Argonne National Laboratory Solar Energy Systems U.S. Department of Energy

Research: Systems Analysis


Impacts of utility-scale solar energy development

Argonne is providing support to the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the preparation of a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) evaluating the impacts of utility-scale solar energy development. The joint PEIS will evaluate alternative management strategies to determine which presents the best management approach for the agencies to adopt in terms of mitigating potential impacts and facilitating solar energy development while carrying out their respective missions. The measures adopted as a result of this PEIS will provide consistency and certainty for solar energy development and will help expedite environmental analysis for site-specific projects in the future. The focus of study is on solar energy development occurring on BLM-administered lands in six western states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah).

Key objectives include (1) establishing agency-specific programs and policies to minimize environmental impacts of solar energy development; (2) identifying BLM lands suitable for solar energy development; (3) amending BLM land use plans in the six state area to address solar energy development; and (4) streamlining future NEPA reviews of solar energy development projects and interconnections to Western Area Power Administration's electricity transmission system.


August 2012


John Gasper


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