US fast-tracks 1.2GW of Native American projects

UNITED STATES The US Department of the Interior (DOI) is fast-tracking more than 1.2GW in proposed wind projects on public and Native American land.

The federal government announced yesterday that it will consider permits for the six wind projects, and for 17 other renewable-energy projects, by the end of 2014.  

The fast-tracked wind proposals include Alta Windpower’s 300MW Alta East project in Kern County, California, near Los Angeles, and Duke Energy’s 200MW Searchlight project in Clark County, Nevada, just north of Las Vegas.

Delays in federal permitting have been a bottleneck in the Obama administration’s push to develop renewable energy on the 245 million acres overseen by the DOI’s Bureau of Land Management.

The move came a day after President Barack Obama nominated Sally Jewell, CEO of the $2 billion outdoor equipment retail chain REI, as his new interior secretary.

Ken Salazar, the outgoing interior secretary, has championed renewable energy development. Jewell, if she is confirmed by the US Senate, is expected to do the same. REI sources 20% of its electricity from renewables.