McCoy Solar Energy Project seeks approval from Obama Administration

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The US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has revealed that the final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed 750MW McCory Solar Energy Project has been submitted to President Obama’s Administration for approval.

The 750MW project will represent one of the largest PV projects on public lands in the Californian desert and will be developed, owned and operated by McCoy Solar, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, on 1,780 hectares of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Riverside County.

As part of the array, a 14.5-mile generation tie-in line and 2-acre switch yard connecting with Southern California Edison’s Colorado River Substation will be built. During peak construction, McCoy Solar believes that the project will hire 600 workers and up to 20 workers during operations.

Output from the proposed project is estimated to be enough to power around 200,000 Californian households.

If approval is obtained, the 750MW project will join the 34 renewable energy projects which the Administration has green-lighted for construction on public lands since 2009. In total, the renewable energy projects have a combined capacity of around 10.4GW which surpasses President Obama’s 10GW target of approved utility-scale renewable energy projects on public lands by 2013. Prior to 2009, there were no solar energy projects authorised on public lands in the US.

“The McCoy project reflects this Administration’s groundbreaking efforts to stand up a renewable energy economy on public land,” Salazar said. “As we move forward to strengthen our nation’s energy portfolio, what’s happening with renewable energy is nothing short of a revolution. From authorizing more than 10,000 megawatts of energy on public lands, to establishing a roadmap for responsible solar development in the West, to flipping the switch on the first solar energy project to deliver power to the grid, 2012 has been a year full of results.”

In October Salazar finalised the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for solar energy development which is designed to spur the development of solar energy on public lands.

The programme provides a blueprint for large-scale solar energy development in six western US states, namely Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. It establishes solar energy zones with access to existing or planned transmission, incentives for development within those zones, and a process through which to consider additional zones and solar projects. The initial 17 solar energy zones encompass about 285,000 acres of public lands.

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