Other than the tremendously needed toxic pollution standards announced yesterday, the Obama administration has made three more big announcements this week that should make anyone who values clean air, clean water, and a livable climate happy. A 300-MW solar PV project in Arizona and a 186-MW wind project in California were approved for construction on public lands. Additionally, the “first step” of a major offshore wind transmission line (or ‘superhighway’) in the Atlantic Ocean — the one Google has invested in — went forward.
Together, the Sonoran Solar Energy Project and the Tule Wind Project will create enough power for nearly 150,000 homes and will create 700 jobs at peak.
“Salazar’s announcements are the latest in a series of solar, wind, geothermal and transmission facility approvals resulting from Interior’s renewable energy program that has focused the Department’s resources to prioritize and process existing applications in a coordinated, focused manner with full environmental analysis and public review,” the Department of the Interior notes.
“In the past two years, Salazar has used this approach to approve 25 major renewable energy projects on public lands. When constructed, the projects are expected to create nearly 12,000 construction and operational jobs and produce nearly 6,200 megawatts of energy, enough to power 2.2 million American homes. These projects include 15 commercial-scale solar energy facilities, three wind projects and seven geothermal plants.”
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar commented: “Together, these projects will produce the clean energy equivalent of nearly 18 coal-fired power plants, so what’s happening here is nothing short of a renewable energy revolution.”
Here’s more on the three announcements made this week, from the Department of the Interior:
- Salazar approved the Sonoran Solar Energy Project, proposed by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, making it the first-ever project approved for construction on public lands in Arizona. The photovoltaic panels are expected to generate 300 megawatts, or enough to power 90,000 homes. The solar project will create over 374 jobs through construction operation and maintenance. For a fact sheet on the project, click HERE. Click HERE for a map.
- Salazar approved the Tule Wind Project, located 70 miles east of San Diego, California, that will produce 186 megawatts of electricity via 62 wind turbines sited on public lands, or enough to power up to 65,000 homes. Proposed by a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, the project is expected to create 337 jobs. For a fact sheet on the project, click HERE. Click HERE for a map.
- Salazar announced the next steps toward developing a Mid-Atlantic Wind Energy Transmission Line. Atlantic Grid Holdings, LLC has requested a right-of-way grant to develop a high-voltage direct current line that would collect power generated by wind turbine facilities off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The line would enable up to 7,000 megawatts of wind turbine capacity to be delivered to the grid. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today opened a public comment period on the potential environmental effects of the proposal, and is also asking whether other developers are interested in constructing transmission facilities in this area in order to determine whether there is overlapping competitive interest. For more information on the announcement, click HERE.
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