Over 100 advocacy groups push for solar above all government-owned canals

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More than 125 groups have called on the U.S. Reclamation Service and the Department of the Interior to roll out new initiatives to bring solar power to nearly 8,000 miles of canals owned and operated by the federal government.

of letter The Home Office and Reclamation Service said installing solar panels on open-air canals and aqueducts could generate electricity and reduce water loss from evaporation caused by drought caused by climate change.

“By focusing on the introduction of solar energy into waterways that are already built environments and are already under the control of the Landfill Service, the department may be able to meet the requirement of the 2020 Energy Act mandate to install 25GW of onshore renewable energy on public lands without destroying another acre of habitat,” the letter said.

“Instead of further sacrificing public lands, the Home Office should bring renewable energy to areas already developed, such as irrigation canals,” said Brett Hartle, director of government affairs at the Center for Biodiversity. “There is no need to pave thousands of acres of desert public lands or destroy wildlife habitats for renewable energy. This effort will help reduce water loss, create jobs in frontline communities and protect public lands.”

Many of the canals operated by the Bureau of Reclamation are near environmental justice communities. Deploying renewable energy on top of the canal system would create clean energy to replace dirty fossil fuel energy in those communities, while also providing jobs for low-income communities across the West.

“Installing solar panels in canals and built environments helps conserve desert ecosystems,” says Cody Hanford, co-executive director of the Mojave Desert Land Trust, a conservation group based in Joshua Tree, California. “We work daily with federal agencies to ensure conservation is part of the energy transition. Prioritizing solar development in canals and urban areas will help reduce pressure on fragile desert wilderness.”

California is pilot project While solar panels have been installed in some canals, similar solar power generation systems have been installed in other countries such as India and Lebanon. If most of the Reclamation Bureau’s canals were covered with solar panels, it could generate enough renewable energy to power about 20 million homes.

Canals play a key role in an equitable, clean energy future. Outline of Positive Vision Policy It was announced earlier this year by the Coalition of Environmental Justice and Conservation groups.

News from the Center for Biodiversity

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