On October 24, the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will begin auctioning off the first of its Solar Energy Zones (SEZ), areas that it has designated as prime real estate for the development of utility-scale solar power plants.
The BLM will be accepting bids from developers for the rights to begin the process of designing and constructing new solar installations, part of a larger effort to promote renewable energy sources.
<h3>What is a Solar Energy Zone?</h3>
SEZs are large parcels of land that have been selected as ideal spaces to create new solar energy generating stations. Typically, they are selected because they are not used for other types of develop such as residential, commercial or industrial facilities, or because they are located on old landfills, garbage dumps and Superfund sites that are unfit for human habitation.
<h3>Solar Energy Zones in California and Other States</h3>
The first two sites that will be auctioned off are located in Colorado. However, there are two SEZs in California located in the Imperial East and Riverside East regions. The latter is the largest zone currently listed for auction, offering almost 150,000 acres of developable land (originally it was over 200,000, but about 50,000 acres were removed to reduce the impact on nearby Joshua Tree National Park).
The SEZ plan is an attempt to tackle two problems simultaneously:
1) Find enough land to build large scale projects.
2) Make use of areas that are otherwise uninhabitable due to environmental and sanitation factors.
While there is still plenty of progress to be made on the small-scale, distributed generation front, AMECO Solar is happy to see that the federal government continues to advance an agenda the prioritizes solar power over fossil fuels and other non-renewable sources.