Calico Solar Project Wins BLM Approval


U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has approved the Calico Solar Project, the fifth large-scale solar energy project approved to be developed on U.S. public lands. Salazar's decision authorizes the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to offer Tessera Solar a right-of-way grant to use these public lands for 30 years if all rents and other conditions are met.

Proposed by Tessera Solar, the project could produce over 663.5 MW in San Bernardino County, Calif., and is expected to create more than 500 new jobs. It will use Stirling Energy System's SunCatcher technology.

Salazar noted that BLM significantly altered Tessera Solar's project proposal to reduce its environmental impact. The project size was reduced from 8,230 acres to 4,604 acres to limit impacts on the desert tortoise and its habitat, reducing the estimated number of tortoises affected from 107 to 22.

The smaller footprint also retains more than 1,600 additional acres of high-value wildlife habitat for desert tortoises, bighorn sheep and other wildlife along the foothills of the Cady Mountains, according to the BLM.

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Land Management

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