The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hosted the first competitive auction for development rights on public lands in two Solar Energy Zones (SEZs) in Colorado on Thursday. A competitive bidding process is required for new solar development applications in SEZs, the BLM reports.
According to the BLM, the auction will award preference rights to submit a right-of-way application and plan of development for commercial solar energy projects on three parcels of BLM-administered land, totaling 3,705 acres, in Conejos and Saguache counties in south central Colorado.
The company with the winning bid will then submit a project proposal that will be subject to further environmental review and public comment, the BLM adds.
The BLM says the auction is the result of a two-year planning effort by the Department of the Interior and Department of Energy to pave the way for utility-scale solar energy development on public lands.
‘These Solar Energy Zones are part of our effort to make sure that we're developing clean energy in the right places and in the right ways,’ says the BLM's Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze. ‘Thursday's competitive auction is an important milestone as we seek to accelerate the development of clean energy on our public lands that hold enormous potential for solar power and for generating jobs and revenue for local communities.’
If fully developed, the two Colorado SEZs could produce about 400 MW, the BLM notes.