Just this month the Obama administration announced that seven nationally and regionally significant solar and wind energy projects will be expedited. Together the projects will create some 5,000 mega-watts (MW) of clean energy, which would be enough to power approximately 1.5 million homes.
It's all part of the We Can't Wait initiative, aimed to quickly expand the domestic production of clean energy in America.
The government wide effort to make permitting and review for clean energy projects faster have allowed the Obama administration to permit an unprecedented amount of utility-scale renewable energy projects.
According to a recent White House press release, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar explained that "As part of President Obama's all-of-the-above strategy to expand domestic energy production, we are working to expand smart development of renewable energy on our public lands. These seven solar and wind projects have great potential to grow our nation's energy independence, drive job creation, and power economies across the west."
It's expected that additional expedited projects will be announced in the coming weeks. In addition to creating energy domestically, the projects also create jobs here in America, an important point for the President during an election year.
In just the past three years, the Department of the Interior has approved some 31 new projects - more than in the last two decades combined.
Some of the approved solar projects include Silver State South Solar Energy which would produce 350 MW of energy on 13,043 acres and the Moapa Solar Energy Center (on the Moapa River Indian Reservation) which would produce about 200 MW on 2,000 acres. Both are in Nevada, a desert state drenched in sun.
The potential for similar Maui solar projects is immense. As a state with year round sunshine and an unhealthy dependence on oil, Hawaii seems like a perfect place for some government supported We Can’t Wait initiatives to take root.
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