1 GW Blythe Solar Project Receives Final EIS

The U.S. Department of the Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Blythe Solar Power Project, a 1 GW solar thermal power plant planned for southeast California.

The project, which received proposed California Energy Commission approval earlier this month, is being developed by Oakland, Calif.-based developer Solar Millennium LLC.

In the EIS, the BLM identified an ‘Agency Preferred Alternative’ plan for the project, which considers impacts related to biological resources, cultural resources, land use, visual resources, and hydrology, water quality and water use.

‘Many of these adverse impacts can be avoided or substantially reduced based on compliance with applicable laws, ordinances, regulations and standards, and compliance with measures provided [in the document],’ the BLM states.

As described in the EIS, the project would consist of ‘four adjacent, independent, identical power block units of 250 MW nominal capacity each for a total nominal capacity of 1,000 MW commercial solar parabolic-trough generating station and ancillary facilities.’ The project is expected to be constructed in four phases and will be connected to Southern California Edison's planned Colorado River Substation, to be located approximately five miles southwest of the project, via a proposed gen-tie line, a bundled double circuit 230 kV transmission line.

A final EIS is considered the last federal regulatory hurdle before a record of decision authorizing construction, according to the New York Times. Final authorization may occur as early as October.

‘We're already beginning work on the record of decision, on compliance monitoring plans, on getting all the paperwork together for the rentals and reclamation, and our hope is to package it all together for one big signing,’ Holly Roberts, associate field manager for BLM's Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office, told the newspaper.

SOURCES: U.S. Bureau of Land Management, New York Times

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