BLM issues environmental review of 300-MW Calif. solar project

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a proposed California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan Amendment and a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Stateline Solar Farm Project (SSFP).

The agency will announce the availability of these documents in the Nov. 15 Federal Register.

First Solar Development has requested a right-of-way (ROW) authorization to construct, operate, maintain and decommission the 300-MW photovoltaic SSFP from the BLM and a well permit from the county of San Bernardino, Calif.

The proposed project located on BLM-administered lands would include access roads, photovoltaic arrays, electrical substation, meteorological station, monitoring and maintenance facility, water wells, and a 2.3 mile generation tie-line on up to 2,143 acres. The project location is in San Bernardino County approximately two miles south of the Nevada-California border and 0.5 miles west of Interstate 15.

The BLM will decide whether to grant, grant with modification, or deny a ROW to First Solar for the proposed SSFP. The CDCA Plan, while recognizing the potential compatibility of solar energy generation facilities with other uses on public lands, requires that all sites proposed for power generation or transmission not already identified in the plan be considered through the plan amendment process. The BLM is proposing to amend the CDCA Plan by designating the project area as either suitable or unsuitable for solar energy projects.

In addition to the proposed action, which is analyzed as Alternative 1, which is 300 MW on 2,143 acres, the BLM is analyzing three other project alternatives: Alternative 2 – 300 MW on 2,385 acres; Revised Alternative 3 – 300 MW on 1,685 acres; and, Alternative 4 – 232 MW on 1,766 acres. All project alternatives also analyze an expansion of the Ivanpah Desert Wildlife Management Area (DWMA).

The Proposed Plan Amendment and Final EIS/EIR also analyzes three No Project alternatives: Alternative 5, No Action; Alternative 6, No Project, Amend the CDCA Plan to find the Project area unsuitable for solar development; and Alternative 7, No Project, Amend the CDCA Plan to find the Project area suitable for solar development.

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.