U.S. adopts plan for large-scale solar plants


LOS ANGELES — The Obama administration has formally adopted a plan to help create large-scale solar energy plants, offering incentives for solar developers to cluster projects on 285,000 acres of federal land in the western U.S and opening an additional 19 million acres of the Mojave Desert for new power plants.

The plan places 445 square miles of public land in play for utility-scale solar facilities.

The program, announced Friday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at an event in Las Vegas, will apply to new projects only and not the 17 solar facilities already awarded permits or the 78 currently in the approval pipeline.

“This historic initiative provides a road map for landscape-level planning that will lead to faster, smarter utility-scale solar development on public lands,” Salazar said.