Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar has introduced measures to expedite solar energy projects on federal lands. Under one initiative, 24 tracts of Bureau of Land Management-administered land located in six western states, known as Solar Energy Study Areas, will be fully evaluated for their environmental and resource suitability for large-scale solar energy production.

In addition, a new DOI renewable energy coordination office (RECO) in Nevada will be opened to expedite processing of the expected increased number of applications for renewable energy projects on U.S. lands. Other RECOs in Arizona, California and Wyoming will also be opened. To date, the Bureau of Land Management has received about 470 renewable energy project applications, including 158 active solar applications covering 1.8 million acres, and a projected capacity to generate 97,000 MW of electricity. (Source: DOI, June 30, 2009)

Contact: Frank Quimby, Department of Interior, (202) 208-7291, www.doi.gov, Solar Energy Study Areas.