The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) on Sept. 18 approved the final environmental impact report (EIR) for the Barren Ridge Renewable Energy Project in Los Angeles and Kern Counties of California.
While federal approval for the environmental impact statement (EIS) is still pending from the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the state approval essentially allows the project to proceed with obtaining the permits necessary for construction, a spokesperson for the LADWP told TransmissionHub Sept. 19.
The EIS is “virtually the same document” as the EIR, the spokesperson said. Federal approvals are expected in late September.
The $416m project, which will bring solar and wind energy from the Tehachapi Mountains and the Mohave Desert to load centers in Los Angeles, is estimated to begin construction in 2013, with an ultimate in-service date of December 2016.
The next steps in the process are to complete the design for the substations and transmission line; secure real estate contracts to purchase the land needed for the line, an engineering, procurement and construction contract and equipment contracts for long lead equipment; and procure materials and complete work force packages for construction forces, according to the spokesperson.
As far as environmental permits, the project needs Fish and Game Streambed Alteration Agreements and Incidental Take permits; Clean Water Act 401 certification; Army Corps of Engineers Permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act; and Storm Water Runoff permits.
The LADWP, the U.S. Forest Service and the BLM all chose POWER Engineers to perform the EIR/EIS analysis, the spokesperson said. POWER Engineers is responsible for all environmental and land use analyses, biological and cultural field studies and consultations, public involvement and EIS/EIR preparation under NEPA and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), according to the firm’s website.
The final EIR/EIS identified the shortest of four possible alternative routes as the preferred route, Alternative 2. At 61 miles, Alternative 2 is the shortest route for the transmission line and would parallel existing transmission lines and remain within designated utility corridors.
The EIR/EIS lists seven adverse environmental impacts that cannot be avoided, including impacts on biological and cultural resources.