U.S. backs grid connection to Calif. solar

Sept. 28, 2012 at 6:17 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Interior Department said it approved the construction of electricity lines from a 139-megawatt solar power project in southern California.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave consent for the construction of transmission lines that cross federal and public land in southern California. The lines would connect to the Campo Verde facility in southwest California.

First Solar Inc. is developing the 139 MW facility. Electricity generated through the project will be sold to San Diego Gas and Electric Co. under a 20-year purchase agreement.

"This cutting-edge facility will supplement our nation's growing demand for electricity as we tap domestic resources that make our nation more energy independent," Salazar said in a statement.

The Interior Department said that, since 2009, it's approved 32 onshore renewable energy project that together could produce as much as 7,400 megawatts of power.

Campo Verde could produce enough energy to meet the power demands of more than 41,000 homes when it's completed next year.

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