Public Land Solar Up and Running

Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar flipped the switch May 7 to start the first large-scale solar energy facility on U.S. public lands delivering power to consumers. Silver State North is a 50 MW plant located 40 miles south of Las Vegas that will use photovoltaic technology to generate enough power for roughly 9,000 homes. The plant was built by First Solar and Enbridge on 618 acres of Bureau of Land Management land. Prior to 2009, there were no solar energy projected permitted on public lands; since then the agency has authorized 29 large-scale renewable energy projects on public land, including 16 solar facilities, 5 wind farms, and 8 geothermal plants.