First Solar to Build McCoy Solar Energy Project
October 16, 2013 - Blythe, CA - First Solar announced today it has entered into an agreement to construct the 250 megawatt McCoy Solar Energy Project in Riverside County, California, for a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. The large-scale photovoltaic project will be located on approximately 2,300 acres of mostly public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management about 13 miles northwest of Blythe, California. Under the agreement, First Solar will provide Engineering, Procurement and Construction services, using First Solar’s cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic thin-film modules. More at BusinessWire >>here.
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.
Draft Environmental Impact Statement Out
May 25, 2012 - BLM is publishing the draft EIS for the McCoy solar project in Riverside County, which will have a footprint of about 7.6 square miles.
See the Palm Springs Office of Bureau of Land Management for the documents and comment instructions: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/palmsprings/Solar_Projects/McCoy.html
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Bureau of Land Management
[CACA-051552, LLCAD07000 L51010000.FX0000 LVRWB10B3980]
Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement
for the Proposed McCoy Solar Energy Project and Possible Land Use Plan
Amendment, Riverside County, CA
AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of Availability.
SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office, Palm Springs, California, has prepared a Draft California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan Amendment (PA) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for McCoy Solar, LLC's
right-of-way (ROW) application for the McCoy Solar Energy Project (MSEP), and by this notice is announcing the opening of the comment period.
DATES: To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM must receive written comments on the Draft EIS/PA within 90 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes its Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. The BLM will announce future
meetings or hearings and any other public involvement activities at least 15 days in advance through public notices, media releases, and/or mailings.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Draft EIS by any of the following methods:
Mail: ATTN: Jeffery Childers, Project Manager, BLM
California Desert District Office, 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, California 92553-9046.
Copies of the Draft EIS/PA are available in the California Desert District Office at the above address.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information, or to have your name added to our mailing list, contact Jeffery Childers; telephone 951-697-5308; address BLM California Desert District Office, 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, California 92553-9046; email email@example.com. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The applicant, McCoy Solar, LLC, has requested a ROW authorization to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission an up to 750 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar energy generation facility and necessary ancillary facilities on about 7,700 acres of BLM managed lands with a footprint of approximately 4,893
acres for the solar facility. The proposed 16-mile generation tie line, with a ROW width of 100 feet, will require about 200 acres of public and private lands. The proposed 20-acre switch yard will be located adjacent to and connect into Southern California Edison's Colorado River Substation. The MSEP site is located approximately 13 miles northwest of the City of Blythe, California, and approximately 32 miles east of Desert Center.
The BLM will decide whether to grant, grant with modification, or deny a ROW to McCoy Solar, LLC, for the proposed MSEP. The BLM is proposing to amend the CDCA Plan by designating the project area as either available or unavailable for solar energy projects. The CDCA Plan (1980, as amended), while recognizing the potential compatibility of renewable energy generation facilities with other uses on public lands, requires that all sites proposed for power generation or transmission not already identified in the CDCA Plan be considered through the plan amendment process. If the BLM decides to grant a ROW for this project, the CDCA Plan would be amended as required.
In addition to the proposed action and a no action alternative, the BLM is analyzing a reduced acreage alternative and a reconfigured generation tie line alternative. The Draft EIS/PA also analyzes two no-project alternatives that reject the project but amend the CDCA Plan to make the project area either:
(1) Available for future solar generation energy projects; or
(2) Unavailable for future solar energy generation projects.
The BLM's Preferred Alternative has been identified as the Proposed Action.
The Draft EIS/PA evaluates the potential impacts of the proposed MSEP on air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, water resources, geological resources and hazards, land use, noise, paleontological resources, public health, socioeconomics, soils,
traffic and transportation, visual resources, wilderness characteristics, and other resources.
A Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS/Environmental Impact Report for the MSEP project was published in the Federal Register on August 29, 2011 (76 FR 167). The BLM and Riverside County held public scoping meetings in Palm Desert and Blythe on September 20, 2011 and October 19, 2011. The formal scoping period ended on November 18, 2011.
Solar Project Map
May 15, 2012 - This is the latest configuration map of the proposed McCoy Solar Project near Blythe, California. Nextera seeks to replace 4,700 acres of Colorado Desert habitat located on public lands for a two phase concentrated photovoltaic project. The first phase is the red portion of the map. That is 2,500 acres. The second phase is the blue. See more here: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/palmsprings/Solar_Projects/McCoy.html
The Public Speaks, Win for Democracy
September 23, 2011 - Due to outcry after two public meetings for controversial renewable energy projects (Ocotillo Express Wind in Imperial County, and Stateline Solar Energy Farm in Ivanpah Valley, San Bernardino County, California) would not allow comments to be made openly by audience members, the Moreno Valley office of Bureau of Land Management changed its policy for California Desert District scoping meetings.
At the scoping meeting for McCoy Solar Energy Project in Palm Desert, the public was given time to make oral comments that will become part of the record.
