photo via flickr
Large-scale solar in the US continues to take two steps forward while occasionally taking one step back. Take this week, when the the Interior Department identified two dozen potential sites for large-scale solar power installations on public lands. Two steps forward. But a federal judge blocked a new installation in California's Imperial Valley. One step back.Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced on Thursday a draft environmental impact statement which lays out the impacts from solar on landscapes and wildlife. The next steps are public comment on the proposal and hearings in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Washington. Go to the Interior Department's website for more information. Maps of the sites, which total 22 million acres in 6 Western states, are available at here.
"This proposal lays out the next phase of President Obama's strategy for rapid and responsible development of renewable energy on America's public lands..This analysis will help renewable energy companies and federal agencies focus development on areas of our public lands that are best suited for large-scale solar development."
The Imperial Valley project is opposed by the Quechan Indian Tribe. They say that the project will destroy Indian artifacts, desecrate sacred ground, and was not approved using the proper process. The fate of the project remains unknown, but meanwhile the California Energy Commission on Wednesday approved two new solar thermal power plants. California is on track to add over 4,000 megawatts of solar if all the approved big solar projects bear fruit.