On Tuesday, the U.S Department of Interior (DOI) – approved two utility-scale renewable energy projects to be built on public lands.
Secretary Ken Salazar signed approvals for the Sonoran Solar Energy Project and the Tule Wind Project.
The Sonoran Solar Energy Project is being developed by NextEra Energy Resources. Located on 2,013 acres of public land in Maricopa County, Arizona, the proposed project will employ solar photovoltaic (PV) technology to produce up to 300 MW of solar power. The initial plans were for the project to use concentrated solar technology – which the Department’s Bureau of Land Management says will reduce the amount of land (originally proposed 3,620 acres) and water the facility will require. However, this change of technology is consistent with the growing trend in the U.S. to move away from concentrated solar for the less expensive PV solar installations.
Sonoran Solar Energy Project is the first project to ever be approved for construction on public lands in Arizona. NextEra Resources recently purchased a 50% share of the 550 MW Desert Sunlight project which is the largest PV facility the DOI has approved to be built on public lands.
The Tule Wind Project, which is being developed by Iberdrola Renewables, Inc. will be located on 12,360 acres of public land San Diego County, California. The wind facility consist of 62 wind turbines that will have the capacity to generate 186 MW of renewable energy on public land and another 14 MW generated on private lands. Iberdrola Renewables business developer Harry Mcdonald said that the DOI’s approval is one of many the project needs to obtain in the coming months.
“It is important that all our permits are secured in the next few months, so the project can have a chance to be built and deliver energy before the end of 2012 when the current tax credits expire,” said McDonald.
This announcement marks the 24 and 25 large scale renewable energy project the Secretary and the DOI have approved in two years. Commenting on the this accomplishment Salazar said that the 25 projects “will produce the clean energy equivalent of nearly 18 coal-fired power plants” and quickly followed by saying “a renewable energy revolution.”
Baker, Joseph (20 December, 2011) Secretary Salazar Approves Two Utility-Scale Renewable Energy Projects to be Built on Public Land. Retrieved from: https://tinyurl.com/7etyn4q