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Ken Salazar - Solar Energy Champion

The Solar Energy Industries Association announced today that U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is their 2009 National Solar Energy Champion. The high honor from the solar industry’s leading trade organization was awarded in recognition of Salazar’s ongoing fight for solar energy as Secretary of the Interior, and may be a nod to Salazar’s work to get hundreds of big, controversial solar projects up and running in the Southwest. Here is an excerpt from the SEIA press release:

“In his role at the Department of the Interior, Secretary Salazar oversees the best solar resources in the world and understands that we need to put these clean, domestic resources to work for America,” said Rhone Resch, President of SEIA. “Throughout his first year in office, Secretary Salazar has worked with the industry, the environmental community and the general public to expedite the construction of these cutting-edge power plants that will not only bring clean energy to the Southwest, but will also create tens of thousands of jobs. We are proud to name him SEIA’s 2009 Solar Energy Champion of the Year.”

The press release also points to Salazar’s written commitment to make the production, development and deployment of renewable energy a top priority at the DOI, as well as his work to fast-track approval of solar projects by designating Solar Energy Study Areas to asses the environmental impact of solar plants and streamline the permit process.

Where most solar energy projects have been mired in red tape and environmental controversy, Ken Salazar has been working hard to resolve the issue and get those projects online. Given that well over 100 big solar thermal projects are waiting to get the go-ahead in the Southwest, it’s no wonder that the SEIA is very interested in getting those projects underway, and that they should be so appreciative of the Secretary’s work on doing just that.

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