Rural America Set to Be Transformed by up to 55 Million-Acre Federal Solar Plan

February 26, 2024
February 27, 2024

Solar energy’s appetite for vast amounts of land has prompted the Biden administration to propose designating as much as 55 million acres of public lands as potential sites for industrial-scale solar farms.

That’s an area larger than 36 states and similar in size to Idaho or Minnesota.

An updated initiative by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), called the Western Solar Plan, proposes six alternatives for solar development.

In the most aggressive of these scenarios, 55 million acres across 11 Western states would be made available for solar energy. The least aggressive alternative would designate 8 million acres for that purpose.

The BLM’s “preferred alternative” falls halfway between the two, setting aside 22 million acres for solar development.

In total, the BLM manages 162 million acres of public land designated as “multi-use.” These multiple uses include farming, ranching, hunting and fishing, hiking and camping, drilling, and mining—and more recently, wind and solar installations and transmission lines to connect them to the grid.

The BLM, a division of the Department of the Interior, states that, in order to carry out the Biden administration’s goal of generating 25 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from wind and solar on public lands by 2025—and generating 100 percent “renewable” electricity by 2035—solar panels would need to be sited on 700,000 acres of public land.

More than 3 million solar panels are required to produce 1 GW of electricity, according to the Department of Energy. One GW can power 500,000 to 750,000 homes on average, assuming a constant supply of energy generation and use.

“The Interior Department’s work ... is crucial to achieving the Biden–Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035,” Laura Daniel-Davis, acting deputy secretary of the Interior, said in a Jan. 17 statement.

“And this updated solar roadmap will help us get there in more states and on more lands across the West,” she said.

“Our public lands are playing a critical role in the clean energy transition.”

The states targeted for solar development include Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. This initiative is part of a wider effort to satiate the demand for land from solar companies.

The sheer scope of the BLM plan—designating tens of millions of acres for solar development when the agency says 700,000 acres would suffice to meet Biden administration goals—is a red flag for many communities.

Dylan Hoyt, the planning program manager in the Utah Public Lands policy coordinating office, calls it “bad optics.”

“When I say bad optics, I mean when you tell me that I have 17,000 acres in Utah that’s set aside for solar, and now we’re going to jump to 3.7 or 1.5 million,” he told The Epoch Times.

“That looks terrible.”

Environmental groups and advocates for wind and solar energy applauded the plan. The Wilderness Society issued a statement that “in the face of climate pressure and the injustices of our current fossil fuel-based energy system, a rapid transition to a renewable energy economy is necessary.”
The Los Angeles Times published a supportive op-ed that stated: “Biden’s Western solar plan sounds scary, but it’s better than climate change.”

The article mentions Robert Moses, New York’s mid-20th-century unelected Parks and Recreation Commissioner, who was responsible for enormous urban planning projects including parks, bridges, and highways that crisscrossed the state.

Among Mr. Moses’s more notorious mega-projects were highway systems such as the Cross Bronx Expressway that ran through urban communities and turned once-vibrant neighborhoods into slums.

‘Destroying the Environment to Save It’

Some who are on the receiving end of the BLM’s solar plan say that, despite assurances from environmental groups, they remain concerned about the scale of this government development project and the amount of land that it would consume.

“They say we have to protect the environment, but they’re OK with destroying the environment to save it,” Gabriella Hoffman, policy analyst and host of the “District of Conservation” podcast, told The Epoch Times. “It makes no sense if you’re a conservationist.”

A report by The Nature Conservancy, published in May 2023, states that reaching the goal of net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050 by using wind and solar would require more than 250,000 square miles, or 160 million acres, of land, which is an area about the size of the state of Texas.
Some communities that find themselves in the path of the wind and solar industries say this is too high a price to pay for an uncertain benefit. Energy analyst Robert Bryce keeps a database of more than 600 local communities that have opposed wind and solar installations across the United States to date.

“This idea that we can save the environment by carpeting the rural landscape with oceans of solar panels and forests of wind turbines—it boggles the mind how climate activists can justify this,” he told The Epoch Times.

