On Tuesday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held a competitive auction for development rights on public lands in the designated Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone in Clark County, Nev. The agency says the auction generated about $5.84 million in high bids, representing a 90-fold premium over the aggregate minimum bid.
According to the BLM, the combined sealed- and oral-bid auction selected preferred applicants to develop utility-scale solar energy projects on six parcels across 3,083 acres of the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone. The names of bidders and potential project sizes were not disclosed.
The BLM says the auction builds upon a two-year planning effort between the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Energy that has paved the way for utility-scale solar development on public lands. Using a so-called"landscape approach," the Western Solar Plan, approved in October 2012, created 17 Solar Energy Zones with access to existing or planned transmission, incentives for development within those zones, and a process for considering additional zones.
"Since President Obama took office, the BLM renewable energy program has been a huge success, having permitted 52 projects capable of leveraging $36.6 billion in investment for clean energy," says BLM Director Neil Kornze." The historic results from today's auction validate the smart development approach of the Western Solar Plan, just as they show that business is ready to come to the table in support of a clean energy future."
In conjunction with the auction, the BLM also identified 13 additional renewable energy projects on public lands in western states that could meet environmental and administrative requirements for approval by the end of 2015. These 13 projects include 11 solar projects and two wind projects located in Arizona, California and Nevada.