On November 9, 2023, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published the Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Notice of Segregation for the Proposed Ranegras Plains Energy Center Project, La Paz County, AZ in the Federal Register, beginning a public scoping comment period that is open through December 15, 2023. The proposed project would include a 700-megawatt solar photovoltaic and battery energy storage system located approximately 30 miles east of Quartzsite in La Paz County, Arizona.
The BLM will hold a virtual scoping meeting via Zoom on November 30, 2023, from 6-7:30 p.m. Mountain Time to gather input and provide information about the proposed project.
BLM is seeking public comment by December 15, 2023, to inform development of an environmental analysis for the proposed project. For additional information and to submit comments, visit the Ranegras Plains Energy Center page on the BLM National NEPA Register.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting public input through June 19, 2023, on three applications for solar energy development on public lands designated as solar variance areas in Mohave County, Arizona. The three projects are White Hills Solar, Mineral Park Solar, and Leo Solar. White Hills is initially proposed as 450-megawatt on 4,300 acres of public lands, Mineral Park Solar is initially proposed as 275-megawatt on 3,958 acres of public lands, and Leo Solar is initially proposed as 300-megawatt on 3,736 acres of public lands.
On May 18, 2023, BLM hosted a virtual public meeting to share information and receive public input on the three applications. A recording of the Kingman Field Office Solar Variances Public Meeting is available on YouTube. The meeting was held as part of the solar variance application process, during which the BLM determines whether a solar project proposed for development outside of a designated solar energy zone is appropriate for consideration. Information gathered during the public input period will inform the BLM's determination on whether to continue to process or to deny the right-of-way applications. If the BLM decides to process an application, it will continue through the National Environmental Policy Act planning process, which will include further public involvement.
Interested parties may submit comments through June 19, 2023, via email to [email protected] or by mail to:
BLM, Attn: Erica Stewart, 7341 E. 30th Street, Suite A, Yuma, AZ 85365
Additional information, including project documents, an overview map, and GIS data, are available on the Colorado River District Solar Variances 2023 page of the BLM National NEPA Register.
The Bureau of Land Management is kicking off its environmental analysis of the proposed Jove Solar Energy project with two public scoping meetings scheduled in January 2023. If approved, the Jove project would produce up to 600 megawatts of renewable energy from solar photovoltaic modules on 3,495 acres of public land located in southeastern La Paz County.
To provide information and gather feedback about the proposed project, the BLM will host one in-person public scoping meeting on January 11, 2023, and one virtual meeting on January 17, 2023. The same information will be provided at both meetings. The meetings will include a presentation from the applicant and the BLM, and opportunities to speak with the project team.
For meeting times/locations, project documents, maps, and instructions on submitting written comments, please visit the Jove Solar Project page on the BLM National NEPA Register.
The analysis will evaluate potential impacts from the proposed project and address Native American religious concerns; threatened, endangered, and sensitive species; socioeconomic effects; environmental justice; and other issues. The Environmental Impact Statement will also analyze mitigation measures to lessen environmental impacts and ensure the action alternatives would not result in unnecessary or undue degradation of public lands.
The Colorado River District will host a virtual forum on February 2, 2022, to share information and receive public input on four right-of-way applications for solar energy development projects on BLM-managed public lands designated as solar variance areas in Arizona. The four projects are the Ranegras Plains Solar Project in the Yuma Field Office area, the Bouse Solar and Storage Project in the Yuma Field Office area, and the Socorro Solar Project and Parker Solar Project in the Lake Havasu Field Office area.
The forum will be held as part of the solar variance application process. Information gathered during the public input period will help the BLM determine whether to continue to process or to deny the right-of-way applications. If the BLM decides to process an application, it will continue through the National Environmental Policy Act planning process, which will include further public involvement.
The virtual public meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. MST on February 2, 2022, and is expected to last about 90 minutes. BLM staff will provide a short introduction followed by presentations from project applicants. Register to attend the public meeting. The public will have an opportunity to provide input on the proposed projects during the meeting. The meeting will be recorded and posted to the BLM Arizona YouTube channel.
Interested parties may also submit comments via email to [email protected]. Comments may also be mailed to BLM Yuma Field Office, Attn: Erica Stewart, 7341 E. 30th Street, Suite A, Yuma, AZ 85365. Public input will be accepted until February 18, 2022.
Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment — including your personal identifying information — may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
On December 8, 2021, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auctioned utility-scale solar energy development leases in each of the three solar energy zones in Arizona. The development from the resulting leases and right-of-way could produce as much as 825 megawatts of solar energy.
