The Dept. of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has begun the public review process on the draft environmental analysis (EA) for the proposed Arica and Victory Pass solar projects in Riverside County, California. The two projects would involve up to 465 MW of solar and 400 MW of energy storage.
The BLM also anticipates making a draft EA for a third California project — the 500-MW Oberon solar project — available in the next few days. Information will be available on BLM’s ePlanning website when the comment period begins. The three projects would be sited on 4,700 acres of public lands.
“Clean energy, including solar projects like these in California, will help communities across the country be part of the climate solution while creating good-paying union jobs,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “The Department is proud to help lead the Administration’s all-of-government approach toward its ambitious renewable energy goals, which will boost local economies and address economic and environmental injustice.”
The Arica, Victory Pass and Oberon solar projects are proposed for areas identified as suitable for renewable energy development as part of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) is focused on 10.8 million acres of public lands in the desert regions of seven California counties and is a landscape-level plan that streamlines renewable energy development while conserving unique and valuable desert ecosystems and providing outdoor recreation opportunities. The DRECP is a collaborative effort between the BLM, Fish and Wildlife Service, California Energy Commission and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Interior Department recently approved the Southern Bighorn Solar Project and announced that construction began on the Arrow Canyon Solar Project on Tribal lands in Nevada. These two projects will support more than 800 jobs. In May, the Department also approved the Crimson Solar Project in California.
The Interior Department and the BLM will continue to engage with Tribal governments, local communities, state regulators, industry and other federal agencies as it evaluates these projects.