skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Visual Resource Analysis for Solar Energy Zones in the San Luis Valley

This report summarizes the results of a study conducted by Argonne National Laboratory’s (Argonne’s) Environmental Science Division for the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The study analyzed the regional effects of potential visual impacts of solar energy development on three BLM-designated solar energy zones (SEZs) in the San Luis Valley (SLV) in Colorado, and, based on the analysis, made recommendations for or against regional compensatory mitigation to compensate residents and other stakeholders for the potential visual impacts to the SEZs. The analysis was conducted as part of the solar regional mitigation strategy (SRMS) task conducted by BLM Colorado with assistance from Argonne. Two separate analyses were performed. The first analysis, referred to as the VSA Analysis, analyzed the potential visual impacts of solar energy development in the SEZs on nearby visually sensitive areas (VSAs), and, based on the impact analyses, made recommendations for or against regional compensatory mitigation. VSAs are locations for which some type of visual sensitivity has been identified, either because the location is an area of high scenic value or because it is a location from which people view the surrounding landscape and attach some level of importance or sensitivity to whatmore » is seen from the location. The VSA analysis included both BLM-administered lands in Colorado and in the Taos FO in New Mexico. The second analysis, referred to as the SEZ Analysis, used BLM visual resource inventory (VRI) and other data on visual resources in the former Saguache and La Jara Field Offices (FOs), now contained within the San Luis Valley FO (SLFO), to determine whether the changes in scenic values that would result from the development of utility-scale solar energy facilities in the SEZs would affect the quality and quantity of valued scenic resources in the SLV region as a whole. If the regional effects were judged to be significant, regional compensatory mitigation was recommended. VRI data was not available for the Taos FO and it was not included in the SEZ analysis; the SEZ analysis includes BLM-administered lands in Colorado only.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Environmental Science Division
  2. Bureau of Land Management, Washington, DC (United States). Dept. of the Interior
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1327813
Report Number(s):
ANL/EVS--16/6
129350
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Bureau of Land Management, Washington, DC (United States). Dept. of the Interior
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY BLM; San Luis Valley; scenic; scenic resource; visual; visual impact; visual resource