Obama Fast Tracks The West's Wind And Solar
August 07, 2012

Photo Courtesy of NOAA

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- President Barack Obama announced seven large solar and wind projects in the West will be expedited. The announcement came on the first day of the National Clean Energy Summit.

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid kicked off the renewable energy summit in Las Vegas with a call to replace coal with wind and solar.

"Every year we spend hundreds of millions of dollars buying coal from other states to burn in Nevada," Reid said. "It’s time to make a different choice a choice that brings new clean energy industries and jobs to Nevada, a choice to invest in our own natural resources."

Critics maintain coal is still the cheapest way to generate electricity. The Obama Administration is working to make renewable energy more competitive.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the Administration’s goal is to produce 10,000 megawatts of clean energy by the end of the year.

"A medium-sized power plant whatever its source will produce about 350 megawatts of power," Salazar said. "So as we get to 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy power that’s the equivalent of 35 power plants in the United States of America."

The president’s move to fast track projects in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Wyoming would produce 5,000 megawatts -- enough to power about 1.5 million homes.

The federal permitting and review process often takes years to complete. The target dates for approval of most of the projects is the end of this year.