U.S. officials announced approval Tuesday of two solar projects in California and moved to open up public lands in three other Western states to potential solar development, as part of the Biden administration’s effort to counter climate change by shifting from fossil fuels.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved the Arica and Victory Pass solar projects in Riverside County east of Los Angeles, which combined would generate up to 465 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power about 132,000 homes. Approval of a third solar farm — planned for 500 megawatts and known as Oberon — is expected in coming days, officials said.
The land agency also on Tuesday issued a call to nominate land for development within “solar energy zones” in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico that combined cover about 140 square miles (360 square kilometers).
The solicitation of interest comes as officials under Democratic President Joe Biden promote renewable wind and solar power on public lands and offshore to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet. That’s a pronounced change from Republican President Donald Trump’s emphasis on coal mining and oil and gas drilling.