Many local desert advocates attended, as well as Native Americans. Alfredo Figueroa, of La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle, said this was one of the best BLM meetings so far in that the people were allowed to talk freely. The proposed project site has numerous geoglyphs and is part of an area held sacred by local Tribes and groups. It is adjacent to Blythe Solar Power Project which has broken ground and already resulted in the destruction of geoglyphs. The area lies on Palo Verde Mesa next to the Colorado River.
Opposition to the McCoy project will be strong, judging from the reaction at this meeting
See the opinion "Meeting Muzzle? No" in The Riverside Press-Enterprise.
See the article "More solar projects in line for approval" in My Desert:
See the Plan of Development for the project at this link:
Public Scoping Meeting September 20
September 3, 2011 - Bureau of Land Management Schedules Public Scoping Meeting for Proposed McCoy Solar Energy Project in Riverside County:
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has scheduled a public scoping meeting on September 20, 2011 for the proposed McCoy Solar Energy Project in Riverside County. The meeting will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center, 75-080 Frank Sinatra Drive, University Building B, Auditorium 1, Palm Desert, Calif.
The BLM published a notice of intent (NOI) to conduct an environmental review for the McCoy Solar Project on August 29, 2011 which initiated a public scoping period of 30 days, ending Sept. 28, 2011. The scheduled scoping meeting will allow the BLM and the county to solicit public comments on planning issues, concerns, potential impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures that should be considered in the analysis of the proposed action.
McCoy Solar, LLC has requested a right-of-way authorization to construct a facility that would generate up to 750 megawatts of power. The project would be on about 7,700 acres of public land and 470 acres of private land under the land-use authority of Riverside County. A proposed 16-mile generation-tie line would require approximately 200 acres of public and private lands. The proposed 20-acre switch yard would connect into the adjacent Southern California Edison Colorado River Substation.
The BLM and Riverside County will prepare a joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to analyze the site-specific impacts of the proposed project, which would also require an amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan. The EIS/EIR 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, wilderness characteristics, visual resources and transmission system engineering, and transmission-line safety.
Further details on the proposed McCoy Solar Energy Project can be found at:
For information, contact Jeffery Childers at (951) 697-5308, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
BLM, California Desert District 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553. Last updated: 09-02-2011.
Cumulative Impacts to Blythe Desert
^The McCoy Mountains near to the proposed project site. Small orange fencing along a new road for the Blythe Solar Power Project can be seen.
^Desert sand verbena (Abronia villosa) on Palo Verde Mesa.
August 29, 2011 - Riverside County, California - McCoy Solar Energy Project is the next new application starting environmental review in the Colorado River area on Palo Verde Mesa. It would be a photovoltaic project in a 7,000-acre Right-of-Way hugging McCoy Wash right next to the 7,000 acre Blythe Solar Power Project site. Bureau of Land Management does not yet know how large the actual footprint of the PV will be within the ROW.
From the Federal Register:
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The applicant, McCoy Solar, LLC has requested a ROW authorization to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission an up to 750-MW PV solar facility and necessary ancillary facilities including a generation tie line, access road and switch yard with the ultimate generation capacity dependent on the technology selected and efficiencies available at the time of ROW authorization. The MSEP is proposed to be located on about 7,700 acres of public lands and 470 acres of private land under the land use authority of Riverside County. The facilities to be located on private land will be limited to solar arrays and inverters, as well as a portion of the access road, generation tie line, electric power distribution line, and a telecommunications line.
The proposed 16-mile generation-tie line (gen-tie), with a right-of-way width of 100 feet, will require about 200 acres of public and private lands. The proposed 20-acre switch yard will be located adjacent to and connect into Southern California Edison's Colorado River Substation. The MSEP site is located approximately 13 miles northwest of the City of Blythe, California and approximately 32 miles east of Desert Center.
The BLM has segregated the public lands located within the MSEP application area from appropriation under the public land and mining laws, but not the mineral leasing or material sales acts, for a period of 2 years for the purpose of protecting potential sites for future solar energy development pursuant to 43 CFR 2091.3-1(e) and 43 CFR 2804.25(e) by notice in the Federal Register [76 FR 38416] on June 30, 2011.
The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, including alternatives, and guide the process for developing the Draft EIS/EIR. At present, the BLM has identified the following preliminary issues: air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, biological resources including special status species, cultural resources, geology and soils, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, land use, noise, recreation, traffic, visual resources, lands with wilderness characteristics, cumulative effects, and areas with high potential for renewable energy development.
^Looking northwest up McCoy Wash and along the McCoy Mountains, from the Blythe Solar Power Project area. The project would be in the far distance to the right.
Ironwoods, Tortoise, Cultural Values
^Palo Verede Mesa has valuable Desert ironwood (Onleya tesota) groves and Big galleta grass (Hilaria rigida) washes that provide habitat for Desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) and numerous species of birds. The McCoy Mountains rise in the background.
^Activists survey the geoglyphs and trails on the desert pavement of the Palo Verde Mesa which are in danger of destruction by massive solar developments, with the Big Maria Mountains forming the backdrop.