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Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

BLM Announces 2011 Priority Renewable Energy Projects, March 08, 2011

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on March 11, 2011


Well, this week BLM has released the “priority” renewable energy projects list. I still have to go back to the same thing I’ve wondered all along…

Cleaner Energy + Brighter Futures = What Cost?

We all want our children and our grandchildren to have the best we can provide for them. Are we willing to sacrifice the quality of their lives only to give them longevity? Gaping holes in the ground, murky and toxic water at 1,000 feet below the surface, wildlife and game that has tainted meat, no wildlife at all in some places, sick and diseased wildlife in others… The list could go on for days…

The end justifies the means.” Is this really the attitude we want to leave for our children’s future?

I certainly don’t, and as long as the good Lord is willing, I won’t.

MF*T*

Release Date: 03/08/11                                          Contacts: David Quick, 202-912-7413  Derrick Henry, 202-912-7526

BLM Announces 2011 Priority Renewable Energy Projects

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced a list of 19 projects for developing renewable energy within the National System of Public Lands to which the agency is giving priority in 2011. In making the announcement, BLM Director Bob Abbey emphasized that these projects fit with the Administration’s onshore renewable energy efforts.

“The BLM is committed to giving priority to renewable energy projects that are smart from the start and will help diversify this country’s energy portfolio in an environmentally responsible manner,” Abbey said. “The process of screening for priority projects is about focusing our staff and resources on the most promising renewable energy projects.”

The priority list (http://www.blm.gov/priorityprojects) includes nine solar projects, five wind projects, and five geothermal projects throughout the western U.S. The solar projects’ potential output is about 2,673 megawatts. The five wind projects total about 1,024 megawatts of potential output, and the five geothermal projects total about 489 megawatts of potential output. Potential output may change depending on the analysis and review of each project.

The priority list was developed in collaboration with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service, with an emphasis on early consultation. The screening criteria for priority solar and wind projects, developed through BLM policy memoranda issued in February 2011, assisted in evaluating and screening these utility-scale projects on BLM-managed lands. 

To be a priority project, a company must demonstrate to the BLM that the project has progressed far enough to formally start the environmental review and public participation process, as well as have the potential to be cleared for approval by the end of 2011. In addition, the projects must be sited in an area that minimizes impacts to the environment.  The projects are largely low-to-medium conflict, in accordance with the BLM’s recent policy guidance on pre-application screening.

Projects that did not meet the screening requirements of the instruction memorandum were not included on the 2011 priority projects list, and were designated lower priority. Such projects require a greater level of consultation, analysis, and mitigation to resolve issues, or may not be feasible to authorize.

All renewable energy projects proposed for BLM-managed lands will receive the full environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act, and will include the same opportunities for public involvement required for all other land-use decision-making by the BLM.  

“We will not be cutting corners in processing the applications for these projects, especially when it comes to environmental analyses or opportunities for public participation,” Abbey said.

Eight of the 19 priority projects fall into a category called “connected action” projects, which are projects located on private land. These are projects that require BLM authorization for offsite facilities and provide the opportunity to develop renewable energy without significantly impacting federal lands.

The BLM has recently developed several policies to assist in the processing of solar and wind energy applications on the public lands. These policies were developed from recommendations offered by federal and state agencies, industry and environmental groups based on lessons learned from last year’s “fast-track” renewable energy initiatives. The policy guidance is available online as follows:

Today’s announcement follows a previous round of projects in 2010, in which the BLM made significant progress with solar, wind, and geothermal energy projects on the public lands. The largest project was the 1,000-megawatt Blythe Solar Power Project in Riverside County, Calif. The approval of the Crescent Dunes Solar Project in Nye County, Nevada, in December 2010 brought the potential output of nine approved solar projects to more than 3,600 megawatts. The BLM also approved one wind project (150 megawatts), and two geothermal projects (nearly 80 megawatts).

