BLM plan aims to dramatically expand Western solar

Source: E&E News


The Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday took a major step toward boosting the rollout of utility-scale solar power on federal lands across the West.

BLM released a proposed update to its Western Solar Plan, adopted during the Obama administration in 2012, that would add 5.4 million acres in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington state and Wyoming to the list of federal lands that the bureau has evaluated and deemed suitable for commercial-scale solar development applications.

Projects proposed within these priority areas — all of which would be within 10 miles of existing or planned transmission lines that have a capacity to carry at least 100 kilovolts of electricity — would be subject to a streamlined permitting process because the bureau has determined they have high solar power potential and minimal conflicts with wildlife and plants.

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