Feds draft renewable energy plan for California desert

The Interior Department released a draft plan Tuesday along with state regulators to guide renewable energy development in California’s desert.

The plan is meant to balance the needs of solar, wind and geothermal energy development with conservation and wildlife protection.

“The draft plan released today will help provide effective protection and conservation of the California desert important for wildlife, recreation, cultural preservation and other uses, while encouraging streamlined renewable energy development in the right places,” Interior Secretary Sally JewellSally JewellInterior aiming to bolster land work with tribes U.S. veterans call on Obama Administration to finalize a strong natural gas waste rule now Overnight Energy: Flint deal clears way for funding bill MORE said in a statement.

At a news conference Jewell said the plan is about ensuring that “the areas that should be protected are set aside. The areas that should be developed are streamlined,” according to the Associated Press.

The plan covers federal land owned by the Bureau of Land Management, state land and private land that might be subject to Fish and Wildlife Service regulations.

It sets aside 2 million of the 22.5 million acres for energy development, while 4.9 million acres of federal land would be reserved for conservation.

The proposed plan is open for public comment until January, and Interior will make it final at some later point.