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Solar energy project proposed

The Department of the Interior announced plans for a new solar energy project on public lands in Southern California on Thursday.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar presented the proposal of a 750-megawatt facility near Blythe in Riverside County that would power more than 200,000 homes.

The McCoy Solar Energy Project would be one of the largest solar energy projects on public lands in the California desert and, if approved, will join 34 renewable energy projects that President Barack Obama’s Administration has accredited on public lands since 2009.

Altogether the projects have the potential to produce approximately 10,400 megawatts of energy, or enough to power approximately 3.4 million homes, a press release stated — a number exceeding Obama’s goal of authorizing 10,000 megawatts of energy on public lands by 2013. According to the press release, before 2009 there were zero solar energy projects on public lands.

The McCoy Solar Energy project plans to use photovoltaic technology to generate 750 megawatts of energy, or enough electricity to power 225,000 homes. Developer McCoy Solar LLC proposes that the task would employ 600 workers during peak construction and be developed on approximately 4,400 acres of mostly public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management near Blythe.

This proposal is part of Obama’s “all-of-the-above” strategy to expand domestic energy production, the press release said.

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