U.S. lays out the welcome mat for solar on public lands
Adelanto is a desert town northeast of Los Angeles. The average high in Adelanto is 75 degrees; it’s in the high desert, so it gets a lot of sun. Yesterday, the L.A. Department of Water and Power put that sunlight to work.
The Department of the Interior today announced plans to make that practice far more common throughout the West. The New York Times reports:
After more than two years of study and public comment, the Department of Interior on Tuesday identified 17 sites on 285,000 acres of public lands across six Southwestern states as prime spots for development of solar energy. Agency officials said the government would fast-track applications for large-scale solar energy installations at those sites in the hope of speeding construction of thousands of megawatts of renewable, non-polluting electricity generation. …
But officials said they were fencing off more than 78 million acres of public land from solar development because the areas have less solar energy potential, do not have immediate access to transmission lines or pose a threat to important archaeological or cultural sites, endangered species, scarce water resources or other environmental values if developed.
As noted at The Hill, since President Obama took office, the number of solar installations on public land has gone from zero to 17, now generating 6,000 megawatts of power.
The goal is 17 more Adelantos — but bigger, generating more energy, employing more people. We look forward to hearing the fossil-fuel industry’s objections.