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Top 6 Utility-scale Fast-tracked Solar Projects

In June 2009, the Department of Interior announced a fast-track program for renewable energy and transmission projects on public lands under BLM management. The agency designated fast-track projects as those "where the companies involved have demonstrated to the BLM that they have made sufficient progress to formally start the environmental review and public participation process."

Because these projects could potentially be cleared by December 2010, they could be eligible for economic stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. To put the fast track process in perspective, until now, utility-scale solar power projects have received zero permits to produce clean energy on public lands. Oil and gas companies, however, have received more than 74,000 permits to operate on federal lands over the past two decades.

The six projects that have received Final Environmental Impact Statements (FEIS) and are now open to public comment are listed below. The public comment period generally lasts about 30 days. Once the public comment period is closed and any final concerns are addressed, the U.S. Department of the Interior may issue a Record of Decision (ROD) formally approving a project’s permit to commence construction.



Imperial Valley Solar Project

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Project

Calico Solar Project


Lucerne Valley Solar Project

Blythe Solar Power Project

Genesis Solar Energy Project


Tessera Solar

BrightSource Energy, Inc.

Tessera Solar

Chevron Energy Systems

Chevron Energy Solutions and Solar Millennium LLC

NextEra Energy Resources, LLC


Imperial County, CA

San Bernardino County, CA

San Bernardino County, CA

San Bernardino County, CA

Riverside County, CA

Riverside County, CA



Power Tower



Parabolic Trough

Parabolic Trough

MW Capacity







FEIS Publish Date (link)

July 28, 2010

August 6, 2010

August 6, 2010

August 13, 2010

August 20, 2010

August 27, 2010


In addition to these six projects that are nearing their final go-ahead, there are in total 23 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale solar projects in the development pipeline in the United States. 



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Volume 18, Issue 3


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