Phoenix is trying to eliminate the need for Middle Eastern oil by becoming a huge “Persian Gulf”-type center, producing solar power for export to the rest of the US?and maybe the world. Ironically, oil-rich Saudi Arabia is planning to do the same thing.

The Spanish company Abengoa Solar will turn 3 square miles of desert near Phoenix into one of the largest solar power plants in the world, that can supply power to 70,000 homes. They already have similar plants in Spain, Africa and other parts of the US. They plan to be up and running by 2011.

CNN quotes Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as saying, “There is no reason that Arizona should not be the Persian Gulf of solar energy.”

The world’s biggest exporter of oil (over 10 million barrels of crude oil a day!)?Saudi Arabia?plans to start exporting solar energy as well. Arabian quotes Ali Al-Nuaimi as saying, “For a country like Saudi Arabia…one of the most important sources of energy to look at and to develop is solar energy?In the same way we are an oil exporter, we can also be an exporter of [solar] power.”

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