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Desert Solar Energy Project To Be Reviewed

BLM and Energy Commission Initiate Environmental Review of Solar Project in California Desert

(June 8, 2009) - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today published a Notice of Intent to conduct a joint environmental review with the California Energy Commission on the impacts of a proposed solar energy project, Stirling Energy System's (SES) Solar One, in San Bernardino County.

SES Solar One, LLC has applied to BLM for a right-of-way (ROW) on public lands to construct a concentrated solar thermal power plant facility.  The proposed Solar One project would be constructed on an estimated 8,230-acre site, approximately 37 miles east of Barstow and 115 miles northeast of Los Angeles, near the community of Newberry Springs. 

BLM, as the lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act, will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to analyze the site-specific impacts of the proposed grant of the ROW and a proposed amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan.  The Energy Commission is the lead California agency for the licensing of thermal power plants over 50 megawatts and for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, including preparation of preliminary and final staff assessments (SA).

The proposed Solar One project, if approved by the agencies, would start construction in 2010. The project would utilize SunCatcher technology consisting of approximately 34,000 25-kilowatt solar power dishes with a generating capacity of approximately 850 megawatts to be built in two phases.  Solar One is the third proposed large solar project in the California Desert to begin environmental review.

Publication of the NOI initiates a public scoping period of 30 days, ending July 7, 2009. During the scoping period, BLM and the Energy Commission solicit public comment on issues, concerns, potential impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures that should be considered in the analysis of the proposed action.  A BLM public scoping meeting/Energy Commission information hearing will be held in Barstow at the Barstow Community College located at 2700 Barstow Road on June 22, 2009, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Those interested are also invited to a site visit starting at 11:30 a.m. departing from the college.  BLM and the Energy Commission will use the public scoping comments received to prepare the draft environmental documents to be available for public review later this year.

The EIS/SA will analyze the site-specific impacts on air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, water resources, geological resources and hazards, hazardous materials handling, land use, noise, visual resources and transmission system engineering and transmission line safety. 

Further details can be found at the BLM web page: http://www.ca.blm.gov/barstow and the Energy Commission web page at:  http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solarone/.  For information contact Jim Stobaugh at 775.861.6478, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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