Monday, December 20, 2010

Federal Solar Energy Plans Skip Oregon

Federal officials plan to accelerate large-scale solar energy developments across the Western United States. However, OPB News reports that those plans do not include Oregon.

Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, named 24 public lands areas in six states to be prioritized for utility-scale solar projects. The lucky states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. This list does not include the vast BLM lands in the sunny southeastern part of Oregon.

BLM officials said that Oregon was excluded because the lands have impediments such as inadequate transmission lines and a lack of nearby population centers.

Rachel Shimshak with Portland-based Renewable Northwest said the solar projects could still benefit Oregon, “Remember that in Oregon, we have a variety of solar manufacturers. So the kinds of jobs and manufacturing opportunity that Oregon has to serve projects in the Southwest is high.”

Federal officials are focusing the future of large-scale solar investment on "solar zones.” Oregon was passed over this time, but Oregon's solar advocates will continue to point out the benefits of solar investment in the state.

Via OPB News

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