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US Interior Secretary Says Department Will Play Large Role in Transmission

Feb 24, 2009 -

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar participated in a roundtable with many of the nation's top leaders at a summit examining how development of renewable energy in conjunction with a "National Clean Energy Smart Grid" is an economic, environmental and national security imperative.

"We must change the energy marketplace so we can save our country and our planet. We began with the 2007 energy bill, we continued it in the stimulus package, and now we must complete the work."
-- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

Salazar joined former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, energy entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens and others in a roundtable discussion at the event.

“The Department of the Interior can play some significant roles--first with respect to siting and second with respect to transmission,” Salazar said at the National Clean Energy Project: Building the New Economy held at the Newseum in downtown Washington. “We manage 20 percent of the land mass of the United States and 1.7 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf,” he noted.

Highlighting the importance of the public lands and offshore areas under the Department of the Interior’s jurisdiction, the Secretary pointed to “a huge energy potential for wind in the Atlantic, a huge solar potential in the Southwest and a whole host of other items in the portfolio of renewable energy.” The Secretary cautioned, however, that the success of these efforts would depend on getting the energy from the places where it is produced to the places where it is consumed. “Unless we are able to deal with the transmission issue, we will be standing in place 5 or 10 years from now. It is appropriate for…Congress and President Obama to be absolutely focused like a laser beam on transmission."

Speaker Pelosi told roundtable attendees that renewable energy is and will continue to be a focal point of the agenda for congressional democrats and that changes must be made in the energy market to help stabilize the U.S.

"We are also hopeful that this year we will be able to pass a renewable electricity standard - President Obama is proposing 25 percent by 2025. We can build a superconducting smart grid that will allow wind or solar power to travel from America's plains or deserts or even rooftops to our cars," she said. "As you may know, the recovery package requires the Department of Energy to do a study on the transmission issues facing renewable energy, which should help guide Congress...We must change the energy marketplace so we can save our country and our planet. We began with the 2007 energy bill, we continued it in the stimulus package, and now we must complete the work. It is a moral, environmental and health, economic, and national security issue."

Updated: 2016/06/30

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