Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bush Administration Pushes Wind Initiative

Anyone who thought President Bush was a blow-hard when it came to supporting clean energy should give pause after seeing the latest news from Washington:

Many more windmills will be twirling in California under Bush administration plans spelled out Tuesday.

By streamlining permits and clearing hurdles, administration officials hope to encourage the turbines already plentiful along the Altamont and Tehachapi passes. An additional 72,300 acres of federal land in California appear particularly ripe for use.

"We're serious about renewable energy being part of the energy picture," Assistant Interior Secretary Rebecca Watson said Tuesday.

The administration's wind-power push is spelled out in a three-volume environmental study released Tuesday by the Bureau of Land Management, just as Congress considers a long-stalled energy bill. The national-level effort also comes as California regulators urge the state's utilities to squeeze more energy from renewable sources.

By 2025, the BLM estimates an additional 3,240 megawatts of electricity can spin from new wind turbines on agency land. Nearly half of this would come from California; in particular, from sites in the Southern California desert.