BLM approves construction of Desert Quartzite solar project
Project will provide 900 union construction jobs and produce solar energy to power 120,000 homes
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — The Bureau of Land Management announces the start of construction of the Desert Quartzite solar project near Blythe in eastern Riverside County, advancing the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to combat the climate crisis by supporting the development of renewable energy.
“The BLM continues to approve responsibly-sited renewable energy projects to help advance clean energy production on public land and meet the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a net-zero economy by 2050,” said BLM California State Director Karen Mouritsen. “The project will generate good paying union jobs, boost local economies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Desert Quartzite solar project will result in a private infrastructure investment of $1 billion, power roughly 120,000 homes, and generate up to 900 jobs at peak construction.
The Notice to Proceed, issued by the Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office, authorizes Desert Quartzite, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of EDF-Renewables, to begin construction and operation of the 300-megawatt Desert Quartzite solar project, including an on-site substation, switchyard, site security, a 230 kV generation-tie line, and an operations and maintenance facility. The BLM anticipates construction to begin in early February on roughly 3,000 acres of public land and take up to 16 months, with anticipated operation by December 2024.
The BLM manages vast stretches of public lands that have the potential to make significant contributions to the nation’s renewable energy portfolio. Renewable energy projects on our nation’s public lands support the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, as well as Congress’ direction in the Energy Act of 2020 to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025. Several companies have expressed interest in developing renewable energy projects on BLM-managed public lands in southern Idaho, due to the existing and planned transmission infrastructure.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.