Solar siting species spats [CSTP 2009]


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- Solar projects use significant acreage and use it intensively
- Wildlife agencies are concerned, conservative, and inconsistent
- Public land rights take time to obtain, while private land is subdivided so as to make land assemblage difficult
- It will take a village of alphabet soup agencies, solar developers, and national environmental groups to make sense of our crazy quilt of regulation so that solar energy can be a growing source of our nation's energy

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Solar siting species spats [CSTP 2009]

  1. 1. CSP 2009 SITINGCONCENTRATING SOLAR POWER PROJECTS: BIG DESERT? OR NOWHERE LEFT TO GO? Peter H. Weiner Paul Hastings 55 Second Street San Francisco, CA 94105 415.856.7010
  2. 2. Concentrating Solar Power: An Expanding Resource 4 The CA Renewable Portfolio Standard is 20% by statute and 33% by Air Resources Board Plan. 4 The Obama Administration promises a national RPS and attention to transmission. 4 Concentrating Solar Technology has the largest potential to fulfill national and State objectives. 4 Solar projects must be built where the resource is (and where the species may be) ©2008 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP Page 2
  3. 3. Renewable Energy Is Currently 7% of the Energy PieSource: Energy Information Administration, Office of Coal, Nuclear, Electric and Alternate ©2008 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP Page 3
  4. 4. Concentrated Solar Power: The Hot New PropertiesSource: U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Map by International ©2008 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP Page 4
  5. 5. Solar Facilities: Extensive and Intensive Use of Land 4 More concentrated ground coverage, need to grub and grade, more vehicle usage (mirror washing, etc.) 4 Focus on public lands because of greater need for dedicated acreage 4 Size matters: 5-10-15 square miles can impact wildlife corridors, drainage 4 Water usage can be a key ©2008 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP Page 5
  6. 6. Initial Siting Considerations 4 Sufficient insolation, flat ground 4 Avoid National Parks, DOD land, Wilderness 4 Private degraded lands (e.g. current or former ag land) have fewer potential conflicts but rarely available 4 Public land almost always means BLM 4 ESA (16 USC ? 1531 et seq.) and CESA (Fish & Game Code ? 2050 et seq.) ©2008 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP Page 6
  7. 7. A closer look: Potential Solar Species Impacts and Resolutions 4The Mojave Ground Squirrel 4The Desert Tortoise 4CA Kit fox, Yuma Clapper Rail 4The West Mojave Plan: DWMAs, ACECs, and the impact on the Eastern ©2008 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP Page 7
  8. 8. The Current Siting Divide: Fast- Track Projects and Future Zones 4Projects with Access to Transmission, Adequate Plans of Development (PODs), Completed Biological Studies: Possible Eligibility for Stimulus (15 or fewer nationally) 4Projects that will be clustered in zones for new ©2008 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP Page 8
  9. 9. Where and When Will We have Solar Development Zones? 4Several Different Processes: • CA RETI • WGA WREZ • BLM PEIS • CA DRECP 4Dates from 2010-2012: Effect on Investment? 4Non-Science Based ©2008 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP Page 9
  10. 10. The Interplay of CEQA, ESA, CESA, and DFG 4 Lack of NEPA ©2008 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP Page 10
  11. 11. The Federal Bureau of Land Management and the PEIS 4Stated avoidance of all sensitive areas: impact on solar development 4Initial Lack of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service involvement 4Coordination with RETI 4Next steps: 13 EIS Level Zones to be ©2008 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP Page 11
  12. 12. Creative Species Protection Solutions for Solar Development 4The CEC and CDFG look at Natural Community Conservation Plans (NCCPs) 4U.S. F&WS must be involved: HCPs 4The Concept of Non-Acquisition ©2008 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP Page 12
  13. 13. The Future 4 The need for large-scale advanced mitigation solutions 4 Interagency cooperation and coordination are essential to solar siting. 4 Multi-stakeholder solutions work better than fiat; encouraging those solutions works for all of ©2008 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP Page 13