The U.S. Interior Department has instigated initiatives to accelerate the development of solar energy on Western lands. About 670,000 acres currently administered by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah will be evaluated for the development of large-scale solar energy production. These areas of land will be reserved for solar projects producing 10 megawatts or more of electricity and the goal is to fast-track the permit applications.
Each piece of land is at least 2,000 acres and has been selected for its solar resources, slope, proximity to roads and transmission lines or designated corridors. The evaluation will be funded with Stimulus monies under an ongoing federally-funded evaluation of solar energy development on public lands in six Western States. The evaluation should be completed in late 2010.