As a part of President Obama’s “We Can’t Wait” initiative, seven nationally and regionally significant solar and wind energy projects will be expedited, including projects in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Wyoming.
According to a statement released from the White House, this is “part of a Presidential Executive Order issued in March of this year, the Office of Management and Budget is charged with overseeing a government-wide effort to make the permitting and review process for infrastructure projects more efficient and effective, saving time while driving better outcomes for the environment and local communities. Additional expedited infrastructure projects will be announced in the coming weeks.”
Speaking about the project, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said, “As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above strategy to expand domestic energy production and strengthen the economy, we are working to advance smart development of renewable energy on our public lands. These seven proposed solar and wind projects have great potential to grow our nation’s energy independence, drive job creation, and power economies across the west.”
Salazar also released a statement through the Department of Interior, in which he said, ““Energy security is critical to our national security. Under our ‘Smart from the Start’ approach to spurring renewable energy development, we are making millions of acres of public lands and offshore areas available that have the greatest potential for utility-scale solar and wind projects and the fewest resource conflicts.
Salazar also mentioned part of what the term “public lands” would entail, saying, “our nation’s military lands hold great renewable energy potential, and this partnership will help ensure that we’re tapping into these resources with a smart and focused approach to power our military, reduce energy costs, and grow our nation’s energy independence.”
The Department of Interior also highlighted that Military Services has committed to deploy 1 gigawatt of renewable energy on or near its installations by 2025, thus it would be wise to expect many more facilities like these coming from the Obama Administration.
In the past three years, the Department of the Interior has approved 31 new utility-scale renewable energy projects on public lands – more than the past two decades combined.
According to the White House, “when constructed by the companies, these projects are expected to generate enough renewable energy to power 2.3 million American homes.”
The agency is fast-tracking the 425-megawatt Mohave Wind Energy project and the 100-megawatt Quartzsite Solar Energy farm in Arizona; the 150-megawatt Desert Harvest and NextEra Energy Inc.’s 750-megawatt McCoy solar sites in California; the 200- megawatt Moapa and First Solar Inc.’s 350-megawatt Silver State South projects in Nevada; and the 3,000-megawatt Chokecherry/Sierra Madre wind farm in Wyoming.
Quartzsite, Desert Harvest and McCoy are expected to receive final permitting and reviews by December, according to the statement.