To subdue local resistance, some states, most recently Michigan, are writing new laws that prevent local communities from blocking wind and solar projects. However, some in the Western states say they still expect significant pushback to the BLM plan.

“It’s definitely going to impact wildlife,” Mr. Hoyt said. And not only an impact on species that live in the designated solar zones but also on those that migrate through them.

“There’s definitely going to be conflicts with ranchers, there could be conflicts with access to public lands depending on where it’s built, and there could be potential conflicts with the mining industry,” he said.

“States didn’t really have a say in the goals in the first place, which I think is disconcerting because the states represent the citizens.”

From Multi-Use to Single-Use

One of the prime target states for solar development is Nevada, both because of the amount of sunlight it receives and because of its proximity to California and Las Vegas, with their ever-expanding demands for electricity.

The federal government owns 85 percent of Nevada’s land, most of which is desert, but residents dispute the notion that it is devoid of wildlife and say they are concerned about the sheer scale of BLM’s solar plan.

“Nevada is hard-rock mining country,” Andy Rieber, a public lands consultant residing in Nevada, told The Epoch Times, “but the average footprint in Nevada for mining disturbance is less than 1,000 acres.


“They come in, they build on federal lands, and they pay a permit fee to the Bureau of Land Management, but the local economy gets nothing,” he said.

While the BLM initiative touts “environmental justice” among its guiding principles, people in targeted states worry that poorer rural communities will feel the impact of solar development, but that the electricity produced will be delivered to wealthier urban centers in states such as California.

“Yes, we need to be considerate of environmental impacts,” Mr. Hoyt said. “But at the same time, we’re coming in and we’re putting a huge transmission line and a solar field, and then when it’s done those people still have it there and have to look at it and live with it, but they get nothing from it.”

Another issue that many cite with using multi-use public lands for solar is that solar energy crowds out other uses on the land.

“One of the things that is unique about solar development is that it doesn’t really play well with others,” Mr. Rieber said.

“If you have a grazing allotment, a lot of things can go on in and around that, including recreation, even mining,” he said. “But a large solar installation is going to take a big chunk of land out of multiple-use circulation because you can’t do anything else with it; it’s a singular use.”

Public Comment Period

The BLM reports that it has, as of December 2022, permitted more than 9 GW of solar energy development, 3 GW of wind energy development, and 1.6 GW of geothermal energy development on public lands. The BLM has also permitted 17 transmission lines, crossing BLM-administered lands, to connect these facilities into the electric grid.
The public comment period for this latest initiative runs through April 18, and features a number of in-person and online hearings that are listed on the BLM website.

“You too can weigh in; you don’t need to be a policy analyst, you can be a regular citizen,” Ms. Hoffman said. “This is what these comment periods are for; you can just write a sentence, simple as that.”

Meanwhile, public officials believe there’s a way to allow solar development that will be acceptable to local communities.

“The question on the table isn’t whether solar is good or bad; I think everyone ascertains that there is a place for it,” Mr. Rieber said. “The question on the table, rather, is let us proceed with this development in a way that we won’t regret in the future.”

Mr. Hoyt said that if the BLM proceeds with the Western Solar Plan as currently written, lawsuits will likely be the result.

“We don’t want to see litigation around solar development,” he said. “We have great relationships in Utah with our BLM employees, and we want to keep it that way.”

The full article can be read at



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Comment by Willem Post on February 28, 2024 at 12:39pm

Hertz has an EV fleet, and sold most of it at very low prices, because nobody wanted to rent them.

Nowadays, most EVs are bought under a lease, by upper class folks, because they make too much money to qualify for the EV tax credit

I read a lot of great comments.

We have to vote Trump in by a landslide, so all these idiotic self-serving politicians get wiped out all over the country, and out of the Congress, so Trump can unto the Biden damage, especially at the border, because every illegal is a Democrat vote.



