Slimmed down Alta East wind project clears BLM review process

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), in a notice to be published in the June 3 Federal Register, announced the availability of the Record of Decision (ROD) to grant a right-of-way (ROW) and amend the California Desert Conservation Area Plan for the Alta East Wind Project (AEWP).

The Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management approved the ROD on May 23, which constitutes the final decision of the department.

Alta Windpower Development LLC’s project, as originally proposed, would have consisted of a 318-MW wind facility on a 2,592-acre site (public and private lands) with 106 wind turbines, access roads, collector substation, operation and maintenance facility, temporary portable concrete batch plant, meteorological towers, and a transmission line. The proposed project would require about 568 acres of private lands. The project site is located approximately three miles northwest of the town of Mojave and 11 miles east of the city of Tehachapi.

The selected alternative after the environmental review process consists of 2,592 acres, of which 1,999 acres are on public land under the jurisdiction of the BLM and 593 acres are on private land under the jurisdiction of Kern County, Calif. The selected alternative contains 51 wind turbines capable of generating up to 153 MW.

The governor of California recently conducted an expedited 30-day consistency review of the proposed CDCA Plan amendment to identify any inconsistencies with state or local plans, policies, or programs. No inconsistencies were identified by the governor’s office.

There are several existing, permitted and proposed wind energy and transmission projects near the project area, including: the Alta–Oak Creek Mojave Wind Project, Alta Infill I and Alta Infill II, the Rising Tree Wind Project, the Avalon Wind Project, the Catalina Renewable Energy Project, and Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Line Project (TRTP).

Alta Windpower Development, a subsidiary of Terra-Gen Power LLC, reduced the size of the project during the review process, the record of decision noted. The revised project eliminates 55 wind turbines based on engineering refinements and information developed during consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in order to further reduce the project’s effects on condors, eagles, and other biological resources.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.