U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar has approved the construction of the transmission line for First Solar's Campo Verde solar energy project, which will cross public lands southwest of El Centro, Calif.
At full capacity, the 139 MW Campo Verde solar facility will produce enough electricity to power approximately 41,700 homes, according to the DOI.
Electricity from the Campo Verde solar photovoltaic plant will be transmitted to San Diego Gas and Electric's Imperial Valley Substation. The Campo Verde facility is located on about 1,443 acres of previously developed, privately owned land.
The DOI, which has the authority only over the section of the transmission line on federal lands, approved the right-of-way (ROW) for 17 acres for the power line on public land, and Imperial County authorized the solar power plant on Aug. 27.
Because the development on private land is related to the federal ROW for the transmission line and the transmission line cannot cross public lands without the DOI's approval, the environmental assessment had to consider the cumulative impacts of the generation project in its analysis of the transmission proposal, the DOI explains.
The Campo Verde project underwent extensive environmental review, and the approved project reflects strong efforts to mitigate potential environmental impacts, such as providing habitat compensation for various species, the DOI adds.