April 19, 2024
A SunEdison photo voltaic facility in Valley Heart. Picture by Chris Jennewein

The Biden administration on Wednesday unveiled a proposal for photo voltaic vitality tasks on federal lands that identifies 22 million acres in 11 western states finest fitted to growth.

The announcement is a part of the Inside Division‘s push to web site extra renewable vitality services on federal lands, a cornerstone of President Joe Biden’s purpose to decarbonize the U.S. electrical energy grid by 2035 and fight local weather change.

The draft plan revealed on Wednesday would replace an Obama-era coverage that established particular zones for photo voltaic tasks in six states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

Inside mentioned adjustments to the Bureau of Land Administration‘s 11-year-old Western Photo voltaic Plan had been obligatory on account of advances in know-how, hovering demand for renewable vitality and elevated curiosity in photo voltaic growth in northern states.

The brand new plan contains areas in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming and is concentrated on lands inside 10 miles of current or deliberate transmission strains as a result of these areas are simpler to develop, Inside mentioned.

It additionally excludes 126 million acres from growth on account of conflicts with issues like crucial wildlife habitats, recreation, historic locations and outdated development forests.

The plan relied on federal forecasts for clear vitality wants to find out that 700,000 acres of public lands could be wanted for photo voltaic vitality over the subsequent 20 years.

“By updating this plan, we are going to facilitate quicker and simpler accountable allowing in precedence areas and enhance consistency in processing rights of manner for utility-scale photo voltaic tasks,” Laura Daniel-Davis, Inside’s appearing deputy secretary, mentioned on a name with reporters.

The proposal is open for public remark till April 18. A ultimate plan is anticipated to be revealed earlier than the tip of the yr.

Individually, Inside mentioned it had taken steps towards approval of six photo voltaic tasks and a transmission line in Nevada, California and Arizona. BLM has authorised 47 clear vitality tasks, sufficient to energy greater than 3.5 million properties, through the Biden administration.