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Landscape Architect Articles
Interior Department Unveils New Solar Development Program02-05-24 | News

Interior Department Unveils New Solar Development Program

New Solar Plan Focuses on Western States
by Staff

Interior Department launches updated solar roadmap and pushes for cleaner energy on public lands.

The Department of the Interior has revealed a new roadmap for solar energy development in Western states including California, Arizona, and Nevada. This new plan aims to amplify solar production in more states and streamline renewable energy projects' siting and permitting on public lands. In an era marked by President Biden's emphasis on clean energy and resilience, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has outlined advancements in several renewable projects in those states, potentially contributing over 1,700 megawatts of solar generation and 1,300 megawatts of battery storage.

Acting Deputy Secretary Laura Daniel-Davis expressed the critical role of the Interior Department in aligning with the Biden-Harris administration's commitment to a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. The announced solar roadmap, an updated version of the 2012 Western Solar Plan, is considered the next step towards fostering sustainable energy practices.

The draft analysis of the Utility-Scale Solar Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, known as the updated Western Solar Plan, expands the scope to include Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. The preferred alternative could potentially provide approximately 22 million acres of land for solar application, offering flexibility in reaching national clean energy goals.

The Interior Department's investment of $4.3 million from the Inflation Reduction Act aims to enhance the solar development application process. By directing development to areas with fewer conflicts, the BLM seeks to efficiently permit clean energy projects while ensuring robust public and Tribal engagement.

This announcement aligns with the broader progress made during the Biden-Harris administration, with the BLM approving 47 clean energy projects and permitting 11,236 megawatts of wind, solar, and geothermal energy on public lands.



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