Biggest-Ever Solar Plant Wins OK in Calif.

Desert installation will double America's solar power capacity
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2010 5:59 AM CDT
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar looks at a machine in the manufacturing area of the SunPower solar power research and development facility in Richmond, Calif.    (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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(Newser) – Federal regulators have green-lighted the world's largest solar power installation. The Blythe Solar Power Plant, to be built on 7,000 acres of public land in California, will double the amount of solar energy the US can produce, the Los Angeles Times reports. The German company behind the project aims to break ground before the end of the year, in time to take advantage of federal stimulus funds.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved six fast-tracked solar power projects in California and Nevada in recent weeks, enough to provide power to 2 million homes. The Blythe deal—approved over the objections of Indian tribal elders who fear sacred sites will be damaged—includes provisions to mitigate the project's impact on species including the desert tortoise and burrowing owl.

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