Wow, it does not get much better than this.
The Washington, DC, perpetrators of these EV follies want to be re-elected to have power over you, to use more of your money, to do more of the same follies, “for as long as it takes”, while they debilitate the US with open borders and over-top-war mongering
All that is even more true, because the EV charging stations are unreliable, often are out of service, and to top it of, EVs are unreliable, have high repair bills, and have poor range in cold weather, especially when having more than one passenger, and some cargo, and going uphill, on cold, snowy days, as in New England, etc.
Currently, the vast majority of charging infrastructure is concentrated in more densely populated coastal areas, as opposed to more rural areas of the country, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).
Almost all people in rural areas, often with dirt roads, and snow and ice and cold, and longer distances, are definitely not giving up their pick-ups and SUVs to “switch to EVs”, especially in impoverished states, such as Maine and Vermont. Their Socialist governments lost all sense of reality, and think money grows on trees.

Insurance Costs Very High: Because EVs are much more costly to repair, EV insurance rates are about 3 times the rate of gasoline vehicles, completely wiping out any energy savings.
Monthly Payments Very High: Because EVs are more expensive and interest rates are high, monthly payments are much higher than for gasoline cars, completely wiping out any benefits of tax credit subsidies.
Useful Service Life Very Short: EV useful service lives are very short, usually at most 8 years.
No one in his/her right mind, would spend at least $15,000 to $20,000 to replace a battery in an 8-y-old EV, which by then. would have lost almost all of its value, unlike a gasoline vehicle.
Charging Cost Very High: EV charging cost is very high on the road, usually at least 30 c/kWh, at home at least 20 c/kWh in New England
As a result, annual fuel cost savings are minimal, because EVs are driven fewer miles per year than gasoline cars, and the price of gasoline is about $3.20/gallon
Minimal CO2 Reduction: EVs driven, on average, about 72,000 miles for 8 years, according to various studies, do not reduce CO2 emissions compared to efficient gasoline vehicles driven the same miles, if CO2 evaluations are made on a mine to hazardous-waste landfill basis, and same-mile basis.
The useful service lives of gasoline cars is much longer than of EVs.
Range Usually Much Less Than Advertised:  EV owners experience much less range than advertised by EPA, especially with one or more passengers, with some luggage or a heavy load, cold weather, up and down hills, on wet/snowy dirt roads, hot weather, etc.
Teslas EVs, driven 75,000 to 80,000 miles, will have lost about 15 to 20% of battery capacity at end of year 8.
If traveling with one or more passengers, with some luggage, was a challenge on a longer trip, and even more of a challenge on a cold/snowy day, then an older EV, with an aging battery, has all that, and more, which is a good reason not to buy one.
Battery Aging a Serious Issue: If a new EV, it takes about 1.15 kWh to add a 1.0 kWh charge in the battery, plus, there is a loss of about 5% to get 1.0 kWh out of the battery to the drive train of the EV, etc. 
If a 5-y-old EV, it takes about 1.25 kWh to add 1.0 kWh charge in the battery, plus there is a loss of about 5.5% to get 1.0 kWh out of the battery
The older the EV, the greater the losses, plus the battery has lost capacity, the ability to do work and go the distance; all that is worse on a cold day, or hot day, heavy loads, and other adverse conditions.
Charging Batteries at Less than 32 F: If an EV owner parks at an airport, goes away for a few days or a week, upon return he/she may find the EV with an empty battery (if the battery had a somewhat low charge to begin with), if during that week the weather were below freezing, because the battery thermal management system, BTMS, will maintain battery temperature, until the battery is empty, then the battery freezes to 32F, or less. 
Charging would not be allowed, until the battery is warmed up in a garage.
In the future, with thousands of EVs at the airport, a percentage would have empty batteries. You would have to wait your turn to get a tow to the warm garage, get charged, pay up to $500, and be on your way, after 8 hours or so!!
Losing Value After 3 Years: Used EVs retain about 60% of their high original value, whereas gasoline vehicles retain at least 70% of their not so high original value, by the end of year 3.
Losing 40% of a $45,000 EV = $18,000
Losing 30% of an equivalent size, $35,000 gasoline vehicle = $10,500
The loss difference wipes out any tax credit subsidies. 

Comment by Dan McKay on February 28, 2024 at 9:46am

Solar Panel surfaces being black, they must absorb heat. How much of this heat radiates back into the lower atmosphere?


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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