Environment & Science

Federal land managers map possible solar projects

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Federal land managers say they’ll hasten the development of solar projects on public land in California and five other Western states. KPCC’s Molly Peterson has more on the announcement.

Federal Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has ordered studies and environmental reviews of possible solar projects on a thousand square miles of public land in six states. Now the federal government’s releasing maps of where those areas are. The Bureau of Land Management will spend $22 million considering two dozen parcels of land, including some east of San Diego, in the inland areas of Southern California.

Two of the fastest-moving solar projects are in Nevada. Salazar wants to launch 13 large scale solar projects by next year – and eventually, to get 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity on the grid. The federal land management agency already lists 158 solar projects. Solar industry advocates say 7,000 oil and gas projects won approval on public lands in the last year.