SunEdison pursues up to 450-MW project at Edwards Air Force Base

The U.S. Air Force plans to write a joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) along with Kern County, Calif., on the up to 450-MW Oro Verde Solar Project (OVSP) on Edwards Air Force Base property.

The OVSP is a solar photovoltaic (PV) facility that involves the lease of non-excess Air Force lands to a private energy developer, SunEdison LLC, which will pursue the development of up to 450 MW of renewable energy. The proposed action includes construction, operation, and maintenance of the OVSP facility, the Air Force said in a notice to be published in the May 29 Federal Register.

As part of the proposed action, the developer would construct a 230-kV generation interconnection (Gen-tie) line connecting the OVSP to Southern California Edison’s Windhub substation or to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Barren Ridge-Rinaldi transmission line. For Kern County, the proposed action is to approve a franchise agreement for routing of the Gen-tie line, and to amend land use plans to provide rights-of-way for the project in select locations along the proposed transmission route.

The OVSP would be sited on 1,500 to 4,000 acres of available, non-excess Air Force land. Alternatives which meet the purpose and need for proposed action have been identified and include the no action alternative and two additional alternatives.

  • Alternative A includes full-scale project development of a 450-MW solar PV project on up to 4,000 acres of Edwards AFB property located in the northwestern corner of the base. The project would include construction of a Gen-tie line of approximately 10-14 miles in total length.
  • Alternative B represents a reduced-scale alternative for the construction and operation of a 150 MW-200 MW OVSP facility. Under Alternative B, the reduced-scale project would be sited on up to 2,000 acres of Edwards AFB non-excess property within the same project footprint as Alternative A. Alternative B would allow the developer to have greater siting flexibility to avoid environmentally sensitive areas.

In order to effectively define the full range of issues to be evaluated in the EIS/EIR, the Air Force and Kern County are soliciting scoping comments from interested state and federal agencies and interested members of the public. The public is invited to participate in scoping meetings that will be held on 12 and 13 June, 2013, in Mojave, Calf., and Rosamond, Calif.

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.