The Interior Department stated that it has cleared two solar ventures on public lands situated in Riverside County that is California, as portion of the United States’ efforts to combat climate change and create a carbon-free power sector by 2035.

According to a press release, the three projects, which will generate approximately 1,000 megawatts (or about 1 gigawatt of electricity), are the first to be permitted under the DRECP (Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan) in desert areas of seven California counties. The move emphasizes the department’s unwavering support for onshore renewable energy generation.

The Victory Pass and Arica solar ventures, which would generate a maximum of 465 megawatts of electricity, have been approved by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). These renewable energy initiatives could power almost 132,000 houses when combined. The Oberon solar plant, a photovoltaic solar project worth 500-megawatt that potentially produces a maximum of 500 megawatts of the renewable energy and power to almost 142,000 homes, is expected to be approved by the BLM.

Solar development zones were initially proposed during the Obama administration, which announced plans in 2012 to deliver utility-scale solar energy installations to public lands in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. Officials have identified over 1,400 square miles (3,500 square kilometers) of public land that might be leased for solar power.

Creating a well-balanced community

The DRECP concentrates on public lands (10.8 million acres) in the desert areas of 7 California counties, and the Oberon, Arica, and Victory Pass solar ventures are located in locations that have been recognized as appropriate for renewable energy development. This plan not only simplifies renewable energy growth but also protects unique and irreplaceable desert ecosystems while also providing possibilities for outdoor enjoyment.

Secretary Deb Haaland stated in a press release that these onshore solar projects will assist communities around the country in becoming components of the climate response while also producing well-paying union jobs. “We are going to continue to work in conjunction with tribes, states, and cities to make significant investments in climate resiliency, clean energy development, and infrastructure replacement,” she said.

The Biden-Harris leadership and the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law have made it a priority to build infrastructure and create jobs for a sustainable energy future. “The BLM’s commitment to addressing climate change is reflected in its investment in clean and reliable renewable energy, which supports Congress’ direction in the Energy Act of 2020 to allow 25 gigawatts of wind, solar, and geothermal production on public lands by 2025,” stated BLM Director Tract Stone-Manning.

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