Public lands located in six southern states will be offered in concession to develop solar energy installations. The announcement made jointly by the Department of Interior (DOI) and Energy (DOE) is a step in the policy of allowing such enterprises on the federal land, in this case, the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
As announced in the statement DOI, since the beginning of the Obama administration in January 2009, have approved 17 solar energy projects on public lands, producing about 5,900 MW, enough to feed about 1.8 million households.
By late August it is expected the publication of the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), which will serve as a roadmap for the establishment of areas of solar access to transmission lines, existing or planned, as well as for less number of conflicts over resources and incentives for development in these areas.
“This master plan for landscape level planning that seeks to facilitate faster and smarter solar development on public lands in America,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, adding: “This is a key milestone in building a sustainable base for solar energy development and conservation on public lands over the next two decades.”
Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that “the development of resources from the U.S. solar energy is an important part of President Obama’s commitment to the expansion of U.S. energy production, to increase security energy and creating jobs.”
“This new plan is based on the commitment by identifying public lands best suited for solar energy projects, improving the permitting process, and creating incentives to provide more renewable energy to homes and businesses,” defined Chu.
The Final PEIS identifies 17 areas totaling about 115,335 acres of public land as priority areas for the development of utility scale solar, with the potential for additional areas through regional planning processes and future course.
In total, the estimated total development of 23,700 MW, enough renewable energy to power 7 million American homes.