DOI identifies land for responsible renewable energy development

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The Department of the Interior has identified 192,100 acres of public land across Arizona it believes could be suitable for utility-scale solar and wind development.

This phase of the Restoration Design Energy Project ends a three-year statewide analysis of disturbed land and other areas with few known resource conflicts that could accommodate commercial renewable energy projects.

The lands identified in Arizona  include previously disturbed sites (primarily former agricultural areas) and lands with low resource sensitivity and few environmental conflicts. Additionally, the areas selected had to have reasonable access to transmission lines and load centers as well as be situated near areas with high electricity demand.

This phase also establishes the Agua Caliente Solar Energy Zone, the third solar zone on public lands in Arizona and the 18th nationwide, which delivers on Interior's promise made as part of the Western Solar Plan to identify and establish additional solar energy zones. The Bureau of Land Management estimates that the Agua Caliente Zone could generate more than 20 MW through utility-scale solar projects.

The identification of the potential of these lands does not directly authorize any solar or wind energy projects, as a site-specific environmental review is necessary. However, the Arizona project could serve as a model for future statewide analyses for responsible energy development in the West.

For more:
- see the Renewable Energy Development areas
- see the Record of Decision
- see the Federal Register
- see this release

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