Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Program Western Solar Plan
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California Solar News and Announcements


November 6, 2020

BLM Initiates Environmental Review of Two Proposed Solar Projects on Public Lands in Riverside County

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently initiated environmental review on two proposed solar projects near Desert Center in eastern Riverside County, California. Arica Solar, LLC, and Victory Pass I, LLC, seek authorization to construct two photovoltaic solar projects on public lands. Each project would be approximately 2,000 acres in size, generate up to 265 MW of electricity with up to 200 MW of battery storage, and be sited entirely on BLM-managed public lands.

The proposed projects would be located within areas analyzed and identified as suitable for renewable energy development as part of BLM's Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Land Use Plan Amendment. Project information and maps are available for the Arica project and for the Victory Pass project. A public scoping meeting was held online on October 21, 2020, and BLM received public comments from October 1, 2020, through November 2, 2020.

The BLM is the lead federal agency for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is the lead agency for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review.

For more information, please contact BLM project manager, Miriam Liberatore, at 541-618-2200 or by email at [email protected].


May 8, 2020

BLM Approves Camino Solar Project

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved the Camino Solar project in the Antelope Valley, west of Rosemond in Kern County, within the jurisdiction of the BLM's Ridgecrest Field Office. The Record of Decision and Finding of No Significant Impact authorize Aurora Solar LLC a right-of-way to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission a 44-megawatt photovoltaic solar facility on 383 acres of mixed ownership lands (150 acres on private land and 233 acres on BLM-administered land). The Camino Solar project includes associated infrastructure including energy battery storage, a 34.5-kV underground electrical collector line, and access roads that would connect to the existing Manzana Wind Substation. The energy would then be transferred to the Southern California Edison Whirlwind Substation using the existing Manzana Wind 220 kV generation-tie line.

The BLM is the lead federal agency for the National Environmental Policy Act review and Kern County is the lead agency for the California Environmental Quality Act review. A public comment period on the Environmental Assessment for the project was held in February and March. The Decision Record, Finding of No Significant Impact, Environmental Assessment, and associated documents are available through BLM's ePlanning website.

Questions about the project can be sent to Michelle Van Der Linden at [email protected].


March 19, 2020

Camino Solar Project Review

The BLM Ridgecrest Field Office is reviewing a right-of-way application for the Camino Solar Project. Aurora Solar LLC seeks to construct and operate the facility in the Antelope Valley, west of Rosamond in Kern County, California. The project would be a 44-megawatt photovoltaic solar facility on 383 acres of mixed ownership lands (150 acres on private land and 233 acres on BLM-administered land). The project includes associated infrastructure including energy storage, a 34.5 kV underground electrical collector line, and access roads that would connect to the existing Manzana Wind substation. The energy would then be transferred to the Southern California Edison Whirlwind Substation using the existing Manzana Wind 220 kV generation-tie line.

The BLM is the lead federal agency for the National Environmental Policy Act review and Kern County is the lead agency for the California Environmental Quality Act review. The Environmental Assessment for the project is available online through ePlanning, or by visiting the Ridgecrest Field Office located at 300 S. Richmond Road in Ridgecrest, CA 93555. Public comments on the project EA were received from February 13, 2020 to March 16, 2020.

Questions about the project can be sent to Michelle Van Der Linden at [email protected].


January 15, 2020

BLM Releases Record of Decision for Desert Quartzite Solar Project

In September 2019, the Bureau of Land Management published the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) and California Desert Conservation Area Land Use Plan Amendment for the Desert Quartzite Solar Project in eastern Riverside County. The Final EIS/EIR provides a comprehensive analysis of the potential environmental impacts for the proposed Desert Quartzite Solar Project and Land Use Plan Amendment. See the BLM news release for more information.

In January 2020, the BLM issued a Record of Decision approving the project. Project documents can be found on BLM's ePlanning website.

The project, which will produce up to 450 MW encompassing about 2,673 acres of BLM-administered public lands, will include a main generation area, a 230 kV generation-tie line, and ancillary facilities. The BLM was the lead federal agency for the National Environmental Policy Act review, and Riverside County was the lead agency for the California Environmental Quality Act review.


October 2019

BLM Releases Draft EIS/EIR for Crimson Solar Project in Riverside County

On October 31, 2019, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) and Draft Land Use Plan Amendment (LUP) for the Crimson Solar Project, to be located in eastern Riverside County within the jurisdiction of the BLM Palm Springs South Coast Field Office. Sonoran West Solar Holdings, LLC (Sonoran West) has requested a right of way grant on up to 2,500 acres of BLM-administered lands within the Riverside East Solar Energy Zone to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission a 350-megawatt photovoltaic solar energy generation facility along with the necessary ancillary facilities including up to eight project substations, access roads, operations and maintenance buildings, and lay-down areas.

The EIS/EIR was prepared as a joint federal/state environmental document that analyzes the impacts of the project under both the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The BLM is the lead Federal agency for the NEPA review and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is the lead agency for the CEQA review. The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are cooperating agencies in this review.

The Draft EIS/EIR, along with the agency-preferred alternative for the Crimson Solar Project, can be viewed on BLM's ePlanning website. Public comments are being accepted on these documents between October 2019 and January 2020.

For further information, please contact either Miriam Liberatore, BLM project manager, at [email protected] (or 541-618-2412) or Sarah K. Webster at [email protected] (or 916-978-4622).


October 12, 2015

Riverside East SEZ Solar Long-Term Monitoring and Adaptive Management Pilot Project: Webinar October 28 from 9-11 AM Pacific Time

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host a public webinar on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, from 9-11 am Pacific Time to discuss the Riverside East Solar Energy Zone Monitoring and Adaptive Management Strategy. The BLM will present its recently completed draft monitoring plan for the Riverside East SEZ and provide an open forum for discussion, questions, comments, and clarifications.

The draft monitoring plan will be posted to the Project Website the week of October 18th. Please review the document prior to the webinar if possible.

The dial-in number for the webinar is: 1-888-850-4523; Passcode 876166.

Instructions for the webinar meeting:

  1. URL is: https://bluejeans.com/663121813/9803
  2. Meeting ID: 663121813
  3. Participant Passcode: 9803
  4. Users should load bluejeans before the webinar.
  5. Choose “computer” option.
  6. Choose the “Don't Send Only Receive” option after logging into the webinar
  7. Click off the video and microphone icons on the right side of the screen after logging into the webinar.

If you are planning to participate, please RVSP to: [email protected].

For more information contact Mike Sintetos, BLM Program Manager, at 916-978-4639 or [email protected].


April 17, 2014

BLM Extends Public Comment Period on Proposed Solar Project in San Bernardino County

The public comment period for the proposed Silurian Valley solar project has been extended. Public comments are now due by May 28, 2014.

A public comment meeting was held on March 27, 2014, to solicit comments from public agencies and the general public about their concerns and interests on the proposed Silurian Valley solar project.

The proposed project would be a 200 megawatt solar facility consisting of multiple arrays of photovoltaic panels, 44 miles of service roads, a project substation, and operation & maintenance facilities including an above-ground generation transmission line. The proposed project would be located on 7,219 acres of public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), located along State Highway 127 approximately 10 miles north of the town of Baker in San Bernardino County.

The BLM will rely on public comments, coordination with other Federal, State and local government agencies, and an analysis of environmental factors when considering the variance application. In accordance with the BLM's Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision, the BLM will consider this information to determine whether or not the application is appropriate for processing.

Should the application be accepted for processing, the BLM will develop an environmental impact statement in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. This would include public scoping meetings and in-depth environmental analysis to address potential impacts to the following resources, among others: visual resources, air quality, recreation, biological, and cultural resources.

Comments should be submitted by May 28, 2014 by email or U.S. Mail. Send your comments to: Katrina Symons, BLM Barstow Field Manager, 2601 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311 or by email at: [email protected].

Questions should be directed to: Joan Patrovsky, BLM Realty Specialist at (760) 252-6032.


March 12, 2014

BLM Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Project in San Bernardino County, CA: Public Meeting on March 27, 2014

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, the BLM will conduct a public meeting to solicit comments from public agencies and the general public about their concerns and interests on the proposed Silurian Valley solar project. The public meeting is being held to provide the public and other interested parties an opportunity to participate in the variance process determination prior to acceptance of an application.

The proposed project would be a 200 megawatt solar facility consisting of multiple arrays of photovoltaic panels, 44 miles of service roads, a project substation, and operation & maintenance facilities including an aerial generation transmission line. The project would impact 7,219 acres of public lands administered by the BLM, located along State Highway 127 approximately 10 miles north of the town of Baker in San Bernardino County.

Representatives from Aurora Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., will be present at the meeting to answer general questions. The meeting will be held at the Hampton Inn & Suites, 2710 Lenwood Road, Barstow, California from 1:30-4:30 p.m. and 6:00-9:00 p.m. Comment forms will be made available during the meeting.

