Initiatives announced to expedite development of vast solar energy resources in Western U.S.


WASHINGTON, DC – Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President and CEO Rhone Resch released the following statement on today’s announcement in Las Vegas, Nev., by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) regarding initiatives to expedite development of solar energy on Western U.S. public lands:


“Secretary Salazar and Senator Reid showed real leadership today by announcing initiatives to expedite development of vast solar energy resources on federal lands in the West. These areas have some of the richest solar resources in the world and we should not miss the opportunity to create jobs and generate clean, reliable energy with an inexhaustible, domestic resource.


“It’s about time to make the permitting process more efficient and provide greater guidance to solar developers. There are 199 solar power plant project applications pending at the Bureau of Land Management. In 2007, more than 7,000 permits on BLM lands were approved for oil and gas energy developers. To date, zero permits have been approved for solar energy projects.


“Notably, requiring BLM to perform environmental impact analyses of the Solar Energy Study Areas will ensure responsible development of solar energy on public lands and would expedite the permitting process for these projects. In short, everyone wins.


“Today’s announcement shows that we have leaders who understand that the solar industry can provide meaningful jobs and careers in states hit hard by the economic downturn. These initiatives make sense and will help our nation to diversify its energy sources while growing the economy.”