Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First Solar Power Projects Approved to be Built on U.S. Public Lands



When talking about solar power, the US is years behind Europe and China. Ken Salazar (the secretary of the interior) has finally approved the first large scale solar energy projects to be built on public lands. This is the first step to unlocking vast amount of government land to be used for solar power.
Two projects are committed to use these lands. The Imperial Valley solar project which is managed by Tessera solar will use a 6360 acre site that will produce 709 megawatts with 28,360 solar dishes. The other project which is managed by Chevron will produce up to 45 megawatts from 50,500 solar panels. These projects under the stimulus act qualify for a total of over 300 million dollars. The approval process was slow due to the lands being governed by strict environmental laws, but both projects endured rigorous environmental reviews, and serve as a testing ground for future government lands which may be offered to other companies with green ambitions. Although the US is behind other countries in the development of solar power, the private sector and the government haven’t been idle and are refining technologies not only in solar power, but in other forms of alternative energies as well. With destructive power plants like coal and hydroelecric power, and potentially hazardous nuclear power as our main ways of generating energy, we need to look towards enviornmentally clean  alternative energies such as solar power. If we don't act now, future generations will pay the price for our indolence.  For further reading check out http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-10/sec-salazar-approves-first-solar-power-projects-be-built-public-lands.
-John Curran

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