Photo: Lance Cheung, Flickr, CC BY
The US Interior Department has released a report identifying the 24 best locations for solar development on public lands across the nation. These so-called "solar zones" across the Southwest have been pinpointed in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona California, and Nevada. This plan will hopefully help speed up development for solar projects nationwide. The draft outlines the locations where solar can be most efficiently built while minimizing cost and environmental impacts. It also opens what's estimated to be additional 21 million acres for solar projects nationwide. The AP reports:
]"The steps taken today help ensure that the United States will lead the world in energy technologies critical for meeting our energy goals and for sustaining economic growth," said Henry Kelly, principal deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy with the Department of Energy.The plan has been in the works for nearly three years, and will serve as a long-overdue blueprint for accelerating the development of solar in the US. Along with recent news that a plan has been put in place to boost offshore wind development on the East Coast, renewable power production looks to have cleared two major bureaucratic hurdles.
Federal officials said there will be a 90-day public comment period and a series of public meetings in the Southwest, as well as Washington. The final report, which aims to reduce conflicts and delays later in the process, will be released in 2011, according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
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