Renewable Energy in the California Desert: Mechanisms for Evaluating Solar Development on Public Lands (2010)

Client Organization: 
The Wilderness Society
Project Location : 
Summary of Project Idea: 

This project aims to provide The Wilderness Society (and interested stakeholders) with a series of analyses and accompanying tools for evaluating proposed utility-scale solar energy facilities in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts of California. The overall goal is to develop recommendations and guidelines that will enable TWS and other stakeholders to comprehensively evaluate potential impacts of utility-scale solar developments on the California Desert. The project spans six different focus areas: (1) ecological impacts of solar development on species, natural communities, and landscape-scale ecological processes; (2) economic analysis and distributed generation case study; (3) GIS spatial analysis of site suitability; (4) evaluation of the solar-permitting process and policy incentives/disincentives for solar development on public lands; (5) socioeconomic impact analysis, stakeholder survey, and case study; and, (6) technology impacts on the environment and resource and infrastructure needs of proposed technologies.


SEAS Program Areas: 
Conservation Ecology (Aquatic Sciences, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Conservation Biology)
Environmental Policy and Planning
Environmental Informatics
Sustainable Systems
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Steve Yaffee
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Jesse Fernandes, MUP Land Use and Environmental Planning
  • Natalie Flynn, MS Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Samantha Gibbes, MS Environmental Informatics
  • Matthew Griffis, MS Environmental Policy and Planning/Conservation Biology
  • Takahiro Isshiki, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Sean Killian, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Laura Palombi, MBA/MS Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Nerissa Rujanavech, MS Conservation Biology/Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Sarah Tomsky, MS Conservation Biology/Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Meredith Tondro, MS Sustainable Systems/Environmental Policy and Planning
Project Status: 
Past Project