Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has approved a transmission line, access road and substation on public lands that will connect the Rice solar energy project to the power grid in California.
The 150 MW concentrating solar power (CSP) project will be built on private land in Riverside County. Proposed by Rice Solar LLC, a subsidiary of SolarReserve LLC, the power-tower facility will be located on 1,410 acres of previously disturbed private land near Blythe.
The above-ground 230 kV transmission line that crosses eight miles of land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will connect with the Western Area Power Administration's Parker-Blythe #2 transmission line. The project's molten salt storage system is designed to capture solar energy and deliver power to the grid after the sun goes down.
The project has undergone extensive environmental review and reflects strong efforts to mitigate potential environmental impacts, according to the Department of the Interior. SolarReserve will be required to fund the acquisition and enhancement of 1,522 acres to compensate for impacts to desert tortoise habitat on private and public land.