Published on October 22nd, 2012 | by Chris Keenan1
The New Federal Focus on Solar Power
Ken Salazar, the Interior Department Secretary, recently discussed federal plans for a big solar energy initiative that will involve several states, including California, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada. Known as the PEIS (Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement), this blueprint does not try to reinvent the wheel, tapping into ideas and strategies that were explored in the past.
One component of PEIS involves encouraging project development, and therefore, there is potential for it to grow with the addition of more solar projects. The first step, however, involves scouring each of the aforementioned states for areas with easy access to transmission capacity. Such areas would also have to be able to be developed without harming the surrounding environment.
The Future of Solar Energy in the Western United States
This latest project shows that President Obama is, in fact, committed to the environment and helping the United States acquire more renewable energy. One of his aspirations during his presidency was to put several energy projects into place that would garner at least 10,000 MW of renewable power. The two latest sites are in Wyoming; these wind farms have the potential to provide electricity to almost a million residential properties and small businesses in the United States. In addition, the approval of these sites will lead to more jobs in the green energy field.
In the past three years, there have been a large number of public land energy initiatives approved by the current government. They are varied, with some projects setting up solar panels, others focused on wind power and still others targeting geothermal energy. When the more than 30 projects were all analyzed, it was determined that they will provide enough energy for more than three million United States’ homes. In addition, they should have an extremely positive impact on greenhouse and carbon gas emissions. Because of initiatives that President Obama has authorized, the amount of renewable energy garnered from solar and wind power has increased significantly.
The Potential for the PEIS
The PEIS project is expected to be responsible for more than a dozen Solar Energy Zones,and it will encompass nearly 300,000 acres of land. If things progress as planned, enough solar energy could be generated to support seven million residential properties in the United States. Some development could take place outside of the Solar Energy Zones; proposals will be looked at individually to determine whether or not they are viable options. As plans progress, every effort will also be made to be protect the natural resources in each of the six states affected by the PEIS.