U.S. puts new momentum behind renewables

Dec. 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Two renewable energy projects backed by the U.S. Department of Interior will generate 500 megawatts of clean energy, the department's secretary said.

Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar said the department approved a solar energy project in Arizona and a wind farm in California.

"We have made steady and swift progress in carrying out President Barack Obama's initiative for a rapid and responsible move to large-scale production of renewable energy on public lands," he said in a statement.

A 300-megawatt solar energy project is the first of its kind for public land in Arizona. Salazar said the project should provide energy to meet the annual demands of around 90,000 households.

A 62-turbine wind farm planned near San Diego, meanwhile, would provide enough energy for 65,000 homes in the region.

Salazar also announced a proposal to build a transmission line for offshore wind energy for projects planned off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The line would eventually deliver around 7,000 MW of wind energy to the east coast grid.

"This proposal to build a 'backbone' for an offshore electrical transmission system is an encouraging sign that there is significant interest in developing the infrastructure to support offshore wind development," said Tommy Beaudreau, director of the bureau of ocean energy management, in a statement.

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