US government agency the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released its long-awaited Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Desert Harvest Solar Project on public land in Riverside County, California.
In its original form, the Desert Harvest Solar Project was envisaged as a PV facility that would generate 150MW of electricity on approximately 489 hectares of undeveloped, non-agricultural land, but the agency has recommended it be downscaled to 135MW.
The project is located just north of the town of Desert Centre in Riverside County.
It includes a proposed solar field as well as 230kV line within the transmission corridor to the Red Bluff substation, where the power from the proposed solar facility would be stepped up and fed into Southern California Edison’s existing Devers Palo Verde No. 1 high-voltage transmission line.
The FEIS report includes a number of important modifications to the original project specification.
The agency's preferred alternative in the FEIS has a smaller footprint than the original proposal, and reduces impacts identified in the draft EIS issued in April 2012.
The preferred alternative would reduce the size of the project from 1,208 acres of public lands to 1,044 – with a corresponding reduction in electrical output from 150MW to 135MW. The FEIS said the smaller footprint would avoid impacts to rare plant species found in the area.
The final EIS report also includes a proposed amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan.