Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Permitting and Program Resources
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About the Solar Energy Permitting and Program Resources

Why did the BLM update the Solar Energy Program website?

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 2012 Solar PEIS. Additionally, the BLM's Western Solar Plan has continued to evolve since it was completed in 2012. Important occurrences since 2012 include:

  • New regulations for issuing ROWs for solar and wind energy facilities (43 CFR Part 2800) became effective in January 2017.
  • Several BLM planning efforts related to solar energy development since 2012 have resulted in changes to priority areas and other program elements in some states (i.e., BLM Arizona's Restoration Design Energy Project (RDEP) ROD in 2013; the California Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan ROD in 2016; and in Colorado, a Grand Junction Resource Management Plan amendment in 2015 that created solar emphasis areas and an Environmental Assessment and associated decision that undesignated the Fourmile East solar energy zone).

These occurrences indicated a 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 “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.

How can I access information and documents related to the 2012 Western Solar Plan?

The 2012 Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS Information Center is an archived online center for public information and involvement in the 2012 Solar PEIS Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States (Solar PEIS). That 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 (Western Solar Plan). The 2012 Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS Information Center can be accessed by clicking the 2012 Solar PEIS Archives link at the bottom of each page of this website.