Interior designates Arizona lands for solar, wind development
Washington (Platts)--18Jan2013/1218 pm EST/1718 GMT
Following a three-year environmental analysis, the Obama administration
Friday designated 192,100 acres of public land in Arizona as potentially
suitable for utility-scale solar and wind energy development.
The Interior Department has published a formal Record of Decision on the
plan, part of which will establish the Agua Caliente Solar Energy Zone, a
2,550-acre area in Yuma County which would be Arizona's third solar zone on
public lands. The Bureau of Land Management estimates the Agua Caliente zone
could generate more than 20 MW in solar power.
"This project is a key milestone in our work to spur smart development
of solar and wind energy on public lands across the West," Interior Secretary
Ken Salazar said in a statement. "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
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Friday's announcement marks the first statewide plan which identified
previously "disturbed lands" for wind and solar development. These lands are
primarily former agricultural areas.
Lands identified for solar and wind developed were chosen due to their
"low resource sensitivity and few environmental conflicts," and their
proximity to transmission lines, load centers and areas with high electricity
demand, Interior said.
The designation announced Friday does not authorize any solar or wind
projects and any future proposal will undergo a further environmental review,
--Brian Scheid, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Richard Rubin, email@example.com