Interior Department Approves Solar Energy Project in California Desert

Today, the Interior Department announced that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has given final approval to a new solar energy project on public lands in California. The Crimson Solar Project represents an investment of roughly $550 million and has the potential to deliver enough power to energize approximately 87,500 homes.

The Record of Decision authorizes Sonoran West to construct a 350-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic facility with a 350-MW energy storage system and the necessary ancillary support facilities to generate and deliver power through the Southern California Edison Colorado River Substation.

“The time for a clean energy future is now. We must make bold investments that will tackle climate change and create good-paying American jobs,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Projects like this can help to make America a global leader in the clean energy economy through the acceleration of responsible renewable energy development on public lands.”

“America’s public lands provide a tremendous opportunity to realize the potential of renewable energy. BLM is committed to engaging in an inclusive and equitable process in pursuit of a clean energy economy,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Laura Daniel-Davis.

The solar project will be a photovoltaic facility owned by Sonoran West Solar Holdings, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Recurrent Energy, LLC. The facility will occupy up to approximately 2,000 acres of BLM-administered lands approximately 13 miles west of Blythe, in Riverside County, California.

Although the project application pre-dates the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), the Crimson Solar Project is located within one of the areas designated for development, known as Development Focus Areas, by the DRECP. Through the DRECP process, the BLM, State of California and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked diligently with renewable energy developers, the conservation community, Tribes, local government, and others over several years to identify areas appropriate for renewable energy development and areas that should be conserved.

In addition to the significant financial investment in the area, the project will provide an estimated 650 temporary construction jobs, 10 permanent jobs and 40 temporary jobs in operations and maintenance over the 30-year life of the project.

“The BLM California is proud to support responsible development of renewable energy projects as part of our mission to sustainably manage public lands,” said State Director of the BLM California Karen Mouritsen. “The Crimson Solar project showcases the agency’s commitment to meeting California’s energy and economic needs with 21st Century technology.”

Additional information about the project is available on the Crimson Solar Project planning page.

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

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