Palm Springs - South Coast Field Office

Rice Solar Energy Project (CACA 51022)

The following diagram shows the current progress for this proposed project with links to applicable project-related documents. The colored bar in the center indicates the items that have been completed or are currently underway.


Federal Coordination Process

Right-of-Way Grant

Record of Decision -  
  Notification of Final EIS

  Publication of Final EIS -

  - Public Comment Period
Notice of Availability of Draft EIS -  
  CEC-WAPA Staff Assessment/Draft EIS
Notice of Intent -  

Project Vitals

Rice Solar Energy, LLC proposes to construct a 150-MW solar-powered electrical generation facility in eastern Riverside County, Calif., approximately 40 miles from Blythe, 65 miles from Needles, and 75 miles from Twentynine Palms.  The proposed solar generation facility would be located on the site of a former airfield (Rice Army Airfield) that was used during World War II as a training site, later transferred to private use, and then abandoned sometime between 1955 and 1958.

The proposed Project would use concentrating solar “power tower” technology to capture the sun’s heat to make steam, which would power traditional steam turbine generators.  The solar generation facility would contain the power block, a central receiver or tower, solar fields which consist of mirrors or heliostats to reflect the sun’s energy to the central tower, a thermal energy storage system, technical and non-technical buildings, a storm water system, two onsite water wells, water supply and treatment system, a wastewater system, evaporation ponds, and other supporting facilities.  These facilities would be situated on 1,410 acres within the project parcel and would be surrounded by a site fence.  Other Project components would include a new transmission line, a new electrical substation, and an access road.

RSE has applied to Western to interconnect the proposed Project to Western’s power transmission system and has applied to the Bureau of Land Management for a right-of-way authorization to construct and operate a transmission line that would interconnect the proposed Project to Western’s transmission system. Under California law, the California Energy Commission is responsible for reviewing the Applications for Certification filed for thermal power plants over 50 MW, and also has the role of lead agency for the environmental review of such projects under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Western and the Bureau of Land Management Palm Springs - South Coast Field Office, together with the California Energy Commission, are preparing a joint Environmental Impact Statement/Staff Assessment, which may include an amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan.

Public Comments

The BLM planning regulations state that any person who meets the conditions as described in the regulations may protest the BLM's Proposed CDCA Plan Amendment. A person who meets the conditions and files a protest must file the protest by September 6, 2011.

For more information please contact:

Allison Shaffer
Project Manager
Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office. BLM
1201 Bird Center Drive
Palm Springs, CA  92262

Authorization Documents

Right-of-Way Grant
Record of Decision

Appendix 1 - Map

Appendix 2 - Biological Opinion
Appendix 3 - Memorandum of Agreement
Appendix 4 - Director's Protest Resolution Report

Appendix 5 - Adopted Mitigation Measures


Final EIS

Final Environmental Impact Statement / Plan Amendment

Draft EIS

Staff Assessment and Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Related Links
Biological Opinion (US Fish & Wildlife Service)
BLM CDD Renewable Energy
Understanding the NEPA Process

Bureau of Land Management
Palm Springs - South Coast Field Office
1201 Bird Center Drive
Palm Springs, California 92262
Phone: (760) 833-7100
Fax: (760) 833-7199
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., M-F
Contact us by Email
Location of Field Office