Record-Breaking $105 Million Auction for Solar Energy Development Projects in Nevada, Could Produce Almost 3 GW of Clean Energy

Representational image. Credit: Canva

The Biden-Harris Administration achieved a milestone in clean energy with a record-breaking auction for utility-scale solar development in Nevada. The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that the auction, held last week in the Amargosa Desert, garnered an astounding $105.15 million in high bids. The auction involved four parcels of land, spanning an impressive 23,675 acres in the Amargosa Desert. The highest-yielding onshore renewable energy auction in the agency’s history, it possesses the potential of generating around 3 gigawatts of renewable energy. 


BLM identified 17 solar energy zones in a 2012 blueprint on solar energy development in six states in the West, and the Amargosa Valley is one of them. The successful auction results reflect the BLM’s efforts to identify areas with high solar potential and low resource conflicts. BLM is currently updating its plan to consider the identification of new areas and the addition of more states to promote sustainable solar projects. Committing to the promotion of solar energy development, BLM also proposed updates to its renewable energy regulations. The proposed changes include reducing project fees by around 80%, streamlining the review process for applications in priority areas, and ensuring greater certainty for the private sector.

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The auction resulted in the identification of provisional winners for leases on two parcels and for preferred applicants on two parcels. Notably, NV Energy, Inc., emerged as the highest bidder for both lease auctions within the Amargosa Valley Solar Energy Zone. Parcel A, spanning 3,775 acres, received a high bid of $35.25 million, while Parcel B, covering 3,451 acres, fetched a bid of $46.6 million. For the two parcels auctioned outside the designated solar energy zone, provisional preferred applicants were identified. Boulevard Associates, LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, placed a high bid of $21 million for rights to submit a solar energy development proposal for Parcel 1, spanning 10,129 acres. Silver Star Solar I, LLC, a subsidiary of Leeward Renewable Energy, secured rights to submit the solar energy development proposal for the 6,320 acres spanning Parcel 2, with a high bid of $2.3 million.


Successful bidders for parcels outside the designated solar energy zones must submit a right-of-way application within 30 days of the auction and a Plan of Development within 60 days. The BLM will then proceed with the project-specific review process to verify compatibility with existing laws and policies before granting final approvals for further project development. 

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The BLM is currently processing a staggering 74 utility-scale clean energy projects proposed on public lands across the western United States. These projects encompass solar, wind, and geothermal energy, along with the interconnected gen-tie lines required for clean energy projects proposed on non-federal land projects. Collectively, these projects have the potential to add over 37,000 megawatts of renewable energy to the Western electric grid. Additionally, the BLM is also conducting preliminary reviews for over 150 solar and wind development applications, as well as 51 applications for wind and solar energy testing.

BLM oversees vast stretches of public land that contribute significantly to the nation’s renewable energy portfolio. President Biden’s Investing in America agenda aims to strengthen America’s economy from the bottom up. investing initiatives. The Biden-Harris administration’s goal of achieving a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 aligns with the commitment to building a clean energy economy. Initiatives from rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure to mobilizing over $470 billion in private-sector manufacturing and clean energy investments were taken. 

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