The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has given its Record of Decision, approving the 500MW Palen Solar Project for the owner EDF Renewable Energy.


Image: Palen project area. Photo: Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management.

BLM in its approval stated that EDF Renewable Energy’s Palen solar project can occupy up to 3,140 acres of BLM-administered lands, about 16km east of Desert Center, north of Interstate 10, in Riverside County.

The approval also includes the construction of a 11.2km single circuit 230kV generation interconnection transmission line that will deliver the clean electricity to the Southern California Edison Red Bluff Substation under a power purchase agreement (PPA). It will include a main generation area, on-site substation, switchyard, site security, and a 230kV gen-tie line. The site could potentially include an operations and maintenance facility.

BLM stated that the Palen Solar Project could generate enough clean electricity to power nearly 130,000 US homes and can create more than 1000 jobs during the construction phase. This project could result in a private infrastructure investment of $1bn, providing $67.3m in annual indirect economic benefit during the construction phase.

The Bureau stated that the solar project will advance the Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s priorities of sustainably developing America’s energy resources, modernizing infrastructure and creating jobs across local economies.

Land and Minerals Management assistant secretary Joseph Balash said “President Trump and Secretary Zinke have called for an all-of-the-above energy strategy that will ensure America’s energy security, while also strengthening our infrastructure in support of the economy.

“The Palen Solar Project will provide benefits to the local community and the region both now and in the future, demonstrating the critical role multiple-use public lands play for the BLM’s neighbors and the nation as a whole.”

Recently, Ameren’s subsidiary Ameren Missouri agreed to acquire the 157MW Brickyard Hill wind farm located in northwest Missouri, from EDF Renewables North America.

The Brickyard Hill wind facility will be located in Atchison County and it is expected to be operational in 2020. The electricity generated from the wind farm will be enough to power nearly 47,000 homes.