This Web site is the online center for public information and involvement in the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States (Solar PEIS). The Solar PEIS project was completed in October 2012 with the release of the Approved Resource Management Plan Amendments/Record of Decision for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States. Up-to-date information on the implementation of solar energy development on public lands is available through the BLM's Solar Energy Program (Western Solar Plan) Web site.
BLM's Draft Competitive Leasing Rule for Wind and Solar Leasing Released for Comment
On September 30, 2014, the BLM issued its Draft Competitive Leasing rule for Wind and Solar Leasing in a Federal Register notice. Publication kicks off a 60-day comment period that closes on December 1, 2014. The proposed regulations would promote the use of "designated leasing areas" that include the BLM's SEZs. The rule would establish competitive processes, terms and conditions (including rental and bonding requirements) for solar and wind energy development rights-of-way (ROWs) both inside and outside the designated leasing areas, and provide incentives for leases in designated leasing areas. A Draft Environmental Assessment and an Economic Analysis supporting the draft rule are available on the BLM Solar Energy Program Web site.
Launch of BLM's New Solar Energy Program Web Site
The BLM has released its Solar Energy Program Web site (http://blmsolar.anl.gov), which is the online center for public information regarding the ongoing implementation of the Solar Energy Program. The Program was approved in October 2012 through the Record of Decision for the Solar PEIS. For more information, see Launch of BLM's New Solar Energy Program Web Site under News.
Content of the Solar PEIS Project Web Site
About the PEIS
PEIS purpose, scope, alternatives, and schedule.
How comments have been used, cooperator involvement, public meeting transcripts and information; and scoping comments.
Solar Energy and Transmission Guide
Utility-scale solar energy and electric transmission basics, environmental issues, maps, and links to related resources on the World Wide Web.
Solar Energy Zones
Interactive maps, summaries, and photo panoramas of solar energy zones proposed as priority locations for solar development.
Maps presented in the Solar PEIS and other maps related to the BLM's proposed Solar Energy Program, interactive mapping tools, and supporting spatial data for downloading and online viewing.
PEIS and related documents for downloading or online browsing.
Other resources include a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs), news updates, and e-mail notices of important events.
In response to direction from Congress under several federal orders and mandates, including Section 211 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, as well as Executive Order 13212, Actions to Expedite Energy-Related Projects, the Agencies have evaluated how environmentally responsible utility-scale solar energy projects can be facilitated through developing and implementing agency-specific programs or guidance establishing environmental policies and mitigation strategies for solar energy development. Utility-scale solar energy projects generate electricity that is distributed to consumers through the electric power transmission grid, generally with capacities greater than 20 megawatts (MW).
The BLM has received a large number of utility-scale solar energy project proposals for BLM-administered lands, mainly in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Until the release of the Solar PEIS Record of Decision in October 2012 it processed solar energy right-of-way applications under a set of Solar Energy Polices. BLM's solar energy policies, published in Instruction Memoranda, are available for downloading on the Documents page. Some of these policies have been replaced by policies provided in the Solar Energy Program established through the ROD. The DOE's EERE Solar Energy Technologies Program currently addresses environmental concerns for projects it supports on a case-by-case basis.