DOI Approves Three Renewable Energy Projects in California and Nevada
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on March 13 announced the approval of three major renewable energy projects in California and Nevada that, when completed, are expected to deliver 1,100 megawatts to the grid. That will be enough electricity to power more than 340,000 homes. The projects will help support more than 1,000 construction and operations jobs.
The 750-megawatt McCoy Solar Energy Project and 150-megawatt Desert Harvest Solar Farm are both located in California’s Riverside East Solar Energy Zone, an area established through the Western Solar Energy Plan as most suitable for solar development. The 200-megawatt Searchlight Wind Energy Project will be constructed on public lands in Clark County, Nevada.
The McCoy Solar Energy Project, located about 13 miles northwest of Blythe, California, will occupy 4,394 acres. McCoy Solar has agreed to purchase more than 4,500 acres of habitat to protect the Desert Tortoise, Burrowing Owl, and Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard species.
DOI and California state agencies are also engaged in the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, a mutual landscape-level planning effort to streamline renewable energy development in appropriate areas in the California desert and simultaneously conserve important natural resources and natural communities for species protection and recovery. A draft of the plan is expected in summer 2013. Additionally, BLM has identified 23 active renewable energy proposals slated for review this year and next, including 14 solar facilities, six wind farms, and three geothermal plants. See the DOI press release.