Sep 24, 2014 - The US Department of the Interior and the state of California yesterday introduced a draft renewable energy and conservation plan that covers a desert area of over 22 million acres (8.9 million hectares).
The landscape-scale blueprint outlines areas in the California desert that are important for wildlife, recreation and other uses and should be protected. Also, the plan aims at streamlining permitting in areas appropriate for solar, wind and geothermal energy projects and the related transmission. It covers lands in Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.
The draft was prepared in a collaboration between the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), California Energy Commission (CEC) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). It includes six alternative approaches for meeting renewable energy and conservation goals through 2040. The period for public comment will end on January 9, 2015. A number of formal public meetings will be held by then.
In June 2013, the Obama administration launched a plan that calls for the Interior Department to clear over 20,000 MW of renewable energy capacity on the public lands by 2020. Since 2009, the Interior Department has given the green light to 14,157 MW of utility-scale projects in communities across the West. This includes 17 wind, solar and geothermal schemes in California with a combined capacity of 4,800 MW within the in the area covered by the draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP).
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