Heliogen, Inc. placed the high bid of $114,428 for a lease in the Brenda solar energy zone, near Lake Havasu City, and Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC placed a high bid of $78,728 for a lease in the Agua Caliente solar energy zone, east of Yuma. There were no bids for the Gillespie solar energy zone, southwest of Phoenix, so the BLM made the lands available for application for a non-competitive grant, and accepted a solar energy right-of-way application for that zone from Candela Renewables.
SEZs are Designated Leasing Areas (DLAs), which are areas of public land preferred for utility-scale solar energy development that may be offered competitively. In Arizona, three SEZs have been designated: the 3,348-acre Brenda SEZ, the 2,560‑acre Agua Caliente SEZ, and the 2,618-acre Gillespie SEZ. The BLM Arizona State Office received interest from potential developers to lease lands within each SEZ.
The SEZs were previously analyzed and designated in the 2012 Solar PEIS and 2013 Restoration Design Energy Project. These efforts were the product of extensive stakeholder involvement, including conservation organizations, state and local governments, Tribes, solar energy industry representatives, and cooperating Federal agencies. The BLM will conduct environmental reviews of site-specific development proposed by the companies prior to development.
Additional information about the leases and auction can be found on BLM's Offer for Competitive Leasing for three Solar Energy Zones (SEZs) in Arizona project website.
For more information, please contact Derek Eysenbach at [email protected].
On November 4, 2021, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a Notice of Competitive Offer in the Federal Register announcing that it is conducting a competitive live auction for utility-scale solar energy development leases in each of the three solar energy zones (SEZs) in Arizona. The auction will be held at 10:00 a.m. local time on December 8, 2021, at the BLM Arizona State Office, 1 North Central Ave, #800, Phoenix, AZ 85004.
SEZs are Designated Leasing Areas (DLAs), which are areas of public land preferred for utility-scale solar energy development that may be offered competitively. In Arizona, three SEZs have been designated: the 2,618-acre Gillespie SEZ, southwest of Phoenix; 3,348-acre Brenda SEZ, near Lake Havasu City; and 2,560‑acre Agua Caliente SEZ, east of Yuma. These lands were proposed, and ultimately selected, for solar energy development because of low conflict with natural and cultural resources, and low potential for conflicts with other land uses. The BLM Arizona State Office has received interest from potential developers to lease lands within each SEZ.
Following the auction, BLM will award leases to winning bidders or make the lands available for application for a non-competitive grant.
The SEZs were previously analyzed and designated in the 2012 Solar PEIS and 2013 Restoration Design Energy Project. These efforts were the product of extensive stakeholder involvement, including conservation organizations, state and local governments, Tribes, solar energy industry representatives, and cooperating Federal agencies. If any or all of the SEZs receive bids, the BLM will immediately grant leases and conduct environmental reviews of site-specific development proposed by the successful bidders prior to development.
Relevant documents, maps, and additional information are available on BLM's Offer for Competitive Leasing for three Solar Energy Zones (SEZs) in Arizona project website.
For more information, please contact Derek Eysenbach at (602) 417-9505.
The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM's) Lower Sonoran Field Office has approved an amendment request for a right of way to Sonoran Solar Energy, LLC. Following a finding of no significant impact, the BLM's decision approves adding battery storage to planned solar energy infrastructure in the west end of Little Rainbow Valley, south of Buckeye.
The Sonoran Solar Energy Project right-of-way covers a total of 3,320 acres, most of which is on public land. The project will include photovoltaic arrays, support structures, energy storage, and a generation tie (gen-tie) line to connect to a Salt River Project (SRP) utility substation. The project is expected to produce 260 megawatts of electricity and 260 megawatts of energy storage, which will allow for consistent energy delivery during peak hours when the system may not be generating energy. According to SRP, Sonoran Solar will be the largest solar-charged battery project in the state, when completed.
The decision record, final environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the amendment are available on BLM's Sonoran Solar Energy Project website.
The BLM will hold an informational workshop regarding the Orion Solar facility proposed on BLM‑administered public lands south of Interstate 10, 30 miles east of Quartzsite. The workshop will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Quartzsite Community Center located at 295 E. Chandler Street, Quartzsite, AZ 85346. The BLM is considering a proposal from 174 Power Global, Corp. to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission an 800-megawatt utility-scale photovoltaic solar facility on 4,654 acres in southeastern La Paz County.
The workshop will start with a presentation followed by a public workshop, to inform the public about the project and the variance process, and solicit feedback on the solar facility proposal.