Washington, DC, United States — In June 2009, the Department of Interior announced a fast-track program for renewable energy and transmission projects on public lands under BLM management. The agency designated fast-track projects as those “where the companies involved have demonstrated to the BLM that they have made sufficient progress to formally start the environmental review and public participation process.”
Because these projects could potentially be cleared by December 2010, they could be eligible for economic stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. To put the fast track process in perspective, until now, utility-scale solar power projects have received zero permits to produce clean energy on public lands. Oil and gas companies, however, have received more than 74,000 permits to operate on federal lands over the past two decades.
The six projects that have received Final Environmental Impact Statements (FEIS) and are now open to public comment are listed below. The public comment period generally lasts about 30 days. Once the public comment period is closed and any final concerns are addressed, the U.S. Department of the Interior may issue a Record of Decision (ROD) formally approving a project’s permit to commence construction.
|Project||Imperial Valley Solar Project||Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Project||Calico Solar Project||Lucerne Valley Solar Project||Blythe Solar Power Project||Genesis Solar Energy Project|
|Company||Tessera Solar||BrightSource Energy, Inc.||Tessera Solar||Chevron Energy Systems||Chevron Energy Solutions and Solar Millennium LLC||NextEra Energy Resources, LLC|
|Location||Imperial County, CA||San Bernardino County, CA||San Bernardino County, CA||San Bernardino County, CA||Riverside County, CA||Riverside County, CA|
|Technology||Dish-Engine||Power Tower||Dish-Engine||Photovoltaic||Parabolic Trough||Parabolic Trough|
|FEIS Publish Date (link)||July 28, 2010||August 6, 2010||August 6, 2010||August 13, 2010||August 20, 2010||August 27, 2010|
In addition to these six projects that are nearing their final go-ahead, there are in total 23 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale solar projects in the development pipeline in the United States.