The Obama administration unveiled plans Tuesday to ramp up solar energy production, offering incentives for solar developers to cluster projects on 285,000 acres of federal land in the western U.S and opening an additional 19 million acres of the Mojave Desert for new power plants.
When Barack Obama entered the White House, the country had no solar projects in the planning stages, said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar who drew a sharp contrast with the country’s current rush to build plants.
“We have turned that around,” he said. “Three years later we stand at a proud moment in American history. It’s hard to overstate what a significant milestone this is for our administration.”
The plan establishes 17 solar energy zones in six Western states and excludes federal lands that are considered sensitive environmental areas.
Five solar projects in California alone are on the verge of receiving priority approval — along with two geothermal and several wind projects — for construction permits on federal lands after having gone through a public comment period.
(READ the story in the LA times)