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Feds, Schwarzenegger sign pact to aid renewable energy efforts

October 12, 2009 | 11:47 am

At a news conference held on a Loyola University rooftop covered with solar panels, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this morning signed a memorandum of understanding to streamline siting and approval of renewable energy facilities on public lands.

The memorandum — the first between a state and the federal government involving energy production — aims to expedite about 30 solar, wind and geothermal projects on track to break ground by the end of 2010 and become eligible for more than $15 billion in federal stimulus funds.

“We know the future is in clean power, clean energy and clean technology,” Schwarzenegger said, “and we are taking action so that California will be able to meet its ambitious renewable energy and environmental goals.”

The memorandum, he said, will address a serious problem with the existing process for siting and approving facilities: It is too slow.

The development of renewable energy on public lands has been a top priority of the Obama administration as it seeks to ease the nation’s dependency on foreign oil. In addition, Schwarzenegger has urged that the state be able to draw one-third of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.

-- Louis Sahagun