Friday, November 1, 2013

BLM Auctions First Solar Rights on Public Lands

The San Luis Valley in Colorado.
Photo Courtesy of Pam
For the first time, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is auctioning rights to develop solar power on public lands. Preliminary applications had suggested that five companies were interested in obtaining permits in the San Luis Valley and there were another 27 inquiries interested in more information about the parcels. Based on that data, the BLM scheduled an auction for 3,700 acres of land in the valley.

However, no one showed up to the first auction last week. BLM officials see this as the continued impact of uncertainties within the federal regulatory system as well as within the solar market. They are still confident in the viability of solar development on BLM lands.

The BLM created 19 solar zones in six western states that are targeted for fast-track development. The decision to designate the areas for fast-track development was based on the geographical context. In these areas, access to transmission currently exists and they are not in environmentally sensitive areas.

BLM officials will move forward with the parcel auctions. It is hoped that once the uncertainties of government regulation and market factors are more predictable, interest and demand for solar development in these areas will increase.

For more information, visit the BLM website.

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