Arizona solar area part of state's 192,000-acre renewables-friendly zone

The move is part of a drive to identify public land across six western states which would be suitable for renewable schemes, forms part of President Obama‘s ‘all of the above’ energy mix strategy and is one of the final acts of the outgoing Secretary of State, who announced last week that he will return to his Senate seat in Colorado by the end of March.

The designated land, mostly former agricultural areas, has been identified after a three-year environmental analysis which ruled out sites with special wildlife, historic or cultural significance.

Any utility-scale schemes on such land would still be liable to environmental studies on an individual basis but the strategy aims to point developers towards suitable tracts of land for large-scale projects and the Arizona scheme includes the 2,550-acre Agua Caliente Solar Energy Zone.

It is estimated Agua Caliente, the third solar zone on public land in Arizona and the 18th nationwide, could generate up to 20 MW of solar energy at the site in Yama County, near Dateland.