The Obama administration unveiled plans recently to ramp up solar energy production, offering incentives for solar developers to cluster projects on nearly 300,000 acres of federal land in the western U.S and opening almost 20 million more acres of the Mojave Desert for new power plants, reports Julie Cart at the LA Times. The long-awaited plan also appears to rule out a long list of environmentally sensitive lands where the government had allowed solar development over the objections of environmentalists. The plan establishes 17 solar energy zones in six Western states, including over 150,000 acres in California. The policy encourages developers to select sites within zones by promising minimal environmental reviews and expedited permitting. In addition, the administration is completing work on a range of additional financial incentives, such as lower land lease payments and reduced costs of bonds. The first-of-its-kind plan was hammered out over two years by an array of federal, state and local groups and praised by environmental groups, utilities and solar companies. The plan is expected to generate nearly 24,000 megawatts of power by 2030, according to the Bureau of Land Management.
US solar plan creates energy zones, excludes sensitive lands. The Obama administration unveiled plans Tuesday to ramp up solar energy production, offering incentives for solar developers to cluster projects on 285,000 acres of federal land in the western U.S and opening an additional 19 million acres of the Mojave Desert for new power plants. Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0725-solar-zones-20120725,0,1957957.story