WASHINGTON – West Virginia Senator and coal tycoon Joe Munchin II used federal power to move clean energy projects forward and approve two major solar projects on federal land in the California desert, the Biden administration said Tuesday. The supporter, who said this week he would not support broader climate legislation, stopped it in Congress.
Approval for two-thirds of the approved solar projects is nearing completion, generating about 1,000 megawatts and providing enough electricity to power about 132,000 homes, according to the Interior Ministry. All three projects are located in Riverside County, California.
The project approvals are significant because they are one of the limited policy tools available to Biden management, which aims to halve the United States from fossil fuels and halve the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Democrats have vowed to move forward by voting on President Biden’s signature policy agenda, the Built Back Better Act, which includes $ 555 billion in clean energy tax loans. But, this week Mr. The move is not expected to be implemented since Munchin announced his opposition.
Without that law, Mr. Biden is left with administrative measures to advance his agenda. But that power also faces challenges. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in February in a lawsuit filed by coal companies and Republican-led states seeking to restrict the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
“All challenges in this Supreme Court have been stopped,” said John Bodesta, a former high aide to President Barack Obama, during a recent panel discussion on climate change. “It’s definitely a challenge.”
The solar farms approved on Tuesday are called the Arica and Victory Pass projects. According to the Interior Ministry, they will be photovoltaic solar projects and will generate a total of 465 MW of electricity with a 400 MW battery storage. The agency said it would cost about $ 689 million to develop the integrated projects, calling it an “infrastructure investment.”
The Land Management Bureau is expected to approve a separate 500 MW photovoltaic project called the Oberon Solar Project in the coming days. Located on 2,700 acres of public land in Riverside County, it is expected to provide 500 megawatts of renewable energy and electricity to nearly 142,000 homes.
“Efficient deployment of renewable energy projects is critical to creating well-paying jobs and achieving Biden-Harris management’s goal of a carbon-free power sector by 2035,” said Tracy Stone-Manning, director of the Land Management Bureau. , Said in a statement.
The company, meanwhile, said it was seeking interest in application-level solar energy development on 90,000 acres of public land known as solar zones in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. He aims to eliminate fossil fuel emissions from the electricity sector by 2035 and reduce U.S. emissions by at least 52 percent by 2005 by the end of the decade. Biden has promised.