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US Government Makes Largest-Ever Clean Energy Purchase (Photo)

On Oct. 14, the U.S. government launched the largest ever clean energy plant in Maricopa County, Arizona, as part of the White House's bid to drastically increase solar power on a national level.

The 150-megawatt Mesquite 3 solar array will help power California's electric grid and will contribute one-third of the energy used on 14 naval bases in the state, reports The Washington Post.

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"Today we're going to throw a switch and start getting those electrons flowing to our 14 bases," said Dennis McGinn, the assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, who was preparing for the Arizona opening ceremony.

Under the deal, the Navy will be able to purchase solar power at a fixed price for the next 25 years from Sempra Energy, the company running the plant. McGinn said it will be cheaper and more reliable than conventional energy sources.

"To me, the essence of solar power is, you know what the price of the fuel is going to be for the next 25 years, or more," McGinn added. "It's predictable, it provides financial planning and energy planning stability to our calculation, and it's part of our diversified energy portfolio."

The Navy is at the forefront of the renewable energy movement and has also experimented with using biofuels for planes and ships and has worked with officers to encourage them to be more energy conscious on a day-to-day basis, saying that conserving energy is a helpful survival tool.

The Mesquite 3 launch comes while the Obama administration is working toward a goal of developing one additional gigawatt of renewable energy for civilian use on federal land by 2021, notes the White House's official blog.

Federal agencies have increased the use of solar energy by five times what it was in 2010, with sun-powered energy now making up 19 percent of renewable electricity sources and 180 megawatts of power.

Sources: The Washington Post, White House / Photo credit: Unsplash/Pixabay, Sempra Energy via The Washington Post

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