Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Interior Dept. approves first solar projects on federal lands

The Interior Department approved the first solar projects on public lands Tuesday, a move aimed at shifting the type of energy development on federal property in the years to come. The two ventures green-lighted in the Californian desert - the Imperial Valley and Chevron Lucerne Valley solar projects - could provide energy for hundreds of thousands of homes, though neither would start generating electricity for more than a year, at the earliest. Those projects still face hurdles. The Imperial Valley solar project, for example, hinges on a new multibillion-dollar transmission line that crosses sensitive habitats. Many companies also have complained that the administration has been slow to issue promised loan guarantees. The Solar Energy Industries Association says that only one loan guarantee has been issued under Section 1705 of the federal program and that 13 others are still "conditional." Renewable energy projects must start before Dec. 31 to qualify for federal grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Earlier this year, Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey testified that the agency hoped to sign off on 34 such projects before the end of 2010; on Tuesday, BLM officials said they may approve 14 at most...more

Here's an example of where BLM's ineptitude may save us all money.

In those instances where BLM is not inept, it provides an example of how Congressional land-use designations and environmental laws have restricted any productive use of the lands in question.

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