Arizona has 'huge' low-carbon potential

Jan. 21, 2013 at 6:07 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Interior said it finalized a decision to set aside more than 150,000 acres of public land in Arizona for renewable energy projects.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the department published a record of decision to designate 192,100 acres of land in Arizona considered suitable for utility-scale solar and wind energy development.

His decision wraps up a three-year environmental analysis to determine if there were potential conflicts with other developments. It also establishes the Aqua Caliente energy zone, which the department said was the third solar energy project for Arizona on public land and the 18th in the country.

"Arizona has huge potential when it comes to building a clean energy economy and this landscape-level plan lays a solid foundation for making sure that it happens in the right way and in the right places," Salazar said in a statement.

The Interior Department estimated that since 2009 the government has approved enough renewable energy projects on public land to generate 10,400 megawatts of electricity.

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