More than 7,000 oil and gas permits issued for BLM lands in 2007, yet no permits have been issued for solar energy projects – ever.
PALM DESERT, CA – Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Manager of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs Katherine Gensler today testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.Subcommittee Chairman Jim Costa (D-CA) organized the field hearing at the University of California, Riverside, to discuss “Solar Energy Development on Federal Lands: The Road to Consensus.”
“There is a broad consensus that developing the enormous potential of solar power on BLM lands should be a priority for the bureau,” said Gensler.“Currently there are 199 solar projects waiting for permits from BLM, with some applications pending since 2005.Together, these proposed projects could power 20 million homes and could create 37,000 jobs in the region.Yet not a single permit for solar energy development has been issued by BLM.In comparison, there were approximately 7,100 oil and gas permits issued by BLM in 2007 alone.”
Gensler raised one of SEIA’s key recommendations for near-term growth in the solar energy industry by encouraging the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to expeditiously process pending applications for solar projects.A streamlined process will allow developers to meet the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act deadline of December 31, 2010, for beginning construction to receive Treasury Department grants.
The Southwestern United States has some of the greatest solar resources in the world.These resources present tremendous economic opportunity for the nation and Southwestern states.In 2008, U.S. installed solar capacity grew 16 percent and domestic manufacturing increased 65 percent, despite the economic downturn.According to a 2008 study conducted by Navigant Consulting, Inc., by 2016 the U.S. solar industry is expected to support 440,000 full-time employees and generate $325 billion in U.S. solar-related investment.