Environmental Groups Reach Conservation Agreement for 247-MW Solar Project in California

Last week, Sierra Club said it joined Defenders of Wildlife, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Panoche Valley Solar in signing a settlement agreement concerning the size and location of the planned 247-MW Panoche Valley solar power project in California.

The environmental groups had filed lawsuits over endangered species and habitat they believed was threatened by the project, which was originally proposed in 2009.

Sierra Club said that, as a result of the agreement, about 100 MW of the project now will be developed at a site in Imperial County, California, subject to approval by Southern California Edison and the California Public Utilities Commission. This settlement will reduce the size of the project in the Panoche Valley to slightly more than 1,300 acres, down from 5,000 acres, and permanently conserve approximately 26,418 acres in and around the Panoche Valley.

“As we work toward lowering carbon pollution, it’s critical that new clean energy development is not done at the expense of endangered animals and their habitat,” Sarah Friedman, Sierra Club’s senior campaign representative for the Beyond Coal Campaign, said in a statement on Friday. “The Panoche Valley is critical habitat for three highly endangered species, and the development throughout the valley as originally planned would have been devastating. This settlement agreement came about after years of work to preserve the endangered wildlife and delicate habitat in this valley.”

Panoche Valley Solar is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison Development Inc. 

Lead image credit: Elaine | Flickr

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