The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees nearly 250 million acres of land, most in the western half of the country. In 2012, the BLM worked with the Obama administration to flag potential sites in the western U.S. to develop large-scale, federally managed solar. It identified 1,400 square miles of public land, which could support 100 GW of solar.
That figure would nearly double the installed capacity of the United States. Yet today, a minute amount of solar PV infrastructure is federally managed for the public.
However, this may soon be set to change, as BLM works with the Biden administration to revive some of the Obama-era investigations into such projects. This week, BLM held a call to nominate land for solar development across Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, with a combined area of 140 square miles. The agency’s director Tracy Stone-Manning said officials are actively evaluating 40 large-scale projects in identified public lands.
Progress has already begun on this front as BLM approved the construction of the Arica and Victory Pass solar projects in California. The two have a planned combined capacity of 465 MW solar, 400 MW battery energy storage. The projects represent a $689 million investment and an estimated $5.9 million in annual operational economic benefit.
Clearway Energy Group is slated to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission the two facilities. The projects are developed as part of the BLM’s Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, which seeks to conserve desert ecosystems and recreational areas while expanding decarbonized energy in California.
Officials said that the further approval of a 500 MW project in California called Oberon is expected in the coming days.
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I would rather see the government utilize sun-drenched land that is otherwise not usable…and is already access restricted. The former Nevada Nuclear test site would be a big one.
What’s the hurry
“large-scale, federally managed solar” is another a avenue for the government to expand, aka socialism. Will my power bill be free since my taxes are paying for this?
so having a monopoly lying to the public/govt, and abusing customers and blocking any progress/change away from them is better?
we shouldn’t be paying for their mistakes/mismanagement. or is it that you work they lobbied you (institutionalized bribery) or that you for them?
their lies about admin fees – should’ve been all paid for years, if not decades ago…these things aren’t tracked manually/by hand in books like in the days before PCs – usually it’s a line in a database/excel…there’s no marginal cost to that.
I live in southern Nevada. To me, it is extremely important that intent of the Endangered Species Act not be set aside, in order to provide more electricity to today’s consumers – who merely want “more, and now”, than the adequate amount already available to us, if we were more selective and conservative in consuming it. The concept of our own “demand” being reasonable, and realistically affordable, gets interest and attention, only because rushed, speculative investment money has not today found a better place to go – on its own preferred terms, on its own development schedule. That will change surprisingly for everyone.
I am happy to learn, from my beginner’s status reading, that the presumed “need”, “right”, and permission to take protected open spaces, “refugia” desert wildlands, as “free wasteland” for use by timed-out, “large array” solar energy infrastructure, may not – get – to happen.
It appears to me, from reading online, that cascading evolution of the photovoltaics science and engineering may by-pass the concept, technology, infrastructure – incredibly wasteful destruction of last stand wilderness – once needed by large array projects, to make them appear to be profitable business. Solar energy installations – that are large arrays – are no longer “the” upcoming competitive technology, and were never meant to be “Green” onsite. It may be, that even with 1990s gifts from FLPMA writers, of artificial business “efficiencies” fo ensure profitability – that an individual project might become – financially – obsolete, even before planned irrecoverable damage to its irreplaceable wildlands takes place.
Let’s try solar panels on all our roofs, substations for electricity located where we need it (“microgrids”?), and no large arrays – anywhere – on last stand wildlands. No mess made? no irrecoverable mess to have to, forever unsuccessfully, try to fix, at impossible expense. And all the better ways for solar yet to come, have a better chance to – actually – work.
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