The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

4 Major U.S. Projects Get Federal Approval

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently announced the approval of four new projects on public lands, the launch of environmental reviews on three others, and the next step in a comprehensive environmental analysis to identify 'solar energy zones' on public lands in six western states.

New Projects

The four renewable energy projects include two utility-scale solar developments in California, a wind energy project in Oregon, and a transmission line in Southern California. Together, they will create more than 1,300 construction jobs and provide a combined 550 megawatts of electricity.

These projects include:

  • Abengoa Mojave Solar Project. The 250-MW project will be located on 1,765 acres of private land in California, with 17 miles of transmission lines crossing public lands. The developer, Mojave Solar, LLC, has agreed to acquire more than 100 acres of habitat suitable for desert tortoise, Mohave ground squirrel and burrowing owl. The project will be constructed on previously disturbed, fallow agricultural land, thus avoiding impacts to pristine desert lands. The project will avoid an estimated 350,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, according to the Department of Energy. The company estimates a construction payroll of $272 million and would spend about $121 million locally on materials and equipment.
  • Imperial Solar Energy Center. The 200-MW project will be located on 946 acres of private land, with a 19-acre right-of-way on BLM land in Imperial County in California. The developer, CSOLAR Development, LLC, has agreed to acquire and enhance habitat for flat-tailed horned lizard and burrowing owls to compensate for project impacts. The project also will be constructed on previously disturbed, fallow agricultural land, thus avoiding impacts to pristine desert lands. CSOLAR will co-locate its transmission line on existing poles across much of the public land being crossed, minimizing impacts to less than 20 acres of permanent disturbance on public land. The project is expected to generate $38,000 to $80,000 in annual property taxes to Imperial County and an estimated $3 million in local sales tax revenue from the private land parts of the project.
  • West Butte Wind Energy Project. Consisting of up to 52 wind turbines, each between 2 and 3 MW, on private land in Deschutes and Crook Counties, Ore., the project will produce up to 104 megawatts of electricity for homes and businesses. The project includes an access road and transmission line that would cross about 4.5 miles of BLM lands. BLM is requiring the developer, West Butte Wind Power LLC, to mitigate 9,000 acres of sage grouse habitat by providing funding for the restoration and enhancement of a similar amount and type of habitat on BLM lands. The company will also provide funds through Crook County to purchase conservation easements for sage grouse management and worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop an avian (golden eagle) and bat protection plan and prepared a wildlife mitigation and monitoring plan for Crook County. The project will employ about 70 workers during construction with another 345 workers providing supplies, material, support and offsite services; and pay about $1 million annually to Crook County in property taxes.
  • Devers-Palo Verde No. 2 Transmission Line Project. The 500 kV line will provide interconnection and electrical transmission for numerous solar energy facilities proposed for construction, including nine large-scale solar projects in California and Nevada with a potential output of more than 3,600 MW that were approved by Secretary Salazar last year. The developer, Southern California Edison, anticipates hiring about 200 construction workers for the project. The line will extend 115 miles from the Colorado River Substation near Blythe to the Devers Substation in Palm Springs and from the Devers Substation to the Valley Substation in Romoland, Riverside County, about 41.6 miles. The line will cross 57 miles of BLM land and two miles of San Bernardino National Forest land, running primarily along the I-10 Interstate, a primary corridor for energy transmission in Southern California. BLM is requiring conservation and design features to avoid and minimize potential adverse effects to the Kangaroo Rat, Milk-Vetch, Fringe-toed and Horned Lizard, and Desert Tortoise. The line will be constructed on previously disturbed, fallow agricultural land. The project has conducted extensive inventory, monitoring, site evaluation, awareness programs, consultation with Native Americans and other groups, and developed plans to protect cultural sites.

In addition, the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management has issued Notices of Intent to begin environmental analyses of two wind projects and a solar energy project located in California with a combined generating capacity of more than 370 megawatts.

Environmental Analysis

Salazar also announced that the Interior Department, in cooperation with the Department of Energy, will prepare a targeted supplement to the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development (Solar PEIS). First released for public review in December 2010, the Solar PEIS will establish a framework for developing large utility-scale solar energy projects on public lands, based on landscape-level planning and the best available science, designed to promote the development in “solar energy zones” in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

The supplement will address key issues identified through public comments and provide a number of enhancements, including developing well defined criteria for identifying solar energy zones; incentives for encouraging developers to site their projects in the zones and a variance process for those who wish to develop facilities outside such zones; additional surveys of biological and cultural resources in the zones; and a more detailed analysis of transmission.

No new solar energy zones will be analyzed in the supplemental document, but additional zones will be analyzed through other ongoing state and regional planning efforts, such as the California Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, the West Chocolate Mountains planning effort in California, and the Arizona Restoration Design Energy Project.

Through the Solar PEIS supplement, Interior’s Bureau of Land Management would review the establishment of Solar Energy Zones within the lands available for solar development right of way applications. The six western states have been identified as most appropriate for development, containing the highest solar energy potential and fewest environmental and resource conflicts.

The BLM will prepare the supplement for expected release in the fall when it will be available for further public comment.

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Stolen Solar Panels and Sabotage A Challenge for Powering India With Renewable Energy

Anindya Upadhyay, Bloomberg Disappointment spread across Tarun Singh’s face when he saw that parts of his solar power microgrid in eastern India’...

States Already Seek To Delay Clean Power Plan

Andrew Harris, Bloomberg Fifteen states led by coal-rich West Virginia asked a federal court to stall Obama administration rules intended to c...

Suntech Parent Company Buys Majority Share of US-based Suniva

Ehren Goossens Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd., the Hong Kong-based solar company controlled by billionaire Zheng Jianming,...

Sunrise in Pakistan as the Country Delves into Solar PV

Robert Harker Pakistan has joined the list of countries that are exploring solar power as a means to bridge critical energy generat...

PRESS RELEASES

Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 Continues to (R)evolutionize at SPI

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) prepares to showcase its recently launched tracking syst...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University recently completed a proj...

Early Bird Registration Deadline for GRC Annual Meeting is This Week

The deadline for early-bird rates for registration for the biggest annual geothermal ev...

Redesigned HydroWorld.com Video Gallery

Hydropower news and information, and interesting promotional announcements are now avai...

FEATURED BLOGS

Transitioning to Net-Zero Living

Judith and Jeffrey adore living in Belfast, Maine – a quaint harbor town of Belfast, Maine. They previously res...

The True Cost of Electric Vehicles in Australia

In order to avoid increased congestion, further greenhouse warming and lessen Australia’s reliance on imported ...

The Coming Multi-trillion Dollar Energy Investment Drive

In coming years, a multi-trillion dollar low-emission energy investment drive will get underway. Three catalysts wil...

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a concise statement that grabs attention and communicates value, ideally leading to a next step...

FINANCIAL NEWS

Renewable Energy World's network editors help deliver the most comprehensive news coverage of the renewable energy industries. Based in the U.S. and the UK, the team is comprised of editors from Pennwell Corporation's myriad of publications that ...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

Intersolar North America 2016

Exhibition: July 12 - 14, 2016; Conference: July 11 - 13, 2016 Intersola...

Intersolar South America 2015

Exhibition and Conference: September 1-3, 2015 Intersolar South America ...

COMPANY BLOGS

The Proof Is Not Always In The Pudding

One of the best ways to turn a skeptical prospect into a buyer is to giv...

Pushing Beyond The Cushion

Efficiency projects are all too often viewed as “optional” o...

Less Is More

When you’re giving a presentation, one of the easiest things to do...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS