Bureau of Land Management to Designate Solar Power Fast Track Areas in Six Western States


photo: Tony via flick

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has just announced that the Bureau of Land Management will designate some 24 sites in six western states as Solar Energy Study Areas; and will establish new solar power permitting offices and speed reviews of utility-scale solar power proposals in these areas. All told the sites could generate nearly 100,000 MW of power, the Department of Interior said in its press release:670,000 Acres to be Solar Energy Study Areas
The Solar Energy Study Areas are located in Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah on land totaling 670,000 acres. Only areas with "excellent solar resources, suitable slope, proximity to roads and transmission lines or designated corridors, and containing at least 2,000 acres of BLM-administered public lands" were considered. Furthermore, "sensitive lands, wilderness and other high-conservation-value lands" were excluded.

Public comment on all these lands will be heard during the environmental review procedures before any final development decisions are made. These reviews are expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

Maps of the designated areas will be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, June 30th.

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