President Joe Biden unveiled his much anticipated vision for solar farms to help transition the U.S. power grid into 100% clean energy by 2035. His plan lays out where the farms should and should not be within 11 states in the Western hemisphere, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

The Western Solar Plan initiative, overseen by the Bureau of Land Management, would provide companies with access to approximately 22 million acres of land open for solar projects.

Lawmakers say the Western Solar Plan ensures farmers, ranchers and small businesses will benefit directly from a clean energy economy. The investments announced in renewable energy and domestic fertilizer projects are said to “expand access to renewable energy infrastructure and increase domestic fertilizer production, all while creating good-paying jobs and saving people money on their energy costs that they can then invest back into their businesses and communities,” according to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Critics of the plan say these acres are desperately needed to protect and save the lives of endangered species, and say nearby landowners may object to living in close proximity to solar fields. They also say developing such massive fields will require a huge influx of new transmission lines, and without these necessary additions, would compromise those already in place — limiting the power disbursed to neighboring communities as a result.

Global Energy Expert and SolarBank CEO Richard Lu says whether you agree or disagree with the plan, one thing is certain: the environment is at a critical stage, and safe, reliable, low cost ways of producing energy are vital.

“We are not taking away productive agriculture lands. All the brownfields, landfills, rooftops, parking lots, spent mines/open pit and so on are more than enough surface to produce zero-carbon energy with solar panels to make the USA a great country with clean energy,” Lu said.

SolarBank is a full-service renewable energy developer with development opportunities of solar projects In New York and Maryland.