 PM: local workshop

If you are planning to attend any of these field visits or workshops please email your RSVP to solarmitigation@blm.gov. Please specify which events you plan to attend.

Please fill out the volunteer form and email (solarmitigation@blm.gov) back with your RSVP if you would like government vehicle transportation to a solar energy zone.

A project website has been created that will serve as a source of information regarding the status of the project and opportunities for public participation. This website is available at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/slvfo/solar.html.

For more information about this Landscape Assessment/Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy project contact Joe Vieira, Project Manager, BLM Colorado Renewable Energy Program, at 719-246-9966 or jvieira@blm.gov.


February 26, 2014

Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy for three Solar Energy Zones in Colorado: BLM Launches Study

On February 26, 2014, the Bureau of Land Management San Luis Valley Field Office and BLM Taos Field Office announced the launch of the San Luis Valley/Taos Plateau Study: Landscape Assessment and Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy. The study will help the BLM to ensure environmentally responsible solar energy development on public lands through long-term planning.

The first phase of the study is a Landscape Assessment, which will use existing data on the ecological values, trends and conditions in the geographic area covering Colorado's San Luis Valley and New Mexico's Taos Plateau (~6,115,000 acres). The Landscape Assessment will increase knowledge of the potential impacts and cumulative effects of change (i.e. human development, climate change, invasive species) on important ecological, cultural and socioeconomic values.

The information, maps and tools provided by the Landscape Assessment will be used in the second phase of the study, which is the development of a Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy. The mitigation strategy is intended to help facilitate solar energy development on solar energy zones in Colorado by simplifying and improving the mitigation process for future projects. The BLM invites federal, state and local agencies and the public to provide recommendations and references to existing reports and data to help inform the Landscape Assessment and the BLM Colorado Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy.

Interested parties can learn more by visiting the project website at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/slvfo/solar.html or by contacting Joseph Vieira, Project Manager at 719-246-9966 or SolarMitigation@blm.gov


August 16, 2013

BLM Colorado Releases Notice of Competitive Auction for SEZs

On August 16th, 2013, the BLM Colorado State Office published a Notice of Competitive Auction for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands in the State of Colorado. This notice announces that the BLM will hold an oral auction at the BLM’s Colorado State Office on October 24, 2013, to select a high bidder and preferred applicants to submit right-of-way applications for solar energy projects within the De Tilla Gulch and Los Mogotes East SEZs. The BLM is offering 3 parcels and a total of 3,705 acres within these two SEZs.

Existing regulations authorize the BLM to determine whether competition exists among ROW applications filed for the same facility or system. The regulations also allow the BLM to resolve any such competition by using competitive bidding procedures. The BLM will use a competitive sealed and oral bid process to select a preferred applicant to submit a ROW application and plan of development for solar energy development in the Los Mogotes East SEZ and the De Tilla Gulch SEZ. Details on fee and bid requirements are provided in the notice.


March 22, 2013

BLM Seeks Expressions of Interest in Two Solar Energy Zones in Colorado

In accordance with BLM's interim competitive procedures, in March 2013 the BLM Colorado State Office published a Notice Seeking Public Interest for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands in the State of Colorado. This Notice requested letters of interest for development in the De Tilla Gulch and Los Mogotes East SEZs. BLM Colorado had received two ROW applications within these SEZs at that time. The expressions of interest were requested on or before May 21, 2013. During that time, BLM Colorado received 4 additional expressions of interest for development in the De Tilla Gulch SEZ, and 3 additional expressions of interest for development in the Los Mogotes East SEZ.

The BLM Colorado State Office is reviewing submissions from interested parties in response to the notice and determining whether competition exists to develop solar energy projects in the De Tilla Gulch and Los Mogotes East SEZs. If the BLM determines sufficient competition exists, the BLM may use a competitive bidding process, consistent with the regulations, to select a preferred applicant in one or both of the SEZs.

Updated: 4/12/2017