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First Solar, Inc. Message Board

  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Aug 22, 2013 2:18 PM Flag

    DOI Sets First Competitive Solar Energy Lease Auction On Federal Lands

    DOI Sets First Competitive Solar Energy Lease Auction On Federal Lands

    Published on August 22nd, 2013 | by Silvio Marcacci

    There’s no slowing the US Department of the Interior’s (DOI) roll to build out America’s renewable electricity capacity on public lands – offshore wind may have come first, but now it’s time for solar energy.

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) this week announced it would hold the first competitive lease auction for solar development on public lands, for Solar Energy Zones (SEZ) located in southern Colorado.

    Just three months after DOI approved 4 gigawatts (GW) of new renewables on federal land, BLM’s announcement could kick off a solar powered land rush with huge potential economic and environmental benefits on 19 SEZs across the Western United States.

    First Lease Auction Targets Two Colorado Sites

    These first two auctions are the culmination of a two-year planning effort by the federal government to expand utility-scale solar power on public lands. The Western Solar Plan, approved in October 2012, covers 285,000 acres of public land in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

    Additional auctions will likely follow in due time, but this one will focus on 3,705 acres across two locations in Colorado. The Los Mogotes East SEZ, located in Conejos County, totals 2,650 acres just 3 miles from an existing 69-kilovolt (kV) transmission line. The De Tilla Gulch SEZ, located in Saguache County, totals 1,064 acres with an existing 155-kV transmission along its eastern border.

    De Tilla Gulch Solar Energy Zone
    De Tilla Gulch Solar Energy Zone photo via Interior Department

    Like the large zones designated for offshore wind development in the Atlantic Ocean, SEZ locations are the product of extensive environmental and infrastructure evaluation. This Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) process not only streamlines the regulatory review process, but also includes incentives for project developers that could ultimate

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