(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) The United States approved a plan Friday that sets aside 285,000 acres of public land in the West for the development of large-scale solar power plants.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called the plan a ‚"roadmap ‚ that will lead to faster, smarter utility-scale solar development on public lands.
The plan replaces the Department of the Interior‚„s previous system of approving projects, which let developers choose where they wanted to build solar sites and allowed for land speculation.
The department will no longer decide projects on a case-to-case basis. Instead, it will direct development to land it has identified as having fewer wildlife and natural-resource obstacles.
The United States is establishing 17 new ‚"solar energy zones‚ on 285,000 acres in six states, including California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico.
President Barack Obama‚„s administration has authorized 10,000 megawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal projects that would provide enough energy to power over 3.5 million homes, according to Salazar.