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Obama government’s solar energy project for public lands

Roadmap for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands Released to Public Loan, BY ALEX FERRERAS   JULY 25, 2012 As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Department of the Interior, in partnership with the Department of Energy, will publish the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for solar energy
development in six southwestern states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

The final Solar PEIS represents a major step forward in the permitting of utility-scale solar energy on public lands throughout the west.

Today’s announcement builds on the historic progress made in fostering renewable energy development on public lands. When President Obama took office, there were no solar projects permitted on public lands; since 2009, Interior has approved 17 utility-scale solar energy
projects that, when built, will produce nearly 5,900 megawatts of energy—enough to power approximately 1.8 million American homes.
Thanks to steps already taken by this administration, renewable energy from sources like wind and solar have doubled since the President took office……

The Solar PEIS planning effort has focused on identifying locations on
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands that are most suitable for solar
energy development. These areas are characterized by excellent solar
resources, good energy transmission potential, and relatively low
conflict with biological, cultural and historic resources. The Final
PEIS identifies 17 Solar Energy Zones (SEZs), totaling about 285,000
acres of public lands, as priority areas for utility-scale solar
development, with the potential for additional zones through ongoing
and future regional planning processes. The blueprint also allows for
utility-scale solar development on approximately 19 million acres in
“variance” areas lying outside of identified SEZs. In total, the Final
PEIS estimates a total development of 23,700 megawatts from the 17
zones and the variance areas, enough renewable energy to power 7
million American homes…….
Key elements of the Final Solar PEIS:

Establishes an initial set of 17 Solar Energy Zones on 285,000 acres
across 6 Western States;
Outlines a process for industry, the public and other interested
stakeholders to propose new or expanded zones; efforts already
underway include California’s Desert Renewable Energy Conservation
Plan and the West Chocolate Mountains Renewable Energy Evaluation,
Arizona’s Restoration Energy Design Project, and other local planning
efforts in Nevada and Colorado;
Includes strong incentives for development within zones, including
faster and easier permitting, improved mitigation strategies, and
economic incentives;
Sets a clear process that allows for development of well-sited
projects on approximately19 million acres outside the zones;
Protects natural and cultural resources by excluding 78 million acres
from solar energy development;
Identifies design features (best practices) for solar energy
development to ensure the most environmentally responsible development
and delivery of solar energy; and
Establishes a framework for regional mitigation plans and a strategy
for monitoring and adaptive management; the first mitigation pilot for
the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone is already underway….


July 26, 2012 - Posted by | Reference, renewable, USA

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