The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has appointed Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar as its National Solar Energy Champion for 2009. Chosen for his leadership and dedication to the cause of encouraging clean energy infrastructure development with job creation as a chief concern, in the past year Mr. Salazar made the focus on renewable energy a top priority for the Interior Department.
The Interior Department now boasts a task force that will give top priority to enabling the delivery of solar energy. He has also implemented the fast-tracking of initiatives with Senator Harry Reid that will designate U.S. public lands in the West as key areas for utility-scale solar development, as well as enabling the funding of environmental studies, opening of new renewable energy coordination offices and speedy reviews of industry proposals. Secretary Salazar’s initiatives have seen 1,000 square miles of public lands set aside in 24 “Solar Study Areas” for solar installations.
“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 this clean, domestic resources to work for America,” said Rhone Resch, president of SEIA. “We are proud to name him SEIA’s 2009 Solar Energy Champion of the Year. As we declared in the Solar Bill of Rights, the solar industry has the right to equal access to public lands and the right to interconnect to a 21st Century transmission grid. We look forward to working with Secretary Salazar on these important policies in 2010.”