Renewable Energy Priority Projects (Last Updated: March 8, 2011)

The BLM in 2011 continues work on developing a portfolio of renewable energy projects on public lands.  The agency has given priority status to 19 projects (nine solar, five wind, and five geothermal).  The projects are part of the Administration’s efforts to diversify the Nation’s energy portfolio in an environmentally responsible manner.  The nine solar projects’ potential output is about 2,600 megawatts.  The five wind projects total about 1,000 megawatts of potential output, and the five geothermal projects total about 490 megawatts of potential output (potential output may change depending on the analysis and review of each project).  

This priority list was developed in collaboration with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service, with an emphasis on early consultation. The screening criteria for priority solar and wind projects, developed through BLM policy memoranda issued in February 2011, assisted in evaluating and screening these utility-scale projects on BLM-managed lands. 

To be a priority project, a company must demonstrate to the BLM that the project has progressed far enough to formally start the environmental review and public participation process, as well as have the potential to be cleared for approval by the end of 2011. In addition, the projects must be sited in an area that minimizes impacts to the environment.  The projects are largely low-to-medium conflict, in accordance with the BLM’s recent policy guidance on pre-application screening.  Wind and solar projects that did not meet the screening requirements of the February 2011 policy guidance were not included on the 2011 priority projects list, and were designated lower priority. Such projects require a greater level of consultation, analysis, and mitigation to resolve issues, or may not be feasible to authorize. 

The table below indicates the locations and other details regarding the BLM’s priority renewable energy projects for 2011. Links are given to related BLM and state web pages, as well as Federal Register notices.  For a listing of projects approved to date, select this link.

NOI= Notice of Intent EIS = Environmental Impact Statement   DEIS = Draft EIS EA = Environmental Assessment


Solar Energy Projects

State County Project Name and Applicant Potential Output* Acreage+ Status Information
Products
AZ Maricopa Sonoran Solar Project
(NextEra Energy Resources, LLC)
500 MW (parabolic trough) 4,000 NOI published July 8, 2009. Draft EIS published April 19, 2010 Interactive Map
CA Riverside Desert Sunlight Solar Farm
(First Solar Development, Inc.)
550 MW  (thin film PV) 4,165 NOI published Jan. 13, 2010
Draft EIS published Aug. 27, 2010
Interactive Map
CA Riverside Palen Solar Project
(Solar Millennium, LLC)
484 MW (parabolic trough) 3,119 NOI published Nov. 23, 2009. 
Draft EIS published April 7, 2010
Interactive Map
CA Riverside Rice Solar Energy
(Rice Solar Energy, LLC)
150 MW(power tower) Private land+ NOI published Mar. 29, 2009. 
Draft EIS published Oct. 27, 2010
 
CA Riverside Abengoa Mojave Solar
(Mojave Solar)
250 MW(parabolic trough) Private land+ Pending  
CA Imperial Ocotillo Sol
(San Diego Gas & Electric)
14 MW (PV) 115 acres Pending  
CA Imperial C Solar West
(LightSource Renewables)
250 MW (thin film PV) Private land+ Draft EIS published Nov. 2010  
CA Imperial C Solar South
(LightSource Renewables)
200 MW (thin film PV) Private land+ Draft EIS published Dec. 2010  
CA Imperial Centinela
(Centinela Solar Energy, LLC)
275 MW (thin film PV) Private land+ Pending  

* Potential output may change depending on the analysis and review of each project.
+ Projects on private land are “connected action” projects that will require BLM authorizations for off-site faciliites (transmission, access, etc.).

Wind Energy Projects

State County Project Name and Applicant Potential Output* Acreage+ Status Information
Products
CA Lake and Colusa Walker Ridge
(AltaGas Renewable Energy Pacific)
70 MW 7,882 NOI published Aug. 13, 2010  
CA Imperial Ocotillo Express
(Pattern Energy Group LP)
550 MW 14,961 NOI published Dec. 13, 2010  
CA San Diego Tule Wind
(Iberdrola-Pacific Wind Development)
200 MW 12,133 acres BLM; 3,257 other acreage NOI published Dec. 29, 2009.
Draft EIS published Dec. 23, 2010
MAP
OR Crook and Deschutes West Butte Wind
(West Butte Wind Power)
100 MW Private land+ NOI published Jan. 19, 2010. Draft EIS published April 2, 2010. Final EIS published Oct. 1, 2010 MAP
OR Harney Echanis Wind
(Steens Transmission) 
104 MW Private land+ NOI published Jul. 27, 2009. Draft EIS published Jul. 16, 2010.  

