05
October
2010
|
02:00 PM
America/New_York

CA solar projects provide important lessons on clean energy development, water and wildlife protection

Interior Department approves first "fast-track" solar power plants

Summary:

  • The Department of the Interior approved plans for two "fast-track" solar power plants in Calif., releasing today a Record of Decision for Tessera Solar's Imperial Valley and Chevron's Lucerne Valley solar projects
  • Defenders of Wildlife and other partners advocated for modifications to the projects to lessen some of the projects’ potential impacts on the environment -- helping to ensure that the projects can move forward
  • Defenders' renewable energy expert Jim Lyons said, "The 'fast-track' process has been a learning experience for all of us, and the lessons we’ve learned here will ultimately lead to better planning, improved siting, and faster turnaround for renewable energy projects in the future"
WASHINGTON (10/05/2010) -

California continues to lead the national effort in developing clean, renewable energy with the Interior Department’s approval of two solar projects today.  

The Interior Department’s release of two Records of Decision for Chevron’s Lucerne Valley and Tessera Solar’s Imperial Valley solar power projects demonstrates the importance of proper siting and mitigation for renewable projects. It also highlights the value of a unique collaboration among project developers, federal and state agencies, and conservation organizations working to produce clean energy in an environmentally-responsible way.

Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Wilderness Society and other partners, advocated for modifications to the projects to ensure their development while lessening some of the projects’ potential impacts on wildlife, natural resources and the environment.

The following is a statement from Jim Lyons, Defenders of Wildlife’s senior director for renewable energy.

“The ‘fast-track’ process has been a learning experience for all of us, and the lessons we’ve learned here will ultimately lead to better planning, improved siting, and faster turnaround for renewable energy projects in the future. To reduce its impact on wildlife and the environment, the Lucerne Solar Project was located on lands of lower habitat quality and near already degraded areas. And the Imperial Valley Solar Project will be developed in phases to lessen its impacts on wildlife, air and water resources. These projects illustrate how renewable energy developers can build our clean energy future in smart and environmentally-responsible ways.  

“We strongly support President Obama’s efforts to promote clean energy and Secretary Salazar’s commitment to ‘environmentally-responsible’ renewable energy development. These projects provide important lessons on how we can move forward with energy solutions that reduce harm to our planet while producing jobs, increasing energy security and improving our economy. Hopefully, the lessons learned will help us avoid repeating the mistakes we’ve made with other types of energy development in the past.”

Background:

Learn more about Defenders' work on renewable energy.

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Links:

Read Tessera Solar’s press release.
Read DOI’s press release.
Learn more about the Lucerne Valley project (PDF).

Contact(s):

James Navarro, (202) 772-0247