BLM Releases Alternatives Overview for Palen Solar Photovoltaic Project


Bureau of Land Management, California

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California Desert District Office

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Solar panels in the desert.  Photo by Tom Brewster Photography. MORENO VALLEY, Calif. – Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released an Alternatives Overview for the Palen Solar Photovoltaic Project in Riverside County. This informational document provides a preliminary description of the proposed alternatives being evaluated in the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Environmental Impact Report (EIR), currently in progress for the project.

EDF Renewable Energy is seeking to amend a pending application to the BLM by changing technologies from a solar power tower to a solar photovoltaic (PV) panel facility. The change in technology amends the previous solar project application submitted in 2007 and 2012 and requires compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) prior to BLM action on this right-of-way application.

The proposed solar project, located on approximately 4,200 acres of public lands managed by the BLM near Desert Center, would generate approximately 1.6 million megawatt-hours per year.

The following is a list of the draft proposed actions and alternatives found in the Alternatives Overview:

  • Proposed Action: a PV array with reduced grading, which avoids portions of the sand transport corridor.
  • Reduced Footprint Alternative: a PV array that avoids the central and largest desert wash and includes a more efficient use of land. This alternative extends further than the Proposed Action into the sand transport corridor.
  • Avoidance Alternative: a PV array that avoid washes and riparian habitat, Mojave fringe-toed lizard habitat, and sand transport corridor.
  • No Action/No Project Alternative: no generation, no associated ground disturbance, and deny the application.

These draft alternatives are intended to be the bases for which the BLM assesses the environmental impacts of the proposed project. These alternatives will be further refined prior to the release of the draft Supplemental EIS/EIS expected later this year. 

For more information about the Alternatives Overview, visit , or contact Mark DeMaio, BLM Project Manager, at, or (760) 833-7124.

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.