The United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has invited expressions of interest to lease 89,589 acres of public land in solar energy zones (SEZs) to develop solar projects in Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada.
The last date to submit expressions of interest is January 20, 2022.
In Colorado, the agency is expected to lease 9,712 acres in Antonio Southeast SEZ, 1,064 acres in DeTilla Gulch SEZ, and 2,650 acres in Los Mogotes East SEZ. In Nevada, it would lease 25,069 acres in Dry Lake Valley North SEZ, 4,569 acres in Gold Point SEZ, and 16,534 acres in Millers SEZ. Afton SEZ’s 29,964 acres is expected to be leased for solar energy projects in New Mexico.
According to the BLM, around 870,000 acres of land have been prioritized for solar energy development out of 245 million acres of public land it manages. The allocated land for projects could support over 100 GW of solar capacity if 8.5 acres of land is needed to develop a 1 MW solar project. The generated power from these solar projects could meet the power needs of over 29 million households. In addition to the prioritized land for solar, the agency maintained 19 million additional acres as open for potential solar development.
Earlier this month, Platte River Power Authority, a U.S.-based power utility company, issued a request for proposals (RfP) to acquire 250 MW of solar and/or co-located battery storage projects. The power utility would acquire projects expected to start power delivery on January 1, 2025, with guaranteed commercial operation dates no later than June 1, 2025.
The U.S. installed a record 5.7 GW of solar capacity in Q2 2021, a 45% year-over-year increase compared to the same period last year, Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie said in a joint report.
According to a report by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the pipeline of solar capacity in the U.S. at the end of 2020 was around 460 GW. Of this, 160 GW or 34% of projects include battery storage facilities.
Harsh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Indian Express, he has covered general interest stories. He holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.