E&E News reported today that a 2,000-acre solar farm in SE California got the OK. It will provide to power about 87,500 homes. See also here. And BLM Nepa docs here.
A colleague who works in the Northeast wonders why many folks there object to any sort of commercial timber harvesting, but say little about solar farms, such as a proposed 200-acre solar farm in a forested area of Mass.
From E&E News:
The Biden administration today announced approval of a major solar farm in Southern California, the final green light for a renewable energy project first proposed more than a decade ago.
The Bureau of Land Management record of decision authorizes Sonoran West Solar Holdings LLC to build Crimson Solar, a 350-megawatt power and energy storage project. The project will cover roughly 2,000 acres of BLM land in the Chuckwalla Valley, near the Arizona border.
The project, which can generate enough electricity is expected to connect to the regional electrical grid at a nearby substation operated by Southern California Edison.
Some environmentalists have criticized the project, saying it has the potential to harm archaeological sites, migratory birds and other wildlife, including the desert tortoise and the Mojave fringe-toed lizard.
5 thoughts on “BLM OK’s 2K-acre Solar Farm in California”
Sammy Roth has a good article on the tension on federal lands.. https://www.latimes.com/environment/newsletter/2020-07-02/can-solar-farms-wild-places-coexist-american-west-boiling-point-boiling-point
There’s a fine line between using America’s public lands for energy projects that can help address the climate crisis, and needlessly disturbing pristine lands that provide habitat for wildlife, spiritual value for Indigenous peoples and solace for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Almost anywhere in the West that a developer wants to build a solar or wind farm, someone will object. Depending on the location, maybe many someones.
Also for private lands, there are grassroots groups but they may not get the press of larger environmental organizations. E.g. https://www.citizensforresponsiblesolar.org/
I can’t access this article, but another says (as I had hoped): “The project will … be sited on land designated for renewable energy development by the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan…” Yes, someone (or many someones) will complain about anywhere on public lands, but this strategic planning process sought to minimize that (and the impacts they would complain about).
Crimson Solar is probably in a good location, environment wise, and is situated between LA and Phoenix. I’m all for solar power, in the right place. Wind, too. But I find it fascinating that sustainable forestry gets so much attention and objection, when solar, wind, and even agriculture — virtually permanent land-use change — attracts far less controversy.
Bigger constituency for trees than desert?
And roads could be considered permanent land-use change.
Yes, whether the roads are in forest or desert.