BLM's competitive process and requirements for issuing solar energy right-of-way (ROW) leases.
The regulations at 43 CFR 2800 and subparts (as amended in 2017) allow for the BLM to issue solar energy ROW “leases” (43 CFR 2809) through a competitive process for utility-scale solar energy development within designated leasing areas (DLAs) (which are preferred locations for solar energy development). The basic elements of the application process are common to all solar energy ROW lease authorizations inside of DLAs.
As described at 43 CFR 2802.11, the BLM may determine the locations and boundaries of designated leasing areas during the land use planning process by coordinating with other Federal agencies, State, local, and tribal governments, and the public to identify resource-related issues, concerns, and needs. The process results in a resource management plan or plan amendment. As of 2020 the following categories of DLAs have been identified in BLM programmatic land use plans:
Note that the land designations of the 2016 Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) superseded the 2012 Solar PEIS designations. Under 43 CFR 2802.10(a), the BLM CA may decide to follow a competitive process and issue a lease for solar development within DRECP-designated Development Focus Areas (DFAs).
The diagram above describes the application process for competitive solar energy ROW authorizations. Click on the steps in the diagram (or the navigation links on the left) for additional information.
Summaries of procedures specific to SEZs, DFAs, and REDAs are available on the Other Procedures page.