Idaho Bypassed In Creation of Western Solar Energy Zones

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While some wind developers have had a rocky year in their efforts to bring their brand of alternative energy onto the Western United States' energy grid, federal officials announced late on Oct. 12 that they want to streamline more solar development west of the Rockies.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar unveiled what he called a "roadmap that will lead to faster, smarter utility-scale solar development on public lands."

Specifically, Salazar wants to set aside 285,000 acres of public land for large-scale solar power plants.

But Idaho isn't part of Salazar's new "solar energy zones." Instead, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico were singled out for the streamlined effort.

Salazar said the new solar energy zones were chosen because they were near existing power lines, "allowing for quick delivery to energy-hungry cities." Additionally, the sites had fewer environmental concerns—such as endangered species habitats—that have stalled other projects.

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