Solar Energy and the California Desert
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Solar Energy and the California Desert

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Presenter: Steve Borchard, Bureau of Land Management

Presenter: Steve Borchard, Bureau of Land Management

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  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT260 million acres surface700 million acres subsurface estate (map of BLM national ownership)
  • Congress has passed 4 pieces of legislation designating wilderness totaling nearly 3.6 million acresThrough it’s planning process, BLM has established 90 Areas of Critical Environmental Concern6 Desert Wildlife Management Areas totaling 3.1 million acres3 Habitat Conservation Areas for the Mojave Ground Squirrel, Flat tail Horned Lizard and the Fringe Toed LizardLands that have been acquired for conservation purposes or donated to BLM are restricted from surface disturbing activities by policy, Solar development is likely to be incompatible with this policy
  • Congress has passed 4 pieces of legislation designating wilderness totaling nearly 3.6 million acresThrough it’s planning process, BLM has established 90 Areas of Critical Environmental Concern6 Desert Wildlife Management Areas totaling 3.1 million acres3 Habitat Conservation Areas for the Mojave Ground Squirrel, Flat tail Horned Lizard and the Fringe Toed LizardLands that have been acquired for conservation purposes or donated to BLM are restricted from surface disturbing activities by policy, Solar development is likely to be incompatible with this policy
  • The combination of abundant sunshine with 300 to 330 cloudless days,Large tracts of nearly level land under single ownershipHigh elevation, andLots of electricity customersMake the Mojave desert one of the best places on earth for the development of commercial scale solar energy.
  • The State Legislature, the Governor, the United States Congress, The Secretary of the Interior and the President have all directed that Renewable Energy must be developed.And it seems that everyone has their eyes on the California Desert.
  • BLM is currently working to complete the NEPA process by November of 2010 on 10 applications.If BLM completes the environmental analysis process, decides that the projects are compatible with other values, and issue a Right-of-Way, Then the project developers could begin construction by December 2010 and qualify for Federal loan guarantees under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
  • The Governor has directed the DFG and CEC to develop a Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan.The plan is a comprehensive planning and streamlined compliance services for renewable energy projects. Balance project assurances with ecosystem protection.By December 31, 2009- identify and map areas for RPS project development and areas intended for long-term natural resource conservation.And don’t forget to include the Federal Partners- BLM and FWS

Solar Energy and the California Desert Solar Energy and the California Desert Presentation Transcript

  • Solar Energy and the California Desert
    San Diego Solar Conference
    Marriott Mission Valley
    September 29, 2009
  • Public Lands Managed by BLM
  • History
    California Desert District
    The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976
  • California Desert Conservation Area
    The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976
    Congress declared policy
    Retain public lands in Federal ownership
    Manage lands for multiple use and sustained yield
    Prepare land-use plans
    Protect quality of scientific, scenic, historical,
    ecological, environmental, air, water, and
    archeological values
  • California Desert Conservation Area
    The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976
    Provide food and habitat for fish and wildlife
    Provide for recreation, human occupancy, and use
    Manage lands in a manner that recognizes the
    nation’s need for domestic sources of minerals,
    food, timber, and fiber
  • Multiple-Use Considerations
    Recreation
    Other Governmental
    Reviews/Laws
    Native American Values
    Wild Horse
    &
    Burros
    Wildlife
    &
    Vegetation
    Cultural
    Resources
    Energy Development Decisions
    Geology-Energy
    Minerals
    Livestock
    Grazing
    Wilderness
    Energy Production & Utility Corridors
    Motorized-Vehicle Access
  • California Desert Conservation Area
    California Desert District
    Designated by Congress as a Conservation Area, this 25 million-acre expanse covers most of southeastern California -- almost a quarter of the entire state. Nearly half of its acreage is a desert conservation showcase managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
  • California Desert Conservation Area
    California Desert District
    • California Desert Protection Act of 1994 designated wilderness in the CDCA
    • Established Mojave National Preserve from BLM East Mojave National Scenic Area
    • Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Monuments expanded and made National Parks
  • Planning History
    CDD Management Issues
    California Desert Conservation Area Plan – 1980
    - 25+ million acres / BLM manages about 11 million acres
    Northern and Eastern Mojave Desert (NEMO) Plan
    - 2.7 million acres public land / Decision signed 2002
    Northern and Eastern Colorado Desert (NECO) Plan
    - 3.8 million acres public land / Decision signed 2002
    West Mojave (WEMO) Plan
    - 3.3 million acres public land / Decision signed 2006
    Coachella Valley Plan
    - 1.2 million acres public land / Decision signed 2002
    South Coast Resource Management Plan revision
    - 130,000 acres public land/ Draft in preparation
    Eastern San Diego Resource Management Plan
    - 103,000 acres public land / Decision signed 2008
  • Plan Decisions & Congressional Designations
    Wilderness legislation, planning decisions and policy restrict solar development:
    Wilderness areas (3.57 million acres)
    Wilderness study areas (300,000 acres)
    ACECs (90)
    DWMAS (3.1 million acres)
    Habitat Conservation Area (1.6 million acres)
    Lands acquired or donated for conservation purposes
    (approx 600,000 acres)
  • Basic Land Status
  • Why Here … Why Now?
    The Mojave Desert is a unique resource
    300-330 cloudless days per year with level land at a high elevation
    Close to 25 million electricity consumers
    Solar Potential
  • California Renewable Energy
    • 2002: Senate Bill 1078 establishes the Renewable
    Portfolio Standard Program (RPSP), requiring 20%
    renewables by 2020
    • 2006: Senate Bill 107 accelerated the 20% requirement
    to 2010
    • 2008: Governor issues Executive Order S-14-08
    requiring 33% renewables by 2020
    • Energy Policy Act of 2005 directed Secretaries of Interior and Energy to develop renewable energy projects on public lands with a generating capacity of at least 10,000 megawatts by 2015
    • 2009: Dept. of the Interior Secretarial Order #3289
    declares renewable energy as top priority
  • Renewable Energy Applications
    Beginning in 2005, CDD has received numerous applications for solar energy development, prompting the need to address applications in a coordinated and consistent district-wide manner
    Currently, 63 applicants first in line with 23 second in line
  • District-wide Application Locations
  • Concurrent Planning Efforts
    • First generation commercial-scale solar projects
    • Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact
    Statement (PEIS)
    • Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan
    • California Renewable Energy Transmission
    Initiative (RETI)
  • First Generation Solar Projects
    • Processing 10 applications with a total
    megawatt capacity of 4,863 Megawatts
    • Targeting decisions by November 2010
    to enable applicants to qualify for
    ARRA funding
  • Solar PEIS
    • Scoping period closed Sept. 14 regarding
    solar energy study areas to be analyzed.
    Proposal was for 24 study areas nationally
    – four in California
    • Draft EIS scheduled to be released in June or July of 2010
  • Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan
    • Comprehensive planning system
    • Streamline compliance
    • Balance projects with ecosystem protection
    • Identify independent science process
    • Identify areas for project development
    • Identify areas intended for conservation
    • Include Federal partners- BLM and FWS
  • Transmission
    • Westwide Energy Corridor PEIS
    • Sunrise Powerlink
    • DVP II
    • Barren Ridge
    • Greenpath
    • Blythe
  • so·lar
    Pronunciation: ˈsō-lər, -ˌlär
    Etymology: Middle English, 15th century
    1 : of, derived from, relating to,
    The California Desert