California, Interior Dept. agree to fast track renewable energy

2048 full
2048 full

A new agreement between California and the U.S. Department of the Interior Monday will speed up plans for renewable energy projects in the state. KPCC’s Brian Watt reports.

The agreement commits the state and the federal agency to quickly develop and approve solar and wind energy projects. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the deal on a solar-paneled rooftop at Loyola Marymount University in West Los Angeles. Salazar held a list of California projects he wants to place on the fast track – projects he said could create almost 5,000 megawatts of power.

"350 megawatts of power is basically what a mid-sized coal-fired power plant provides, so this is the equivalent of standing up 15 mid-sized coal-fired power plants here in California."

The agreement prioritizes the projects on track to break ground by December of next year. That’s the deadline to qualify for a share of more than $15 billion in federal stimulus money.

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