* Potential output may change depending on the analysis and review of each project.
+ Projects on private land are “connected action” projects that will require BLM authorizations for off-site faciliites (transmission, access, etc.).

Geothermal Energy Projects 

State County Project Name and Applicant Potential Output* Acreage Status Information
Products
NV Churchill Coyote Canyon
(Terragen) (APPROVED)
62 MW 3,960 on BLM, 760 other acreage Final EA published Jun. 7, 2010. Decision published Mar. 7, 2011 MAP
NV Churchill Salt Wells
(Ormat)
40 MW 7,391 NOI published Sept. 11, 2009. Draft EIS published Jan. 28, 2011.  
NV Churchill Salt Wells
(Vulcan)
120 MW 1,254 NOI published Sept. 11, 2009. Draft EIS published Jan. 28, 2011.  
NV Churchill Fallon/Salt Wells
(Sierra Pacific Power Co.)
230 MW 7.4 (transmission) NOI published Sept. 11, 2009. Draft EIS published Jan. 28, 2011.  
UT Beaver Cove Fort
(Enel Geothermal LLC)
37 MW  5,679 acres Pending  

* Potential output may change depending on the analysis and review of each project.

Related Links

Renewable Energy Projects Approved to Date 

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4 Responses to “BLM Announces 2011 Priority Renewable Energy Projects, March 08, 2011”

  1. Puller Lanigan said

    Is this the same Coyote Canyon that zeroed out the last remaining wild horse and burro herds last year?

  2. […] Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board Meeting… « The ~Texas~ Mustang Project’s Blog. « BLM Announces 2011 Priority Renewable Energy Projects, March 08, 2011 Triple B, Maverick-Medicine and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas Wild Horse Gather, Proposed […]

  3. Poor Ginger said

    They may build them, but they will NOT come without new distribution lines and upgrades to accomodate extra loads on transmission systems. As always, those costs will be borne by utilities and passed on to consumers. Once rates go up they seldom come down after projects have been completed.

    http://www.mydesert.com/comments/article/20110218/BUSINESS/102180306/Renewable-energy-growth-requires-expanded-transmission-line-system.

    There are only four comments so far, but they make a lot of sense.

    Meanwhile, thousands of acres of public and private lands will be sacrificed to the most direct routes possible, no matter the damage to the environment, its wildlife, or human health.

    http://www.powerlinefacts.com/faq.htm

    Just like the Ruby Pipeline, where the alternative to run along already disturbed lands was abandoned because of “increased costs” to El Paso and their partners (including BP), the Feds and states will choose private profits over the public good and the permanent distruction of the land.

    And my investment counselor says requiring energy corporations to generate a percentage of energy from renewables is a sham. Those programs are the lowest company priorities and receive the bare minimum of R&D funding. Most projects will remain in the planning stages, and never be implemented as more than a token.

    So, once again, David will be forced to fight Goliath. David may have won in the Bible, but can we win when so many politicians and corporations (with billions of campaign dollars to spend, and considered “people” by the Supreme Court!) are lined up on the other side?

    As I see it, the only way to stop this madness is for environmentalists to put their differing agendas aside and collectively bring suit against the DOI and the states. Governments have legal departments and funding (from taxpayers!), so the only way to fight them is to share the litigation costs. These will be ongoing battles we MUST win, for the sake of future generations!

    • Poor Ginger said

      I should have said “those who care about the environment, rather than “environmentalists”, since environmentalists have now morphed into “bunny-hugging, Eastern liberal, latte-drinking eco-terrorists” in some circles. Balderdash!

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