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Imperial County solar project takes step forward

August 01, 2010|By ELIZABETH VARIN | Imperial Valley Press Staff Writer

Solar power on Imperial County public land took a step forward as the federal government released a final environmental impact statement last week.
The Bureau of Land Management released the final environmental statement for the Tessera Solar project to be constructed on almost 6,500 acres of public land 14 miles west of El Centro, according to a press release from the bureau. The proposed project would produce about 750 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about a half-million average California homes, with its 30,000 SunCatchers.
SunCatchers are solar dishes that automatically track the sun and collect and focus solar energy to generate electricity, according to the press release.
Imperial County Supervisor Michael Kelley said he was glad that it happened, as it will help push forward the future of the county.
“Everyone’s slated Imperial County as the next renewable energy capital of the nation,” he said.
This is a step in that direction, though some may be opposed to it, he said. However, renewable energy is the future, and it goes hand-in-hand with the growth of civilization.
It’s going to be a beneficial project for the people of the county, he said.
A 30-day protest period for the proposed amendments to the California Desert Plan, a necessary step before the project could be approved, opened Wednesday, according to the press release.
Details on filing a protest can be found in the Federal Register Notice or in the final statement, available online at http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro/nepa/stirling.html
In addition to the protest period, the bureau will also be accepting public comment on the final statement for 30 days, according to the press release. 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 e-mail: caivspp@blm.gov
>> Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at evarin@ivpressonline.com or 760-337-3441.

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