Remember almost two years ago when we discussed the glut of applications for solar projects awaiting approval by the Bureau of Land Management? Well, two large projects have made it through the gauntlet and are ready to move forward, marking the first solar projects approved for federal land. Two down, hundreds left to go.
Today, Secretary Salazar approved the 709-MW Imperial Valley concentrated solar project and the 45-MW Lucerne Valley solar PV project, both to be located in the California desert. When completed, the two projects will be able to produce enough energy to power 226,000 - 566,000 homes and create 1,000 jobs.
The Imperial Valley project is being developed by Tessera Solar using Stirling Energy System's Suncatcher Dish-Engines. It will cover 6,360 acres in Imperial County and already has a power purchase agreement with SDG&E.
The Lucerne project is being developed by Chevron Energy Solutions. It will take up 422 acres with 40,500 solar panels in San Bernardino County.
Since much of the public lands were put aside for conservation purposes, the projects each went through extensive environmental reviews and the companies were required to come up with ways to mitigate environmental impact. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar pointed out that these projects, though large, only make up one-hundredth of a percent of the 11 million acres of California desert managed by the government.
The next proposed solar project to make it through is likely BrightSource's Ivanpah 400-MW solar thermal project, which is awaiting final decision.
via DOI Release
written by California Solar Engineering, October 13, 2010
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