Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Permitting and Program Resources
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Finalize Plan of Development

Procedures for Issuing Solar Energy ROW Grants Applicant-initiated action BLM-initiated action Major milestone BLM Issues ROW Grant BLM Evaluates Application Terms and Conditions for Grants Developer Submits Application Due diligence Assignments Issue notice to proceed Rent and applicable fees Performance and reclamation bond Finalize cost recovery Finalize plan of development Conduct NEPA evaluation Reject or prioritize application Variance concurrence (if applicable) Competitive bidding (if applicable) Initiate early tribal and interagency outreach Determine applicant technical/financial capabilities Preliminary meetings Initiate cost recovery Plan of development Application filing fee
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A plan of development (POD) is submitted when an application is submitted to the BLM. The POD schedule must meet the development schedule required by the BLM (43 CFR 2804.25(e.3)). This includes completing construction within the timeframes in the approved POD, but no later than 24 months after the start of construction, unless the project has been approved for staged development, or as otherwise authorized by the BLM.

The BLM will send a written response to an applicant when the application has been approved; this may include terms that prevent use of the right-of-way (ROW) until the POD has been approved and BLM has issued a Notice to Proceed. Construction, operation, maintenance, and termination of the facilities on the lands in the ROW must be done in a manner consistent with the approved POD.

The POD template (referenced at 43 CFR 2804.12 and available at https://www.blm.gov) includes a due diligence requirement that an applicant submit the POD within 90 days from application submission for applications for areas outside of DLAs. The POD template describes the following elements that must be included in the POD:

  1. Project Description — includes facility description, proposed schedule for construction and operation, purpose and need for the project, general facility description, alternatives considered, federal, state, and local permit requirements, and information on the financial and technical capability of the applicant.
  2. Construction of Facilities — information on solar field design, access and transport system, work force numbers, site preparation, material needs, electrical construction activities, aviation lighting, and site stabilization and reclamation practices.
  3. Related Facilities and Systems — such as transmission, gas supply, communications
  4. Operations and Maintenance — includes description of activities and workforce
  5. Environmental Considerations — must address special status species and habitats, special land use designations, visual resource management, cultural and historic resources, Native American tribal concerns, and other relevant environmental considerations and site uses, as well as mitigation measures.
  6. Maps and Drawings
  7. Supplemental Information — includes engineering and civil design information, facility management plans, facility decommissioning plan.

If an approved POD provides for staged development, unless otherwise approved by the BLM:

  1. Begin construction of the initial phase of development within 12 months after issuance of the Notice to Proceed, but no later than 24 months after the effective date of the ROW authorization;
  2. Begin construction of each stage of development (following the first) within 3 years of the start of construction of the previous stage of development, and complete construction of that stage no later than 24 months after the start of construction of that stage, unless otherwise authorized by the BLM; and
  3. Have no more than 3 development stages, unless otherwise authorized by the BLM

The grantee must maintain all onsite electrical generation equipment and facilities in accordance with the design standards in the approved POD.