The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Large-scale Solar Association (LSA) say they have submitted comments on the supplemental draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for solar energy development in Southwestern states.
The draft PEIS was issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
The comments include the following key principles that the organizations say are critical to the development of utility-scale solar power plants on public lands:
- Flexibility for solar power plants to be responsibly developed outside of designated solar energy zones;
- Near-term identification of new solar energy zones suitable for project development;
- Coordination of transmission build-out in areas where solar energy development is occurring; and
- Continued allotment of the resources and staff necessary for BLM staff to efficiently process pending project permit applications.
‘In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out an agenda that calls for significant development of renewable energy on public lands. The solar industry is up to the task," says Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA." But project developers need clear rules of the road that balance the need for flexibility to build solar power plants outside of designated solar energy zones, with responsible stewardship of public lands, resources and wildlife. These are not mutually exclusive objectives, and we look forward to continuing work with stakeholders.’