The BLM, in early coordination with other federal, state and local government agencies, will rely on public comments when considering its determination on whether or not to process the application. In accordance with the BLM Solar PEIS ROD, the California State Director will make a variance determination as to whether the application is deemed appropriate for processing. Should the application be accepted and forwarded for processing, the BLM will develop an Environmental Impact Statement to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. This would include public scoping meetings and in-depth environmental analysis to include analysis of impacts to the following resources: visual resources, air quality, recreation, biological, and cultural resources.

Comments should be submitted within 30 days following the meeting by email or U.S. Mail. Send your comments to: Katrina Symons, BLM Barstow Field Manager, 2601 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311 or by email at [email protected].

Questions regarding this public meeting should be directed to Joan Patrovsky, BLM Realty Specialist, at: (760) 252-6032.


December 20, 2013

Imperial East and Riverside East SEZ Groundwater Models Available

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released groundwater models and reports for the Imperial East and Riverside East Solar Energy Zones in California. The purpose of these models is to assess potential impacts associated with groundwater withdrawals to support solar energy development in the vicinity of the SEZs. These are numerical models developed using established software and hydrogeological principles that rely on publicly available geospatial, geologic, and hydrologic data.

The Model reports contain further information regarding the development of the models and the results.

The report and the model for the Imperial East SEZ are available on the Groundwater Modeling for the Imperial East SEZ page.

The report and the model for the Riverside East SEZ are available on the Groundwater Modeling for the Riverside East SEZ page.


October 29, 2013

Rescheduled: Solar Long-Term Monitoring and Adaptive Management Pilot Project for the Riverside East SEZ: Public Workshop in Palm Springs, CA, December 11-12

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has rescheduled the public workshop for the Riverside East Solar Energy Zone (SEZ) Solar Long-Term Monitoring and Adaptive Management Pilot Project to December 11 and 12, 2013, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Renaissance Palm Springs, 888 Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, California 92262.

(Note: Parking is available next door to the Renaissance Palm Springs. Go west on E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, turn right onto Calle El Segundo, then right onto Andreas Drive. The parking lot is on the right side of the street.)

Additional details and an agenda will be posted to the Riverside East SEZ Long Term Monitoring and Adaptive Management Pilot Project website prior to the workshop.

The workshop will also be available via webcast. Connection information for the webcast is:

Dial-in number: 1-877-685-5350
Passcode: 830546
URL: http://anl.adobeconnect.com/r28v5g860n6/

If you are planning to attend the public meeting in-person or via webcast please email your RSVP to: [email protected]

Questions about the workshop should be directed to Mike Sintetos, BLM Program Manager, at [email protected]


September 10, 2013

Solar Long-Term Monitoring and Adaptive Management Pilot Project for the Riverside East SEZ: Public Workshop in Palm Springs, California, October 23-24, 2013

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host a public workshop for the Riverside East Solar Energy Zone (SEZ) Solar Long-Term Monitoring and Adaptive Management Pilot Project on October 23 and 24, from 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Renaissance Palm Springs, 888 Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262.

Additional details and an agenda will be posted to the Riverside East SEZ Long Term Monitoring and Adaptive Management Pilot Project website prior to the workshop.

The workshop will also be available via webcast. Connection information for the webcast is:

Dial-in number: 1-877-685-5350
Passcode: 830546
URL: http://anl.adobeconnect.com/r28v5g860n6/

If you are planning to attend the public meeting in-person or via webcast please email your RSVP to: [email protected]

Questions about the workshop should be directed to Mike Sintetos, BLM Program Manager, at [email protected]


August 13, 2013

Department of Interior (DOI) Announces New West Chocolate Mountains Solar Energy Zone in California

On August 13, 2013, DOI Secretary Jewell announced that the Interior Department has approved the establishment of the West Chocolate Mountains Renewable Energy Evaluation Area (REEA) on public lands in California's Imperial Valley. This REEA will prioritize the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands for the exploration and development of solar and geothermal energy. The REEA creates a new Solar Energy Zone, part of the BLM's Solar Energy Program to facilitate solar energy development by identifying areas with high solar potential, few resource conflicts and access to existing or planned transmission. The BLM estimates that there is potential to generate over 3,330 megawatts of solar power on 20,762 of the REEA that comprise the new solar energy zone.

Updated: 11/6/2020