BLM Yuma Field Office
Attn: Erica Stewart
7341 E. 30th Street, Suite A
Yuma, AZ 85365
RE: Solar Variances
Dear BLM Staff,
The Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) is an Arizona based nonprofit, focusing on policies that advance the adoption of solar, storage, and electrification. We are active at all levels of government in the state and represent organizations throughout the clean energy economy. I am writing to encourage BLM to continue moving forward with the solar variance process for the proposed solar projects located in Mohave County.
Solar and storage systems benefit surrounding communities in several ways. First, Arizona continues to struggle with water quantity challenges. Solar development and operation of solar facilities does not require large amounts of water compared to other land uses. Using these lands for solar development can help alleviate some of Arizona’s water quantity challenges. Second, the use of clean energy reduces emissions and can improve air quality. Third, the proposed projects should not adversely impact local ecosystems. All three of the proposed projects plan to protect and preserve the natural habitat. Local wildlife and vegetation will still be protected on these lands and can also be used for solar facilities. Along with positive local impacts, the use of solar and storage benefits the entire nation, making public lands a particularly suitable place to develop these facilities. Air quality is a national and global issue; therefore, the emissions reductions achieved from transitioning to the use of more clean energy resources has widespread benefits. The deployment of solar energy also increases energy security throughout the United States. Overall, solar development on public lands will have long term benefits for both surrounding communities and the nation.
Please continue to consider and analyze the three solar projects for future development on BLM lands. These include White Hills Solar, Mineral Park Solar, and Leo Solar. AriSEIA supports renewable energy development on public lands. BLM and the solar companies involved should continue to be diligent in their analyses and take the steps necessary to evaluate the suitability of these projects. I have also attached some information on the water usage of solar (operations and lifecycle), the lifecycle emissions of different electricity generating resources, and solar development rates in Arizona and accompanying economic benefits.
Autumn Johnson, Executive Director
Figure 1 Life cycle water use for electricity generation: a review and harmonization of literature estimates. J Meldrum et al 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 015031
Figure 2 Water Impacts of High Solar PV Electricity Penetration, NREL/TP-6A20-63011, September 2015 (operational water usage)
Figure 3 Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Electricity Generation: Update, NREL, 2021
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