Obama Administration Will Develop Renewable Energy on Public Land
During a recent speech, Obama spoke of the key role renewable energy will play in his economic recovery plan. He emphasized the need to “transform our economy…and save our planet from the ravages of climate change” by developing renewable energy. In March, the U.S. Interior Department secretary Ken Salazar, recently issued an order to create a special task force to encourage the development of renewable energy projects on federal lands.
The Departmental Task Force on Energy and Climate Change will identify solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass energy projects can be developed. The Interior Department will coordinate its efforts with the Energy Department and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The Interior Department manages one-fifth of all U.S. land and over 1.7 billion offshore acres. The Department has identified 21 million acres of public land with the potential for wind energy projects in 11 Western states, 29 million acres for solar energy projects in six southwestern states, and 140 million acres of public land in western states and Alaska that have potential for geothermal projects. The National Renewable Energy Lab identified 1,000 gigawatts of wind energy potential off the Atlantic coast and over 900 megawatts off the Pacific coast.
“We will assign a high priority to identifying renewable energy zones and completing the permitting and appropriate environmental review of transmission rights-of-way applications that are necessary to deliver renewable energy generation to consumers,” Salazar said. “We ought not to let the jurisdictional bureaucracy get in the way of the ultimate agenda. We need to get it done.”
“Secretary Salazar has laid the foundation for our nation’s entrepreneurs to harness the planet’s wind, sun, heat, and other renewable energy sources in a manner that safeguards the wildlife and natural resources that help keep American communities healthy, safe, and prosperous,” said Wilderness Society President Bill Meadows.