This is an excerpt from the August 14, 2012: Solar goes public, CSP plant makes progress, and local gov’t experts give answers edition of the SunShot newsletter.
Federal Lands Open to Renewables
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed a memorandum of understanding to allow for renewable energy development on 16 million acres of public land. In addition to possible offshore wind projects, new solar installations can take place at sites in the Southwest that were previously used for military purposes.
Several pilot projects in California and Arizona are slated to kick off the joint effort. An authorization process is being developed for solar installations at the Air Force’s Barry Goldwater Range East in Arizona and the Army’s Fort Irwin Front Gate in California. In addition, a permitting process is being piloted for Fort Irwin in California and the Yuma Proving Ground and Barry M. Goldwater Range in Arizona.
This effort is part of a larger undertaking by the Department of Defense (DOD) to reduce its $4 billion-a-year energy costs for facilities. Such on-site energy generation, together with energy storage and smart-microgrid technologies, also makes DOD less dependent on the commercial electricity grid, providing stability and security at times when the grid is disrupted.
Each of the military's five branches has committed to using one gigawatt of renewable power, which is enough for roughly 750,000 homes, by 2025. The agreement, if fully realized, has the potential to contribute 10 gigawatts of solar power to the nation’s energy supply.