Ken Leighton 7:59 a.m., May 22
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar gave his approval to connect a 250-megawatt solar power project located in Imperial Valley to the energy grid in California. The transmission line, an above-ground 230 kilovolt line, will run electricity generated from the Imperial Solar Energy Center West Project five miles to a substation. It is expected to power 75,000 homes.
According to a statement from Salazar's office, the project will create close to 285 construction jobs and bring $5 million worth of sales tax revenue to local government.
“The solar project itself will be constructed on private, fallowed farm lands near El Centro,” said Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey in the August 25 statement. “This transmission line will be placed in an area already designated as a transmission corridor. The entire project is sited in a perfect spot for renewable energy development in the California desert.”
To smooth things over with environmental groups and local residents, the Bureau of Land Management is requiring the developer to purchase more than 100 acres of wildlife habitat to make up for environmental impacts from the project.
The project is the second large renewable-energy project approved this month in California. The other was the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, a 550-megawatt in the Mojave desert.