Key takeaways

T

he U.S. has just flipped the script on a 2012 policy, that now unlocks a staggering 22 million acres of federal land in the West for solar energy development. This major makeover of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Western Solar Plan, also known as the Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), is now open for public commentary.

Crafted over a decade ago, the original PEIS was ahead of its time, identifying promising locations for solar development sites in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Yet, as the energy landscape evolved rapidly, the plan's limitations became clear. Responding to this, the updated version not only revisits the initial six states but also stretches its reach to Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming, following extensive consultations with stakeholders.

However, this plan extends beyond just increasing land area. Around 200,000 acres have been strategically designated near crucial transmission infrastructure. This placement streamlines the integration of solar farms into the electric grid, while also minimizing environmental footprint and reducing overlap with current land uses.

U.S. solar energy and conservation leaders have achieved a groundbreaking agreement, paving the way for sustainable growth. This landmark deal balances renewable energy expansion with environmental preservation, marking a significant step towards a greener future.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), with Ben Norris at the regulatory helm, has lauded this development. “Under the current policy, there are at least 80 million acres of federal lands open to oil and gas development, which is 100 times the amount of public land available for solar. BLM’s proposal is a big step in the right direction and recognizes the key role solar plays in our energy economy,” – he said.

Lawmakers are pushing for policies to support solar sales, aiming to incentivize renewable energy adoption and combat climate change.

The government's announcement initiates a 90-day period for public commentary, offering a platform for citizens to share their perspectives on the draft plan. Interested parties are encouraged to submit their written comments by April 18.

Stay updated on the latest developments in solar energy expansion and its potential implications for tax credits at "Lease Solar Panels Tax Credit." With the U.S. opening up 22 million acres of land in the West for solar development, understanding the associated tax credits becomes increasingly important

Interested in the facts and benefits of solar electricity? Discover the advantages of solar power and its potential impact on the energy landscape in our article on Solar Electricity: Facts and Benefits. Additionally, explore the opportunities presented by the opening up of 22 million acres in the West for solar development in the U.S. in our article on U.S. Opens Up 22 Million Acres in the West for Solar.

Sources:

https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/

https://www.seia.org/news/

Key takeaways

Posted 
Jan 30, 2024
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