"The Department of the Interior's move last month to accelerate development of large-scale solar power plants on federal land in six Western states could give an edge to companies that have already staked lease claims in 24 new 'solar energy study areas.'
"The initiative covers 670,000 acres overseen by the department’s Bureau of Land Management in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah. During the solar land rush of the last two years, scores of developers large and small have sought the best solar sites, and the bureau is currently reviewing 158 lease applications for solar projects covering 1.8 million acres.
"But the B.L.M. has yet to approve any leases and the new program is supposed to speed processing of land claims by identifying large tracts of the desert most suitable for solar development and then giving priority to projects proposed for those areas."