in News Departments > New & Noteworthy
print the content item

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has announced the first-ever statewide plan to identify and set aside previously disturbed lands for wind and solar energy development.

The initiative, called the Restoration Design Energy Project, designates a renewable energy zone on 192,100 acres of public land across Arizona as potentially suitable for utility-scale solar and wind energy development.

The publication of the record of decision (ROD) for the project caps a three-year, statewide environmental analysis of disturbed land and other areas with few known resource conflicts that could accommodate commercial renewable energy projects. The ROD also establishes the Agua Caliente Solar Energy Zone, the third solar zone on public lands in Arizona and the 18th nationwide.

The lands identified in Arizona include previously disturbed sites (primarily former agricultural areas) and lands with low resource sensitivity and few environmental conflicts. Bureau of Land Management lands in Arizona containing sensitive resources requiring protection, such as endangered or threatened wildlife and sites of cultural and historic importance, were eliminated from consideration.

Furthermore, the areas selected had to have reasonable access to transmission lines and load centers as well as be situated near areas with high electricity demand.

The ROD also sets standards for projects to avoid impacts to sensitive watersheds, groundwater supplies and water quality, and establishes a baseline set of environmental protection measures for proposed renewable energy projects.

However, the initiative does not directly authorize any wind or solar projects; any proposal will need to undergo a site-specific environmental review.

“This project is a key milestone in our work to spur smart development of solar and wind energy on public lands across the West,” Salazar says. “Arizona has huge potential when it comes to building a clean energy economy, and this landscape-level plan lays a solid foundation for making sure that it happens in the right way and in the right places.” 



Trachte Inc._id1770
Latest Top Stories

Wind And Solar Are Catching Up With Nuclear Power, Says Report

A new report from the Worldwatch Institute says nuclear energy's share of global power production is steadily shrinking. Meanwhile, renewables' share keeps growing.


Could New Desert Plan Spell The End Of California Wind Energy Development?

The California Wind Energy Association says it is disappointed with the draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, which was recently released by state and federal agencies.


New U.S. House Bill Includes Wind PTC Extension

U.S. representatives have introduced the Bridge to a Clean Energy Future Act of 2014, which would extend the production tax credit (PTC) and other provisions through 2016.


Utility-Scale Wind And Solar Keep Getting Cheaper

A new study measures the levelized cost of energy from various technologies and suggests that the costs of utility-scale wind and solar power are catching up with those of traditional sources, even without subsidies.


The Song Remains The Same: Ontario Seeks More Science Before Lifting Offshore Ban

The Ontario government says the nearly four-year-old offshore wind moratorium will remain in place until the province fully understands the technology’s impact on the environment.

Canwea_id1984
Renewable NRG_id1934
Future Energy_id2008