Interior Department Approves Four Major Renewable Energy Projects
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced on July 14 the approval of four new renewable energy projects on public lands. The projects include the Abengoa Mojave Solar Project, a 250-MW solar thermal parabolic trough installation in San Bernardino County, California; the Imperial Solar Energy Center, a 200-MW solar photovoltaic system in Imperial County, California; the 104-MW West Butte Wind Energy Project, with 52 wind turbines in Deschutes and Crook Counties, Oregon; and the 500-kilovolt Devers-Palo Verde No. 2 Transmission Line Project in Riverside County, California, which will interconnect numerous proposed solar energy facilities. The four projects will create more than 1,300 construction jobs and will provide a combined 550 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power 185,000 to 380,000 homes.
DOI also announced the launch of environmental reviews on three other projects: two wind projects and a solar energy project in California that have a combined generating capacity of more than 370 MW. In addition, DOI and DOE will prepare a targeted supplement to the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Solar Energy Development, which identifies "solar energy zones" on public lands in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. First released for public review in December 2010, the PEIS will establish a framework for developing large utility-scale solar energy projects on public lands in those states, and its release is expected in fall 2011. See the DOI press release and the Solar Energy Development PEIS website.