WASHINGTON (November 10, 2015) — The Department of Interior today released a milestone plan for conservation and renewable energy development on public lands in California’s Mojave Desert.
The long-awaited Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) addresses solar, wind and geothermal development, guiding renewable energy development to low-conflict areas to minimize impacts to wildlife and wildlands.
The plan embodies hallmarks of “smart from the start” siting that NRDC has been advocating for years: landscape-level planning, guiding development to low-conflict areas, coordinating transmission and generation, and strategic, regional mitigation for project impacts.
The Bureau of Land Management and the California Energy Commission, with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked closely together on this landmark effort. Multiple stakeholders were engaged throughout the process in – including conservation groups and renewable energy companies – to ensure long-term protection of wildlife, wilderness, and treasured desert landscapes.
Following is a statement by Helen O’Shea, director of NRDC’s Western Renewable Energy Project:
“The Department of Interior today took a big step forward for clean energy and conservation. The administration is demonstrating that we can advance renewable energy development on our nation’s public lands, while at the same time protecting wildlands and wildlife.
“As California – and our nation – pursue more aggressive climate goals, it’s critical that we use all the tools at our disposal. This is an important piece of a comprehensive plan to fight climate change in California that includes energy efficiency, conservation, distributed generation, and modernizing our electric grid to handle more renewables at all scales.”