The Interior Department has approved two large-scale renewable energy projects, capping off a three-year campaign to use public lands for solar, wind, geothermal and biomass power plants. When built, these two projects -- a solar installation in Arizona and a wind farm in California -- will generate nearly 500 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 150,000 homes, the DOI said today in a statement and during a media call.
Since launching its "fast-track" approval effort, the Interior Department has OK'd 25 major renewable energy projects for public lands. When constructed the projects are expected to produce nearly 6,200 megawatts of energy, enough to power 2.2 million U.S. homes, the DOI said.
The DOI approval is just one of many permits and other regulations power plant developers must meet before their projects can be built. Not to mention considerable other hurdles including financing and finding that increasingly elusive transmission capacity. In other words, a DOI thumbs up doesn't mean the project will ever be built. For instance, the DOI approved last year the Tessera Solar's Imperial Valley Solar Project. The solar project was supposed to have large Suncatcher dished lined with high-efficiency mirrors to track the sun's movement.
The project was sold to AES Solar in Febraury 2011 and its new owners decided to switch to photovoltaic solar.Now it's not clear if the project will ever be built because San Diego Gas & Electric has terminated its power purchase agreement with AES.
Some details on the two recently approved renewable energy projects:
Sonoran Solar Energy Project
Tule Wind Project
Photo: Solar project on BLM land from the USGS
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com