There have been various news reports and press releases regarding an expansion of Solar Energy production in the Southwest and primarily in Los Angeles County. The Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa in his recent State of LA speech called
The “Solar L.A.” plan “a commitment to Angelenos that the Department of Water and Power will install over 1200 megawatts of solar power over the next five years, ensuring that we become a solar powerhouse.”
Simultaneously, Reuters reported that the U.S. Interior Department this past Monday designated about 670,000 acres of land as potential areas for solar energy production.
"This environmentally sensitive plan will identify appropriate Interior-managed lands that have excellent solar energy potential and limited conflicts with wildlife, other natural resources or land users," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.
The land is divided into 24 solar energy zones spread across six western states and could generate nearly 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity. The department will evaluate the possible environmental impacts of solar production in these areas as well as their energy resources. This energy zone will encompass the States of Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, California and New Mexico.
Pasadena Based E-solar announced earlier this week that they have a Solar Project which is projected to produce 192 gigawatt hours of electricity yearly in an agreement with PG&E and NRG Energy's subsidiary AlpineSunTower. Their project will be near Lancaster, California and it is projected to handle the consumption of thirty thousand homes. The plant is scheduled for completion in 2012 according to E-Solar’s website.
In an earlier release, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a twenty year contract between Rosemead based Edison and E-Solar Inc. late last year. The agreement calls for Edison to purchase up to 245 megawatts of electricity from solar power plants built by E-Solar in the northern Antelope Valley.
The power plants will use mirrors to focus sunlight on towers containing water. The water is heated and turned into steam, which powers turbines and generates electricity. These solar power plants are set to come online in early 2012.
There is a significant amount of Wind Energy being produced in the Antelope Valley currently, and now a number of Solar Energy producers are breaking ground in Lancaster and Mojave Ca. Many of these Solar Power companies have been buying land outside Lancaster and Palmdale, Ca. turning this area into a potential thriving Green Energy Zone. This news bodes well for the future economy of Antelope Valley, and for current and future land owners. Stay tuned here for more news on this green energy front.