Written by R.E. Lord

Tessera Solar Dish October has been a big month for solar energy projects on public lands.

Six projects, all of them in California and Nevada, have been approved this month by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. On Monday, Salazar permitted Solar Millennium to build a 7,000-acre, 1,000 megawatt solar power plant near Blythe, Calif. The project is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs during construction and some 221 permanent jobs when it becomes fully operational.

Last week the secretary gave the Calico Solar Project the go-ahead to start ramping up on 4,604 acres of BLM land in the Mojave Desert, about 37 miles east of Barstow.

Tessera Solar of Texas hopes to produce more than 663.5 megawatts of renewable energy through the Calico Solar Project -- enough to power 200,000 to 500,000 homes -- and to hire at least 500 workers.

“The Calico Solar Project is one of several projects in the pipeline that will help California and this nation build a renewable energy economy,” Secretary Salazar said in a statement. “With each project, we are helping to create new jobs for American workers, reduce carbon emissions, promote energy independence and strengthen our national security." Other solar projects approved this month include the Imperial Valley Solar Project, Chevron Lucerne Valley Solar Project, Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, and Silver State North Solar Project. All told these projects could more than 1,800 megawatts of renewable energy, according to the Department of the Interior.

A fact sheet on the project is available at http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=66953

A map of the site at http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=66952