The Obama administration has unveiled a plan detailing where utility-scale solar power projects can be developed in the western U.S., with 17 proposed solar energy zones in six western states given the highest priority for solar development.
The blueprint of the plan, released by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), identifies about 445 square miles of desert in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. “That’s where the sweet spots are, so that’s where development will be driven,” said U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
The BLM identified another 31,250 square miles where large-scale solar power projects could be potentially be sited if environmental impacts are minimal. The plan would not apply to 13 solar energy projects already being built or dozens more awaiting approval.
A coalition of environmental groups issued a joint statement supporting the effort, calling it a “a balanced package intended equally to reflect the needs of the emerging solar industry and the mandate to conserve our nation’s precious natural resources.”
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.