From the Ventura County Star:
ROACH DRY LAKE, Nev. — Not a light bulb’s worth of solar electricity has been produced on the millions of acres of public desert set aside for it. Not one project to build glimmering solar farms has even broken ground.
Instead, five years after federal land managers opened up stretches of the Southwest to developers, vast tracts still sit idle.
An Associated Press examination of U.S. Bureau of Land Management records and interviews with agency officials show that the BLM operated a first-come, first-served leasing system that quickly overwhelmed its small staff and enabled companies, regardless of solar industry experience, to squat on land without any real plans to develop it.
As the nation drills ever deeper for oil off its shores and tries to diversify its energy supply, the federal government has failed to use the land it already has — some of the world’s best for solar — to produce renewable electricity.
The Obama administration says it is expediting the most promising projects, with some approvals expected as soon as this month. And yet, it will be years before the companies begin sending electricity to the Southwest’s sprawling, energy-hungry cities.