Prior to release of the competitive leasing regulations, the BLM used an interim competitive procedure for applications in solar energy zones (SEZs). The BLM processed right-of-way (ROW) authorizations under Title V of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976. The regulations at 43 CFR 2804.23 authorized the BLM to determine whether competition existed among right-of-way (ROW) applications filed for the same facility or system. The regulations also allowed the BLM to resolve any such competition by using competitive bidding procedures.
The interim competitive procedure called for a BLM State Office to publish a notice seeking public interest for development in one or more specific SEZs. This occurred only if the BLM had already received expressions of interest in development in one or more SEZs. Parties interested in proposing a solar energy development within any of the SEZs listed in the notice would submit a letter of interest and a preliminary ROW application (see form SF-299 on Forms & Templates) to the appropriate BLM State Office.
Partially in response to previous expressions of interest, on March 22, 2013, the BLM Colorado State Office published a Notice Seeking Public Interest for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands in the State of Colorado, requesting letters of interest for development in the De Tilla Gulch and Los Mogotes East SEZs. On August 16, 2013, the BLM Colorado State Office published a Notice of Competitive Auction for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands in the State of Colorado. This notice announced that the BLM would hold an oral auction at the BLM's Colorado State Office on October 24, 2013, to select a high bidder and preferred applicants to submit right-of-way applications for solar energy projects within the De Tilla Gulch and Los Mogotes East SEZs. The auction was held as planned; however, no bids were received.
The interim competitive process for the Dry Lake SEZ was started on February 17, 2014, when the BLM Washington Office published a Notice Seeking Public Interest for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands in the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone in Clark County, Nevada. On May 30, 2014, the BLM Nevada State Office published a Notice of Competitive Auction for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands in the State of Nevada announcing the planned Dry Lake SEZ auction.
On June 30, 2014, the BLM Nevada State Office held a competitive combined sealed- and oral-bid auction, which resulted in the selection of preferred applicants to develop utility-scale solar energy projects on six parcels across 3,083 acres of the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone. The $5.8 million in high bids represents a 90‑fold premium over the aggregate minimum bid. For more information, see the Dry Lake SEZ Competitive Leasing page of this website.