News & Announcements
August 14, 2012
"Argonne supports solar energy planning in Southwest"Media Contacts: Brian Grabowski at firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. Departments of the Interior (DOI) and Energy (DOE) have reached a milestone in their efforts to accelerate solar energy development on public lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah — a corner of the country where the sun shines strong and hard.
With support from Argonne National Laboratory’s Environmental Science division, the federal agencies have issued the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States (Solar PEIS), a report that outlines specific locations, permitting processes, incentives, mitigation strategies and adaptive management plans for solar energy development.
Part of the administration's "all-of-the-above" energy strategy, the Solar PEIS represents a major step forward in diversifying the country’s energy portfolio. The document provides a roadmap for informed solar energy development that avoids, minimizes and mitigates biological, ecological, cultural, scenic and socioeconomic impacts.
Argonne scientists helped prepare the report by assessing the potential impacts of solar development on resources, including soil, water, air, protected and endangered wildlife, cultural resources and visual resources.
Argonne's work helped DOE and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) identify BLM-administered lands that are optimal for solar energy development. Argonne research also helped the agencies determine mitigation strategies and develop new policies and programs to guide future development.
“We are pleased to support the agencies’ efforts to identify areas that are most suitable to future solar energy development in the southwestern U.S.,” said John Krummel, director of Argonne’s Environmental Science division. “Developing a blueprint for future solar energy development will help facilitate faster and more efficient utility-scale solar development on America’s public lands.”
The Solar PEIS identifies and evaluates 17 proposed Solar Energy Zones, comprising 285,000 acres of public land, as priority areas for solar energy projects. The document also identifies another 19 million acres as “variance areas” that could accommodate solar energy projects on the condition that developers conduct additional environmental ...