The Obama Administration Tuesday announced it is speeding up seven renewable energy infrastructure projects.
The projects, part of President Barack Obama's "We Can't Wait" initiative that uses executive branch authority to advance initiatives in the absence of Congressional action, would produce enough renewable energy to power 1.5 million homes, the White House said.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar hailed the initiative, which is aimed at increasing American energy production while reducing dependence on foreign oil.
"As part of President Obama's all-of-the-above strategy to expand domestic energy production and strengthen the economy, we are working to advance smart development of renewable energy on our public lands," Salazar said in a written statement. "These seven proposed solar and wind projects have great potential to grow our nation's energy independence, drive job creation, and power economies across the west."
Although the administration has come under fire from Republican opponents for some of its renewable energy investments, most notably the federal funds that went to Solyndra solar panel manufacturer that subsequently failed, the White House hailed a record of success in approving permits for an "unprecedented" number of renewable energy utility projects.
"Thanks to a coordinated and focused review process, in the past three years, the Department of the Interior has approved more utility-scale renewable energy projects on public lands than in the past two decades combined - a total of 31 new projects," the administration said in a press release. "When constructed by the companies, these projects are expected to generate enough renewable energy to power 2.3 million American homes."
The expedited permitting process announced Tuesday will apply to two projects, one each of solar and wind power, in Arizona, two solar projects in California, two solar projects in Nevada and a wind energy project in Wyoming.
Virtually all of the expedited programs envision using federal lands as part of their development.
by RTT Staff Writer
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