Through September 6, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting public comment on First Solar Inc.‘s (NASDQ: FSLR) proposed 300-megawatt Stateline Solar Farm. The proposed 2,000-acre solar farm in San Bernardino County is close to the Ivanpah Solar Project under construction and the California-Nevada border.
This is the initial public comment period based on First Solar’s right-of-way application for the project, according to BLM spokesperson David Briery. It was issued as the BLM published a notice of intent to review the potential environmental impacts of the solar farm.
“This is the initial public scoping. There will be other opportunities for public comments,” he said.
If approved. the site could take advantage of the nearby historical transmission lines, which already is being upgraded as part of BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah Solar Project, according to Briery.
The upgrade will impact the El Dorado Substation owned by California Edison.
“It’s the original line from the Hoover Dam,” Briery said. “The line was built in the 1920s.”
The line originally carried electricity from Los Angeles to the Hoover Dam site.
Like the Ivanpah project, the Stateline project could impact the desert tortoise.
“Most of the controversy [around Ivanpah] was about the number of desert tortoises that were found in that area,” Briery said. “The desert tortoise will be highly scrutinized in writing the environmental impact statement [EIS],” he said.
The project proposal could include amending the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan based on the site’s suitability for solar development. The effects of the project could also include amending the CDCA Plan and the Las Vegas Resource Management Plan, according to the BLM.
It’s too early to tell when the Stateline proposal will move forward, or even when BLM will issue the Draft EIS, according to BLM Planning & Environmental Coordinator Jeffery Childers, MPA.
“BLM will release the Draft EIS and plan amendment after the scoping period closes and all of the issues have been fully analyzed. It is too early in the process to tie down a date; however, we anticipate a draft release either late this year or early 2012,” Childers said.
Image courtesy of First Solar.