The Bureau of Land Management, which manages public land in the United States, has put a two-year moratorium on new solar plant proposals on public land. The good news is that the moratorium is motivated by the large number of proposals that have been made, which implies that a lot of companies are interested in solar energy as a significant source of energy in the near future. This is a hopeful sign that cleaner energy sources are on the rise.
The bad news is the moratorium itself. The Bureau is imposing the moratorium because they want to make sure that the environmental impact from the large number of solar plants will not be too adverse. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it's reasonable to be cautious about deploying a new type of energy plant on a wide scale and to make sure that the environment is not affected too much. On the other hand, this will impede progress in the solar energy industry, which could put the brakes on the deployment of clean energy sources.
The problem is made worse by the fact that tax credits for investing in new solar plants will expire at the end of the year, so it could put an abrupt halt to investments in solar energy. I just hope that Congress will renew the tax credits. And I really hope that this is not a sneaky attempt by the Bush administration to prolong the dependence on non-renewable, carbon emitting energy sources.