The one good thing about an election year, however painfully annoying to deal with, is how things suddenly start getting done. This week, the Obama administration has fast-tracked seven solar power and wind projects as part of the We Can’t Wait initiative. The projects have a combined capacity of 5 GW and are located in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Wyoming, and are expected to provide power to about 1.5 million homes.
The 425 MW Mojave Wind Energy Project will take up about 40,000 acres of federal land in Mojave County; Arizona and is expected to complete federal permitting in early 2013. The Quartzite Solar Energy project, also in Arizona, will have a 100 MW capacity on 1,675 acres of Bureau of Land Management land. It is expected to be completed in December of this year.
California also has two projects on the fast track to completion. The 150 MW Desert Harvest Solar Energy project and 750 MW McCoy Solar Energy project, both in Riverside County, are expected to complete review stages by December of this year.
In Nevada, the Moapa Solar Energy Center is made up of 100 MW of solar voltaics and 100 MW of solar power. It is located on 2000 acres of land along the Moapa River Indian Reservation and is expected to complete the review process by December of this year. The Silver State South solar power project involves 350 MW of solar PV on more than 13,000 acres of public land, and should complete reviews by March 2013.
Wyoming is home to the giant 3 GW Chokecherry/Sierra Madre Wind Energy project on 230,000 acres of land in Carbon County. Approvals for the first part of this project will be done in October of this year, and the second in 2014.
Energy policy is quickly becoming a key factor in political battles, especially now that it’s election season. While Obama is getting these projects on the fast-track, Romney is calling for an end to renewable energy support by the government and for more focus on the United States’ shale gas boom. Priorities!
It will be interesting to see how the next few months play out and even better to see these projects come into fruition.
Image by US Air Force: President Barack Obama