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California is already leading the way in the US in terms of solar power, with over 1 gigawatt of solar energy generation already at work in the state. Now, California has received approval for another 900 megawatts of solar energy, pushing the state even further ahead. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced approval for two large solar projects in the Golden State, which includes the 750-MW McCoy Solar Energy Project and the 150-MW Desert Harvest Solar Farm.
Both projects are planned for the Riverside County area in Southern California, and between the two, they should generate enough energy to power 270,000 homes. In addition to the 750 construction jobs that will be created, over 40 permanent jobs will be created by the projects. Salazar also announced a third project to take place in Nevada called the Searchlight Wind Energy Project, slated for Clark County, Nevada.
Because these types of projects are built on public land, each project went through extensive environmental review and was open to public comment prior to being approved. Once completed, all three projects are expected to offset a combined total of 800,000 metric tons of greenhouse emissions each year, which is the equivalent of over 150,000 cars. In order to offset the environmental impact, McCoy Solar agreed to purchase more than 450,000 acres of land to set aside for desert species like the Desert Tortoise, Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard and the Burrowing Owl to inhabit.
According to Salazar, “These renewable energy projects reflect the Obama Administration’s commitment to expand domestic energy production on our public lands and diversify our nation’s energy portfolio.” Over the past several years, the Obama Administration has advanced multiple renewable energy projects. “In just over four years, we have advanced 37 wind, solar and geothermal projects on our public lands – or enough to power more than 3.8 million American homes. These projects are bolstering rural economies by generating good jobs and reliable power and strengthening our national energy security,” says Salazar.
via Clean Technica