Public review launched into almost 1GW of solar-plus-storage projects in California

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The US DOI hopes to accelerate the roll out of large renewable projects on public land in California through the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation plan. Image: SunEdison

The US Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has launched a public review on a draft environmental analysis (EA) for two solar-plus-storage farms in California, which will include 465MW of solar and 400MW of energy storage.

Together, the Arica Solar and Victory Pass Solar projects are expected to cost around US$689 million and produce around US$5.9 million in annual operational economic benefits, according to the DOI.

Moreover, the BLM also anticipates making a draft EA for a third project — the Oberon solar project — available soon. If approved, the proposed 500MW PV solar project on 2,700 acres of public land could generate up to 500MW of renewable energy.

The Arica, Victory Pass and Oberon solar projects are proposed for areas identified as suitable for renewable energy development as part of California’s Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, which covers 10.8 million acres of public land.

The DOI and BLM will consider public comments, submitted by 6 September, when finalising the EA. They will engage with Tribal governments, local communities, state regulators, industry and other federal agencies as they evaluate the projects.

“Clean energy, including solar projects like these in California, will help communities across the country be part of the climate solution while creating good-paying union jobs,” said Secretary Deb Haaland.

In May this year, the DOI announced that the BLM had given approval for a 700MW capacity solar-plus-storage project on Californian federal land.

A month previously, the DOI had established a new Climate Task Force to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy generation across the country and revoked several Trump administration policies promoting fossil fuels on public land.

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