The Department of the Interior (DOI) has updated its roadmap for solar development across the U.S. West, designed to improve production in more states and efficiency in renewables siting and permitting on public lands.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also announced next steps on several projects in Arizona, California and Nevada, representing more than 1,700 MW of potential generation and 1,300 MW of potential battery storage capacity.
“The Interior Department’s work to responsibly and quickly develop renewable energy projects is crucial to achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, and this updated solar roadmap will help us get there in more states and on more lands across the West,” says Laura Daniel-Davis, DOI acting deputy secretary,. “Through historic investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Interior Department is helping build modern, resilient climate infrastructure that protects our communities from the worsening impacts of climate change.”
The BLM has also published a draft analysis of the updated Western Solar Plan, streamlining the bureau’s framework for siting solar energy projects. The proposal is an update of BLM’s 2012 Western Solar Plan, which identified areas in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah with high solar potential and low resource conflicts in order to guide responsible solar development and provide certainty to developers. The updated roadmap refines the analysis in the original six states and expands it to include Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.
The BLM is currently processing 67 utility-scale onshore clean energy projects proposed on public lands in the western U.S. This includes solar, wind, and geothermal projects, as well as gen-tie lines vital to clean energy projects proposed on non-federal land. These projects have the combined potential to add more than 37 GW of renewable energy to the Western grid.
The BLM is also undertaking the preliminary review of over 195 applications for solar and wind development, as well as 97 applications for solar and wind energy site area testing.