Secretary Salazar Pledges to Open Four Renewable Energy Permitting Offices, Create Renewable Energy

Teams May 06, 2009 -- Interior
> Department Documents and Publications/ ContentWorks
> To expedite production of renewable energy on public lands while
> protecting land, water, and wildlife, Secretary of the Interior Ken
> Salazar today pledged to create four Renewable Energy Coordination
> Offices, one each in California, Nevada, Wyoming, and Arizona, along
> with smaller renewable energy teams in New Mexico, Idaho, Utah,
> Colorado and Oregon.
> "At no time in our history has the need for a new energy policy
> been so urgent," Salazar told members of the American Wind Energy
> Association at the WINDPOWER 2009 Conference - the largest annual wind
> energy industry event in the United States.
> "We import more than two-thirds of our oil, costing us hundreds
> of billions of dollars a year. Unemployment is at eight and a half
> percent.
> Carbon emissions are rising. Our national security is threatened. And
> countries like China and India are ready to cash in by leading the
> global clean energy economy."
> "We must lead the clean energy revolution," Salazar said. "With
> millions of new jobs at stake, this is an opportunity America can't
> afford to miss."
> The renewable energy offices and teams, which will cut red tape
> by expediting applications, processing, reviews and permitting of
> renewable energy projects, are one of several initiatives President
> Obama's has taken in his first 100 days "to open our doors to wise,
> responsible renewable energy production on our public lands," Salazar
> noted. Interior is investing
> $41 million through the President's economic recovery plan to
> facilitate a rapid and responsible move to large-scale production of
> renewables on Bureau of Land Management land.
> There is strong interest in renewable energy projects from
> partners in the private sector and this investment will help Interior
> swiftly complete reviews on the most ready-to-go renewable energy
> projects.
> Interior's Bureau
> of Land Management has a backlog of some 200 solar energy applications
> and more than 25 wind project applications in western states. Another
> 200 locations have been identified where applicants would like to
> begin site testing for future wind projects.
> Interior also has resolved long-standing federal jurisdictional
> questions with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, enabling the
> Department to establish the final regulations to facilitate offshore
> renewable energy development. Companies with proposed projects finally
> have the certainty of a logical permitting process. Dozens of
> applications to build offshore wind farms, which were stacked up or
> stuck in red tape, can now move forward.
> If the nation fully pursues its potential for wind energy on land
> and offshore, Salazar estimated, wind can generate as much as 20
> percent of U.S.
> domestic electricity by 2030 and create a quarter-million jobs in the
> process. Salazar estimated that of the wind projects currently
> proposed on Bureau of Land Management lands, almost 1,400 megawatts of
> new capacity will be ready for construction by the end of 2010 -
> enough to power more than 400,000 homes. He also estimated that more
> than 6,000 megawatts of proposed solar power capacity - mostly in
> California, Arizona, and New Mexico
> - will
> be ready to go in the same time frame. That is enough to power 1.8
> million homes.
> With the economic recovery plan investments, Interior also will
> be able to complete the reviews and permits for several new
> transmission projects so they can be ready for construction by 2010.
> This new transmission infrastructure can be part of a new national
> electrical supergrid that can help move this clean power not just to
> the closest load center, but back and forth across the country to
> areas of highest demand.
> As steward of one-fifth of the nation's land and 1.7 billion
> acres of ocean, Interior has long had a mandate to support responsible
> oil, gas, and coal development. Producing these conventional resources
> on public lands must and will continue. And Interior will continue to
> find better ways to develop and use these resources, including through
> carbon capture and sequestration and other advanced coal technologies,
> Salazar said.
> But the Department now is also opening the way for solar, wind,
> biomass, and geothermal projects in appropriate areas of our public
> lands.
> Americans have an estimated 206 gigawatts of wind energy potential on
> public lands in the West. An estimated 2,900 gigawatts of solar energy
> potential in the southwest. And an estimated 1,000 gigawatts of wind
> energy potential in waters off the Atlantic coast alone.
> A clean energy economy also means new jobs and economic
> development for rural America, Salazar noted. "Rural communities are
> on the leading edge of the renewable energy frontier. In Colorado,
> where I'm from, we're adding thousands of jobs at new wind turbine
> manufacturing plants in places like Pueblo, Brighton, and Windsor.
> Ranchers across the eastern plains are earning extra money as wind
> farms spring to life. And in my native San Luis Valley - one of the
> poorest areas of the country - a new solar farm has brought hope for a
> brighter economic future."
> Secretary's remarks are at