Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar finalized a plan in Las Vegas Friday that allows the Bureau of Land Management to push forward a solar energy program for the Southwestern United States.
Salazar calls it the Western States Solar Plan. It identifies solar energy zones on about 285-thousand acres of public land that will house commercial-scale development.
"Bottom line, what this document will do is identify 17 solar energy zones, which are the sweet spots for solar energy development across six states in the United States of America," Salazar said.
Private companies can now apply for permits to develop solar energy on public land. Here in Nevada, 60-thousand acres have been identified as solar zones. Other states to host utility-scale solar projects include Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The bureau says the zones identified have the fewest
conflicts with wildlife conservation or tribal interests.