February 1, 2010

Harnessing Solar Radiation in the Mojave Desert

Daily Journal
Nicholas William Targ
Environment and Land Use Partners Nicholas Targ and Elizabeth Lake co-authored a Daily Journal article titled, "Harnessing Solar Radiation in the Mojave Desert." In the article, Mr. Targ and Ms. Lake discuss the environmental roadblocks preventing solar power development in the Mojave Desert and the ongoing governmental efforts to resolve these issues.

In the words of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, "[i]f we cannot put solar power plants in the Mojave Desert, I don't know where the hell we can put them." While the Mojave Desert may be expansive and open, it is far from empty. The fragile desert habitat is home to numerous species protected by the federal and California Endangered Species Acts. Complicating matters further is the desert's near absence of rainfall. Increased water demand from solar energy systems employing water-cooled technology could strain limited water resources.

The Obama Administration has taken steps to proactively address issues pertaining to listed species and the siting of infrastructure and renewable facilities, more generally. To assist with federal and state coordination, the Renewable Energy Action Team is identifying and establishing areas for potential renewable energy development and conservation while addressing issues of time and uncertainty associated with licensing new renewable projects on both state and federal lands. Given the availability of stimulus funding for large-scale renewable energy facilities under construction by Dec. 1, 2010, efforts to expedite and harmonize the permitting process and resolve potential resource conflicts are of high priority. To read the full article, please visit the link below.

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