Federal Plan Identifies Millions of Acres for Solar Production

The proposal targets areas near transmission lines in 11 western and southwestern states.

1 minute read

January 19, 2024, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Rows of photovoltaic solar panels in the Nevada desert with mountains in background.

Solar panels in the Nevada desert. | AA+W / Adobe Stock

A proposed plan from the Interior Department identifies 22 million acres in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, and six other Western states that are suitable for solar energy development. “The draft plan published on Wednesday would update an Obama-era policy that established special zones for solar projects in six states - Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah,” notes a Reuters article

The proposal “is focused on lands within 10 miles of existing or planned transmission lines because those areas are easier to develop, Interior said,” and is designed to “facilitate faster and easier responsible permitting in priority areas and improve consistency in processing rights of way for utility-scale solar projects,” according to Interior acting deputy secretary Laura Daniel-Davis.

The plan excludes 126 million acres to protect sensitive wildlife habitats, cultural resources, and recreation areas.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024 in Reuters

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