13 new solar plants in the west
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Senator Harry Reid announce plans to fast-track commercial-scale solar power development on public lands.
Federal agencies will work with western leaders to designate tracts of U.S. public lands in the West as prime zones for utility-scale solar energy development.
Under the zoning portion of the initiative, 24 tracts of Bureau of Land Management land located in six western states, known as Solar Energy Study Areas, would be evaluated for their environmental and resource suitability for commercial-scale solar energy production. Those areas selected would be available for projects capable of producing 10 or more megawatts of electricity. The Solar Energy Study Areas (maps) located in Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah encompass about 670,000 acres.
The goal is to produce a total of 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity. The plan would streamline the entire development process; coordinate zoning and environmental studies, and; prioritize the processing of the projects. The new plan will tap resources made available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law by President Obama.