Three Giant Solar and Wind Projects Approved on Public Land

March 17, 2013 - On March 13 Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar announced the approval of McCoy Solar Energy Project (750 megawatts), Desert Harvest Solar Farm (150 MW), and Searchlight Wind Energy Project (200 MW). McCoy solar is a project by NextEra Energy, in Riverside County near Blythe CA, Desert Harvest is an EDF Renewable Energy (formerly enXco) project in Riverside County near Desert Center CA, and the Searchlight wind project is by Duke Energy in Clark County, NV. Secretary Salazar made the announcement in San Francisco with California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.


Desert Harvest Solar Farm

April 13, 2012 - In the Federal Register today the latest large-scale solar project was announced as beginning public environmental review. This project, slightly smaller than others in Chuckwalla Valley, will nevertheless occupy over 1200 acres of Colorado Desert habitat near the Desert Sunlight solar project (by First Solar) already under construction.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement can be downloaded at this website:

Desert Harvest Solar Farm:

Proposed Location: Riverside County, six miles north of Desert Center.

Electricity Production Capacity: 150 megawatts.

Company: enXco.

Acreage: 1,208 acres.

Electrictrical Transmission Connection: Either via the adjacent Desert Sunlight project's 230 kV gen-tie, or the planned Red Bluff Substation.

Company's Expected Benefit: 
• The project would generate enough electricity to power about 45,000 homes
• The project would have a peak construction workforce of about 300 employees

Public Comments:

Submit comments by July 13, 2012.

Publication of a Notice of Availability in today’s Federal Register initiates a 90-day public comment period for the EIS and possible plan amendment that ends July 13, 2012. During the comment period, BLM will solicit public comment on issues, concerns, potential impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures that should be considered in writing the Final EIS that will be released later this year.

For further information please contact Lynnette Elser, project manager, (951) 697-5233, or Written comments may be sent to Lynnette Elser, Desert Harvest Project Manager, 22835 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553 or to the e-mail address provided above.

Public Meetings and Hearings:

DEIS Public Workshops will be held on May 14, 2012 at the following locations and times:

1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Lake Tamarisk Clubhouse, 26-251 Parkview Drive, Desert Center, CA 92239

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst Ave., Joshua Tree, CA 92252

Future meetings, hearings and any other public involvement activities will be announced at least 15 days in advance through public notices, media releases, and/or mailings.

BLM Initiates Environmental Review of Solar Project in Riverside County

^Desert ironwood grove by the project site.

September 15, 2011 - The Bureau of Land Management has published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to conduct an environmental review of a proposed 150-megawatt solar project near Desert Center in Riverside County, California.

enXco has requested a right-of-way (ROW) to develop the Desert Harvest Solar Project, a photovoltaic generating facility with a footprint of approximately 1,280 acres. The overall site layout and generalized land uses would include a substation, an administration building, operations and maintenance facilities, a transmission line, and temporary construction lay down areas.

The project's 230-kilovolt (kV) generation-interconnection transmission line would either be via the First Solar Desert Sunlight 230-kV gen-tie (as a shared facility), or would be located on private and BLM-administered lands and would utilize a planned 230- to 500-kV substation (referred to as the Red Bluff Substation). The Red Bluff Substation would connect the project to the Southern California Edison regional transmission grid.

The BLM will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to analyze the site-specific impacts of the proposed ROW grant and a proposed amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan. If approved, construction would begin in late 2013 and would take 9-12 months to complete.

Publication of the NOI initiates a public scoping period of 30 days, ending Oct. 17, 2011. During the scoping period, the BLM solicits public comment on issues, concerns, potential impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures that should be considered in the analysis of the proposed action. Comments on issues may be submitted in writing until Oct. 17, 2011. The date(s) and location(s) of any scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance through the local news media, newspapers and the BLM Web site at: In order to be included in the Draft EIS, all comments must be received prior to the close of the scoping period or 15 days after the last public meeting, whichever is later.

For further information and/or to have your name added to our mailing list, contact Lynnette Elser, Planning and Environmental Coordinator, (951) 697-5233; 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553; or e-mail

^Ocotillo on the project site.

Cumulative Impacts

First Solar's Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is adjacent to this proposal, and is already breaking ground on 2,000 acres of thin-film photovoltaic arrays that will scrape desert habitat. The cumulative impacts to western Chuckwalla Valley will be great, affecting desert tortoise movements between the Chcuwkalla Desert Wildlife Management Area to the south and Joshua Tree National Park to the north.

Many local residents tell us they will also be negatively impacted, as this open desert is industrialized and disturbed.

^The project site near Desert Center, with the Coxcomb Mountains beyond.


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