Citing the critical need to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, build a clean energy economy and create new jobs, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has issued a secretarial order making the production, development and delivery of renewable energy top priorities for the department.
‘More so than ever, with job losses continuing to mount, we need to steer the country onto a new energy path,’ Salazar says. ‘One that creates new jobs and puts America out front in new, growing industries; one that promotes investment and innovation here at home; and one that makes wise use of our domestic resources.’
In addition to making renewable energy production a top priority for the department, Salazar's secretarial order establishes an energy and climate change task force that will spur this agenda and identify specific zones on U.S. public lands where Interior can facilitate a rapid and responsible move to large-scale production of solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy.
For these renewable energy zones to succeed, Salazar pointed out, the Department of the Interior (DOI) will need to work closely with other federal agencies, states and American Indian tribes to determine what electric transmission infrastructure and transmission corridors are needed to deliver these renewable resources to major population centers.
According to the DOI, the department manages one-fifth of the country's landmass, over 1.7 billion offshore acres and lands with some of the highest renewable energy potential in the nation. The DOI's Bureau of Land Management has identified about 21 million acres of public land with wind energy potential in 11 Western states and about 29 million acres with solar energy potential in six Southwestern states.
SOURCE: Department Of The Interior