BLM advances 350 MW solar project proposed on public lands


Saying that it was acting in support of the Biden administration’s goal to promote renewables, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) moved a step closer toward issuing a decision on the 350 MW Crimson solar farm, a project proposed on public lands near Blythe, California.

The BLM, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), released the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) and amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Land Use Plan for the project.

Publication of these documents initiated a 30-day protest period and a 60-day consistency review by the California governor. The BLM said it will then work to resolve any protests and issue a record of decision.

If approved, the Crimson solar project is expected to generate enough electricity to power 87,500 homes. Sonoran West Solar Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar unit Recurrent Energy, would build and operate the project on up to 2,500 acres of public land.

As currently proposed, the Crimson project represents an investment of $550 million and would support up to 650 temporary construction jobs, 10 permanent jobs, and 40 temporary jobs in operations and maintenance over its 30-year expected lifetime.

The BLM’s actions come after President Joe Biden issued several executive orders to take a government-wide approach to fight climate change.

In his Jan. 27 orders, Biden rolled back Trump administration policies and halted new oil and gas leases on federal lands. The president also tasked the DOI with identifying steps to accelerate responsible development of renewable energy on public lands and waters.

The DOI said it has initiated a review of processes and procedures to date as it reinvests in a “rigorous” renewable energy program.

Information about the Crimson project, along with the BLM’s preferred alternative and instructions for filing a protest, is available here.

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