US Secretary of The Interior Deb Haaland has announced plans to expand solar deployment on public lands across the west of the country, including three major solar projects in Arizona representing just under 1GW of capacity.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency within the Department of the Interior, has initiated reviews of the proposed projects. The Jove solar project, in southeastern La Paz county, has a proposed capacity of 600MW over 3,495 acres of public land. Additionally, the 250MW Pinyon solar project and the 300MW Elisabeth solar project will also be subject to review. 4,400 acres of public land have been segregated for two years for these projects.
The BLM will also update its solar Programmatic Environmental Impact System (PEIS) to encourage and expand clean energy expansion across the western US. Introduced in 2012, the PEIS aimed to highlight areas with high solar potential and low resource conflict across six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
In a public release, the BLM said that its updated version will consider new states, altered exclusion criteria and expanded areas for solar deployment in light of new technology and more ambitious clean energy goals.