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BLM Solar Energy Program (USA)

This Web site is the online center for public information regarding the ongoing implementation of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Solar Energy Program, approved in October 2012 through the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States (Arizona, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, California, Nevada). The Web site provides up-to-date information on the features of the BLM’s Solar Energy Program for the purpose of aiding the public, solar energy developers, and regulators in understanding the BLM’s requirements and incentives for utility-scale solar energy development on public lands.

Comprehensive information on the Solar Energy Program, including summaries of the legal, regulatory, and policy requirements for utility-scale solar energy development on public lands. This section also includes required design features (i.e., required mitigation measures) and information on compliance with other laws, such as the Endangered Species Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.

General Solar Energy Zone (SEZ) information is provided including competitive leasing requirements, the protocol for identifying new or expanded SEZs, detailed information on individual SEZs, SEZ-specific design features, and long-term requirements for monitoring and mitigation. New data for individual SEZs will be provided as it becomes available (e.g., cultural survey data, groundwater information and models).

Variance areas include about 19.3 million acres of public lands outside of SEZs. The policies that will be applied to site-specific proposals within variance areas are presented. These policies address early coordination with other agencies and the public, and early evaluation of variance ROW applications.

The Solar Energy Program requires additional, site-specific analyses prior to approval of utility-scale solar energy projects. The robust analysis in the Solar PEIS will be incorporated into the evaluation of future site-specific projects through “tiering.” The analyses from the Solar PEIS will be applied, to the extent appropriate, to future proposed utility-scale solar energy projects, allowing future project analyses to focus on site-specific conditions and issues not fully addressed in the Solar PEIS. This is expected to streamline future decision-making on proposed utility-scale solar energy developments on BLM-administered public lands. This Web site contains links to the analysis that will be incorporated into future project authorizations.