How the West Was Won: Interior Announces New Solar Energy Plan

Building solar “smart from the start” just makes sense

The U.S. Department of the Interior finalized new plans for solar energy development on public lands in the west on Tuesday after a prolonged joint effort among stakeholders and government officials to create environmentally responsible and economically beneficial renewable energy development guidelines.The large-scale plan, known as the Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement or SPEIS, will now set the stage for the next generation of renewable energy development in the West. And it will do so in a way that protects wildlife and habitat.

Proponents of solar energy have long sought guidelines for responsible development that would protect the interests of vulnerable wildlife/wildlands while also providing economic incentives for continued growth. With the announcement of this plan, the Interior has clearly emphasized that kind of “smart from the start” mindset, making it clear that protecting the environment will need to be a strong factor in future endeavors involving solar energy in the western U.S.

Because the release of the statement is so fresh, analysis will soon begin on the part of numerous organizations involved, including Defenders, to assess its various components. Keeping a close eye on this ongoing project is a necessary element to ensure we continue to develop renewable energy “smart from the start.” For now, however, the Interior’s announced plans show that long-term changes are on the way that could impact the environmental footprint of solar energy development for the better.

To read more about the solar plan, click on