The Energy Act of 2020 directs the Department of the Interior to significantly increase the production of renewable energy (RE) on public lands, specifically by seeking to permit not less than 25 GW of solar, wind, and geothermal power by 2025. President Biden's first Executive Order (Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis) directs all governmental agencies to work towards improving the environment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and bolstering resilience to the impacts of climate change.
As of early 2021, the BLM has received notices of substantial interest in solar energy development on public lands both within and outside of the six southwestern states addressed in the Solar PEIS. Additionally, the BLM's Solar Energy Program (also known as the Western Solar Plan) has continued to evolve since the completion of the 2012 Record of Decision (ROD) for the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States (Solar PEIS).
Important occurrences since 2012 include:
The BLM has identified the need for a comprehensive update of solar program information (particularly about the permitting process) and an effective means for distributing that information. The purpose of this new “Solar Energy Permitting and Program Resources” website is to provide updated information on solar energy development and the ROW application process to BLM rights-of-way processing staff and resource specialists, solar energy developers, and other stakeholders. This website replaces the previous Solar Energy Program website, but provides most of the same information that was provided through that website (for example, all solar energy zone [SEZ]-specific studies and data are still available), including the Solar Regional Mitigation Strategy studies.
The Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS Information Center is an archived online center for public information and involvement in the Solar PEIS Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States (Solar PEIS). The Solar PEIS was completed in October 2012 with the release of the Approved Resource Management Plan Amendments/Record of Decision for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States. The Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS Information Center can be accessed by clicking the Solar PEIS Archives link at the bottom of each page of this website.