Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Program Western Solar Plan
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Interim Competitive Procedures for SEZs

The BLM is using an interim competitive procedure for solar energy zones (SEZs) until proposed rulemaking is complete.

Until competitive leasing rulemaking is complete, the BLM can continue to process right-of-way (ROW) authorizations under Title V of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976. The regulations at 43 CFR 2804.23 authorize the BLM to determine whether competition exists among right-of-way (ROW) applications file for the same facility or system. The regulations also allow the BLM to resolve any such competition by using competitive bidding procedures.

The interim competitive procedure calls for a BLM State Office to publish a notice seeking public interest for development in one or more specific SEZs. This would generally occur only if the BLM had already received expressions of interest in development in one or more SEZs. Parties interested in proposing a solar energy development within any of the SEZs listed in the notice would submit a letter of interest and a preliminary ROW application (see form SF-299 on Forms & Templates) to the appropriate BLM State Office.

Current Status of Interim Competitive Procedure

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. All grants are issued subject to valid existing rights in accordance with 43 CFR 2805.14.

On June 30, 2014, the BLM Nevada State Office held a competitive combined sealed- and oral-bid auction, which resulted in the selection of preferred applicants to develop utility-scale solar energy projects on six parcels across 3,083 acres of the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone. The $5.8 million in high bids represents a 90-fold premium over the aggregate minimum bid. The BLM issued a press release discussing the auction and its significance with respect to BLM's renewable energy development goals; see also the Dry Lake SEZ Competitive Leasing page of this website.

The interim competitive process for the Dry Lake SEZ was started on February 17, 2014, when the BLM Washington Office published a Notice Seeking Public Interest for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands in the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone in Clark County, Nevada. On May 30, 2014, the BLM Nevada State Office published a Notice of Competitive Auction for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands in the State of Nevada announcing the planned Dry Lake SEZ auction.

Past Interim Competitive Leasing Actions

Partially in response to previous expressions of interest, on March 22, 2013, the BLM Colorado State Office published a Notice Seeking Public Interest for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands in the State of Colorado, requesting letters of interest for development in the De Tilla Gulch and Los Mogotes East SEZs. On August 16, 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 announced that the BLM would 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 auction was held as planned; however, no bids were received.

Updated: 1/25/2017