On the Drawing Boards:
Solar Energy Study Area Interactive Panoramas
Los Mogotes East
Dry Lake Valley North
East Mormon Mountain
Milford Flats South
Wah Wah Valley
The Plans On the Ground:
DOI Designates Solar Energy Zones
The U.S. Interior Department Monday designated about 670,000 acres of land on Monday to be "fast-tracked" as potential areas for solar energy production.
The Solar Energy Study Areas, located in Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah are outlined in maps to be published in the Federal Register today. Only lands with excellent solar resources, suitable slope, proximity to roads and transmission lines or designated corridors, and containing at least 2,000 acres of BLM-administered public lands were considered for solar energy study areas. Sensitive lands, wilderness and other high-conservation-value lands as well as lands with conflicting uses were excluded.
The public will have the opportunity to comment on these proposed solar energy study areas during the environmental reviews before any final decisions are made. The evaluation is expected to be completed in late 2010.
Currently BLM has received about 470 renewable energy project applications. Those include 158 active solar applications, covering 1.8 million acres, with a projected capacity to generate 97,000 MW of electricity. That’s enough to power 29 million homes, the equivalent of 29% of the nation’s household electrical consumption.
Instead of Zoning for Industrial Use -- Zoning for Solar:
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
Washington Office Public Affairs
Under a renewable energy initiative announced on June 29 by Sen. Harry Reid and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, 24 tracts of Bureau of Land Management-administered land located in six western states, known as Solar Energy Study Areas, would be fully evaluated for their environmental and resource suitability for large-scale solar energy production. The objective is to provide landscape-scale planning and zoning for solar projects on BLM lands in the West, allowing a more efficient process for permitting and siting responsible solar development.
But these PEIS Hurdles must be crossed first, by the end of this year, before building can begin:
Why a Programmatic EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] Is Appropriate
A Programmatic EIS evaluates the environmental impacts of broad agency actions, such as the development of programs or the setting of national policies. Development of specific agency-wide solar energy programs and additional related policy will involve the proposed amendment of land use plans and would establish environmental policies and mitigation strategies to be considered in making decisions on whether to fund projects or guarantee loans for the deployment of solar energy projects on BLM-administered lands or other Federal, State, tribal, or private lands.
GREAT first step, especially when you consider the Grand Solar Zone Potential:
From the January 2008 Scientific American Magazine
A Solar Grand Plan (Preview)
By 2050 solar power could end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and slash greenhouse gas emissions
By Ken Zweibel, James Mason and Vasilis Fthenakis
A massive switch from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants to solar power plants could supply 69 percent of the U.S.’s electricity and 35 percent of its total energy by 2050.
A vast area of photovoltaic cells would have to be erected in the Southwest. Excess daytime energy would be stored as compressed air in underground caverns to be tapped during nighttime hours.
Large solar concentrator power plants would be built as well.
A new direct-current power transmission backbone would deliver solar electricity across the country.
But $420 billion in subsidies from 2011 to 2050 would be required to fund the infrastructure and make it cost-competitive.
[...] The U.S. needs a bold plan to free itself from fossil fuels. Our analysis convinces us that a massive switch to solar power is the logical answer.
My Question, why not "Go Further, Faster"?
DOI Estimate: "enough to power 29% of the nation’s household electrical consumption"
SciAm Estimate: "could supply 69% of the U.S.’s electricity"
A nearly Total Solar Society by 2050 -- It's Possible!
We're on the right track, as long as the we don't fetter away this Opportunity, to Corporate Privateers, who will "bottle up" all that Free Energy for themselves!
Solar Energy Zones -- it's another bright development from the Obama Administration -- definitely worth watching to see exactly what develops, as the next year unfolds!