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Political Landscape:

Energy project list released

January 02, 2010

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger released a list Tuesday of 244 proposed projects for generating renewable energy in California, a set of options to help wean the nation’s most populous state off of carbon-based power sources.

Schwarzenegger and lawmakers have pushed to establish a mandate that a third of all power used in California come from renewable sources by 2020.

Although the target is aggressive and many of the logistics meant to help facilitate a fast transition to green energy solutions have yet to be developed, the list of proposals vying to increase the state’s collection of clean power could expand the California’s renewable energy portfolio by nearly ten-fold.

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“This list of nearly 250 projects is great news for our state because not only will these projects help us meet our long-term environmental goals, they will also create green jobs and new, clean investment in our economy now,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

Renewable energy resources produce about 8,000 megawatts of energy, but the list of proposed projects would add about 70,000 megawatts of clean power, Schwarzenegger said. One megawatt is enough to power 1,000 homes.

Schwarzenegger had previously signed a memorandum of understanding with U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to help expedite permitting processes for renewable energy projects in California.

The state was the first to sign such an agreement as state officials strive to reach the goals more quickly.

“Moving forward together on all these fronts will help ensure that we all can make responsible decisions on where to site these large projects while still protecting sensitive lands and resources in California,” Salazar said in a statement.

The majority of the proposals, which would use power derived from wind, the sun, water, organic waste and naturally occurring heat found deep underground, have been planned for San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

A total of eight projects have been proposed for Los Angeles County, including one that would be shared with Kern County.

The vast majority of Los Angeles-area proposals would use solar power to produce an estimated generating capacity of 617 megawatts.

Although Schwarzenegger has pursued his 33% target of renewable energy production by 2020, he has been hit with criticism from lawmakers, including Assemblyman Paul Krekorian (D-Los Angeles), who authored a bill that would have set the criteria and mandates for producing the green energy into law.

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