BLM Logo
California Desert District
Release Date: 07/28/10
Contacts: Stephen Razo , 951-697-5217  
  email ,  
News Release No. CA-CDD-10-85

BLM Releases Final EIS for Proposed Imperial Valley Solar Project

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Tessera Solar Imperial Valley Solar Project on public land in Imperial County, California.

Tessera Solar of Houston, Texas, has applied for a right-of-way authorization to construct solar power plants on 6,494 acres of public land about 14 miles west of El Centro, Calif.  The project, if authorized, would be among the first commercial thermal solar power projects constructed on public lands in the United States.

The company's proposed action, analyzed in the draft EIS along with alternatives earlier this year, would produce about 750-megwatts (MW), enough electricity to power about a half-million average California homes.  The plant would involve 30,000 SunCatchers using solar-dish technology designed to automatically track the sun and collect and focus solar energy onto a power conversion unit that generates electricity.  The project includes a 10.3 mile 230-kilovolt transmission line, substation, water pipeline, and access road.

The agency preferred alternative in the FEIS is identified as the 709 MW alternative.  This alternative covers 6,476 acres, with slightly fewer SunCatchers (28,260).  This alternative addresses issues identified by the Army Corps of Engineers related to water drainage and requirements of the Clean Water Act.  Other changes address issues raised by the public and other agencies regarding impacts on the flat tailed horned lizard and cultural resources.

The project applicant has also submitted an Application for Certification with the California Energy Commission (CEC). The BLM is working closely with the CEC and other state and federal agencies in an unprecedented collaborative effort to better coordinate the renewable energy permitting process.

A Notice of Availability was published by the Environmental Protection Agency in the July 28, 2010, Federal Register.  This notice initiates a 30-day protest period for the proposed amendment to the California Desert Plan, a necessary step before the project could be approved.  Details on filing a protest can be found in the Federal Register Notice or in the Final EIS, available online at

In addition to the protest period, the BLM will also be accepting public comment on the Final EIS for 30 days.  Comments can be sent to Jim Stobaugh, National Project Manager, by mail: Bureau of Land Management, P.O. Box 12000, Reno, NV 89520-0006; or 1340 Financial Blvd, Reno, NV 89502; or email:

Further details can be found at the BLM renewable energy web page: and the CEC web page or by contacting Jim Stobaugh, BLM Project Manager at (775) 861-6478, or email


California Desert District   22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553   

Last updated: 07-28-2010