Interior’s Upcoming Release of Solar Energy Study Area Maps

Jun 29, 2009

“Meeting our nation’s climate goals will require significant new renewable energy development and our public lands will be part of that new energy mix. The Secretary’s announcement today is first step toward ensuring that we are doing renewable energy
development right on our public lands. Guiding development to lands that have high renewable energy potential and low environmental conflicts is the right approach. This is our chance to identify areas for renewable energy development projects on our public lands that avoid undue impacts to wildlife, wilderness qualities and other values and take advantage of existing transmission, appropriate development corridors, and already disturbed lands. We look forward to working with the Department in reviewing these 24 tracts and guiding renewable energy development to appropriate areas while protecting the wildlife, wilderness, and archeological treasures of our public lands. We are encouraged that BLM is considering revising the way it handles solar energy development applications, and hope that the end result will be fair access and use of public lands for solar development and overall better management of our public lands.”

Analysis of maps by Wilderness Society renewable energy staff will be available tomorrow immediately after the maps’ release. For comment, please call Alex Daue, (303) 650-5818 x108.

Statement by Alex Daue, The Wilderness Society’s renewable energy coordinator

Background: Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar today outlined the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to release “Solar Energy Study Area” maps for the six states of Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The maps, which will be released to the public tomorrow, highlight priority areas for solar energy development that have been selected due to their high resource potential, limited conflict with other resources and uses, and proximity to existing transmission and other infrastructure. The maps are expected to supplement BLM’s preparation for a responsible solar development program by focusing analysis and review on the lands which are most appropriate for development.