Feds Advance Giant Desert Solar Project

4 May 2021

The Bureau of Land Management gave a green light to a 350 MW solar project on 2,049 acres of federal land near Blythe in Riverside County May 3.

Late last year, Southern California Edison contracted for 200 MW from this Crimson photovoltaic project to fuel an adjacent 200 MW battery project as part of SCE’s plan to line up 590 MW of battery projects by August 2023.

BLM issued a record of decision Monday giving Sonoran West, a subsidiary of Recurrent Energy, a 30-year right of way for the $550 million PV project. The electricity will be sent through SCE’s Colorado River substation.

“Projects like this can help to make America a global leader in the clean energy economy through the acceleration of responsible renewable energy development on public lands,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said.

The Trump Administration halted the utility-scale solar project just before leaving office in January. But the next month, BLM removed the hold.

“We must make bold investments that will tackle climate change and create good-paying American jobs,” Secretary Haaland said.

The PV project will provide about 650 temporary construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs over the 30-year life of the project. It is expected to come online in the fall of 2022.

The Crimson project, according to BLM, complies with the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan developed over several years with multiple stakeholders. The plan limits where renewable projects can be developed to protect desert habitat.

Project developer Recurrent Energy is owned by Canadian Solar.

Elizabeth McCarthy

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