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Salazar's Legacy For California: 72 Square Miles of Renewables on Public Land

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Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in Los Angeles | Photo: U.S> Army Corps o Engineers/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Outgoing Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar, who announced this week he'll be stepping down in March, leaves a legacy of massive change on California's public lands. During his tenure since 2009, Secretary Salazar approved renewable energy facilities on more than 46,000 acres of BLM lands in California. That's in excess of 72 square miles, about the size of the city of Victorville.

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Of the projects involving California BLM land approved during Salazar's tenure, only one -- the Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Facility -- is currently completed. That project, which occupies more than 10,000 acres of BLM lands in Imperial County, started delivering power to San Diego Gas & Electric in December.

Of the remaining California projects approved under Salazar, five are now under construction. Three -- the Ivanpah, Genesis, and Desert Sunlight projects -- occupy BLM lands directly, adding up to a total of 12,277 acres -- slightly less than 20 square miles. Two others -- the Abengoa Mojave plant west of Barstow and and Centinela Solar in IMperial County -- don't occupy BLM land, but the transmission and other services required to make those plants operate do, which required that the Interior Department sign off on those plants.

All told, renewable energy projects approved for California BLM lands during Salazar's term at Interior amount to just under 4,600 megawatts of generating capacity. (That's not including either the Imperial Solar Two or Lucerne Valley Solar projects, both of which were approved and then canceled by their promoters.)

A number of proposed projects on BLM lands in California, such as BrightSource Energy's Palen Solar project and NextEra's McCoy project have not yet been approved by Interior, and are not included in these totals. Also not included: rights of way for new transmission lines.

Here's a table of renewable energy projects approved by the Interior Department in California since Salazar took office. (Data here has been adapted from information provided by the BLM.)




















































































































Project Name [Developer] (Location) Capacity (MW) BLM Acreage Status Operational
Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Facility
[Ocotillo Express LLC (Pattern Energy LP)]
(Imperial County)
31510,151In operationDec. 2012
Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS)
[BrightSource Energy]
(San Bernardino County)
3703,472Under
construction
May 2013
Genesis Solar Energy Project
[Solar Millenium, LLC]
(Riverside County)
2504,640Under constructionMarch 2014
Abengoa Mojave Solar
[Mojave Solar]
(Riverside County)
2500
(connected action)
Under
construction
2014
Desert Sunlight Solar Farm
[First Solar Development, Inc.] (Riverside County)
5504,165Under
construction
Nov. 2014
Centinela Solar Energy Project
[Centinela Solar Energy, LLC]
(Imperial County)
2750
(connected action)
Under construction2014
C Solar South
[LightSource Renewables]
(Imperial County)
2000
(connected action)
AuthorizedJune 2013
C Solar West
[LightSource Renewables]
(Imperial County)
2500
(connected action)
AuthorizedJan. 2015
Rice Solar Energy
[Rice Solar Energy, LLC]
(Riverside County)
1500
(connected action)
Authorized2014
Campo Verde Solar Project
[Campo Verde Solar, LLC]
(Imperial County)
1390
(connected action)
Authorized2013
Tule Wind
[Iberdrola-Pacific Wind Development]
(San Diego County)
18612,133
(connected action)
Authorized2013
Calico Solar Energy Project
[acquired by K Road Power]
(San Bernardino County)
663.54,604Authorized but pending new environmental review because of technology changeNov. 2013
Blythe Solar Power Project
[Solar Millennium, LLC]
(Riverside County)
1,0007,025Authorized but pending new environmental review because of technology changePending
Imperial Valley Solar Project
[Tessera Solar North America]
(Imperial County)
7096,360Authorization terminated at request of developerN/A
Lucerne Valley Solar Project
[Chevron Energy Solutions]
(San Bernardino County)
45516Terminated effective 12/31/2012N/A

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For ongoing environmental coverage in March 2017 and afterward, please visit our show Earth Focus, or browse Redefine for historic material.
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