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BLM Announces ANPR on Competitive Bidding for Wind and Solar Energy Development Leases on Public Lands

Update
01.04.2012

On December 29, 2011, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced the publication of an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) seeking public comment on BLM's intent to establish an efficient competitive bidding system for wind and solar energy leases on public lands.  The comment period closes on February 27, 2012.

The BLM believes that a competitive process would capture fair market value for the use of public lands, as required under Section 504(g) of FLPMA (43 U.S.C. § 1764(g)), and ensure fair access to leasing opportunities for renewable energy development.  The subsequent proposed rule would establish competitive bidding procedures for lands within designated solar and wind energy development leasing areas, define qualifications for potential bidders, and structure the financial arrangements necessary for the process.

The purpose of the ANPR is to solicit public comments to assist BLM in preparing a proposed rule by gathering the information needed to develop an efficient competitive process for wind and solar energy project leasing.  BLM also seeks public comments and suggestions on existing BLM wind and solar policies and guidelines and on the terms and conditions of lease authorizations.

The BLM is particularly interested in comments on the following questions:

1. How should a competitive process be structured for leasing lands within designated solar or wind energy development leasing areas?

2. Should a competitive leasing process be implemented for public lands outside of designated solar or wind energy development leasing areas?  If so, how should such a competitive leasing process be structured?

3. What competitive bidding procedures should the BLM adopt?

4. What is the appropriate term for a competitive solar energy right-of-way (ROW) lease?

5. What is the appropriate term for a competitive wind energy ROW lease?

6. Should nomination fees be established for the competitive process?  If so, how should the fees be determined?

7. How should the bidding process for competitive solar and wind energy ROW leases be structured to ensure receipt of fair market value?

8. Should a standard performance bond be required for competitive solar and wind energy ROW leases, and how should the bond amount be determined?

9. What diligent development requirements should be included in competitive solar and wind energy ROW leases?

BLM is also interested in receiving any other comments regarding the content and structure of the competitive process for solar and wind energy development.  BLM is not requesting comments regarding solar or wind energy environmental issues.

© 2012 Perkins Coie LLP