BLM Concentrating on Renewable Energy Projects That Could Meet Stimulus Funding Deadline

bob abbey 240x300 BLM Concentrating on Renewable Energy Projects That Could Meet Stimulus Funding Deadline

Director Bob Abbey

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According to the Press Release, “With the December 2010 deadline for obtaining incentive funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act only a year off, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Bob Abbey today reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to helping the nation reach its “green energy future” by guaranteeing full environmental analysis and public review for the 31 renewable energy projects that have met the required milestones to remain on the fast-track list for expedited processing.
Abbey said that this first wave of projects (14 solar, 7 wind, 3 geothermal, and 7 transmission) range in scale from as small as 24 megawatts up to 986 megawatts, large enough to supply power to 900,000 homes. Technologies vary, as does acreage involved, but he said “they represent the first generation of large-scale renewable energy projects to be carefully sited on public lands over the next several years.”

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“The BLM is committed to helping diversify this country’s energy portfolio in an environmentally responsible manner,” Abbey said.

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Fast-track projects are those where the companies involved have demonstrated to the BLM that they have made sufficient progress to formally start the environmental review and public participation process. These projects are advanced enough in the permitting process that they could potentially be cleared for approval by December 2010, thus making them eligible for economic stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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“The fast-track process is about focusing our staff and resources on the most promising renewable energy projects,” said Abbey, “not about cutting corners, especially when it comes to environmental analyses or opportunities for public participation.” All renewable energy projects proposed for BLM-managed lands will receive the full environmental review required by the National Environmental Protection Act and will include the same opportunities for public involvement required for all other land-use decision making by the BLM.

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To help focus the BLM’s resources on the processing of wind, solar and geothermal energy applications and electrical transmission facilities on the public lands, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar called for the BLM to establish a network of Renewable Energy Coordination Offices that would include appropriate multi-disciplinary BLM staff and resources from other Federal and State agencies to assist in the processing of applications. So far, the BLM has established Renewable Energy Coordination Offices in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Wyoming, where the majority of the existing workload for renewable energy applications and projects is currently located.

The BLM has also identified nearly 23 million acres of public land with solar energy potential in six southwestern states and more than 20 million acres of public land with wind energy potential in 11 western states. It has completed programmatic environmental impact studies for wind and geothermal development and is working on a programmatic environmental impact study (PEIS) for solar development. The Solar PEIS has preliminarily identified 24 Solar Energy Study Areas on BLM-administered land located in six western states. The BLM would fully evaluate these solar energy study areas for their environmental and resource suitability for large-scale solar energy production. The objective is to provide landscape-scale planning and zoning for solar projects on BLM lands in the West, allowing a more efficient process for permitting and siting responsible solar development.

“Diversifying our energy supply does not mean that we will neglect the responsible development of the oil and gas resources on the public lands,” added Director Abbey. Since January 21, 2009, the BLM has held 35 oil and gas lease sales offering 2.7 million acres across the West. The 1,312 leases that sold generated over $136 million in revenue for American taxpayers.

The BLM manages more land – 253 million acres – than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.”

Source: Press Release – Bureau of Land Management
Solar Energy Projects

State County Project Name Potential Output* Acreage Status of Notice of Intent
AZ Maricopa NextEra (Boulevard), Sonoran Solar Project 375 MW 4,000 Published July 8, 2009
CA Imperial Stirling Solar, Solar Two 750 MW 6,140 on BLM, additional 360 on private land Published October 17, 2008
CA San Bernardino BrightSource, Ivanpah SEGS 400 MW 4,073 Published November 6, 2007. Draft EIS published November 10, 2009
CA Riverside

OptiSolar (First Solar), Desert Sunlight

550 MW 7,040 Pending
CA Riverside Solar Millennium, Chevron 1 (Blythe) 986 MW 6300 in 9,560 Right of Way Published November 23, 2009
CA Riverside
Solar Millennium, Chevron 2 (Palen)
484 MW 3,800 in 5,176 Right of Way Published November 23, 2009
CA Kern Solar Millennium, Ridgecrest 745 MW 1,760 in 3,920 Right of Way Published November 23, 2009
CA San Bernardino SES (Stirling) Solar One 850 MW 8,230 Published June 8, 2009
CA Riverside Nextera Genesis, Ford Dry Lake 250 MW 4,640 Published November 23, 2009
CA San Bernardino Chevron, Lucerne Valley Solar Project 60 MW 516 Published July 23, 2009
NV Clark NextLight, Silver State South 267 MW 7,840 for South and North Published June 30, 2009
NV Clark NextLight, Silver State North 140 MW See above Published June 30, 2009
NV Nye Tonopah Solar (Solar Reserve), Crescent Dunes 180 MW 1,600 Published November 24, 2009
NV Nye Solar Millenium, Amargosa Farm Road 484 MW 4,350 Published July 13, 2009

* Potential output may change depending on the analysis and review of each project.
Wind Energy Projects

State County Project Name Potential Output* Acreage Status of Notice of Intent
CA San Diego Iberdrola, Tule Wind Project 200 MW 15,493 Published December 29, 2009
CA San Bernardino AES, Daggett Ridge 82.5 MW 1,577 on BLM and 380 on private land Published November 23, 2009
CA San Bernardino Granite Wind, Granite Mountain Up to 74  MW 1,968 Published December 6, 2007
NV Clark Duke Energy, Searchlight 200 MW 24,382 Published December 16, 2008
NV White Pine Spring Valley Wind, Spring Valley 150 MW 8,320 Pending
OR Crook and Deschutes West Butte Wind Power, West Butte 60 MW Private land Pending
WY Albany Shell Wind Energy, Sand Hills Ranch 50 MW 1,835 Pending

* Potential output may change depending on the analysis and review of each project.
Geothermal Energy Projects

State County Project Name Potential Output* Acreage Status of Notice of Intent
NV Humboldt Blue Mountain Geothermal Power Plant and transmission line 45MW and 120 kV 5,262 on BLM and 5,732 on private land Project in operation
NV Lander Ormat, Jersey Valley 24 MW 7,460 on BLM, 220 on private land Pending
NV Pershing and Lander Ormat, McGuinness Hills 30 MW 7,190 on BLM only Pending

* Potential output may change depending on the analysis and review of each project.
Energy Transmission Projects

State County Project Name Voltage Total Miles BLM Miles Status of Notice of Intent
CA Los Angeles and Kern Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Barren-Ridge 230 kV 75 4 Published April 8, 2009
CA Riverside Southern CA Edison, Devers-Palo Verde II 500 kV 169 58 Published December 7, 2005
ID Caribou Lower Valley Energy, (New Name: Hooper Springs) 115 kV 20 3 Pending
ID Oyyhee Idaho Power, Hemingway-Butte 500 kV 1 1 Right of Way grant issued June 4, 2009
ID Bingham and Bonneville County BPA, Palisades-Goshen 230 kV 52 1.7 Right of Way grant issued July 14, 2009
ID Numerous NV and ID Counties LS Power, Southwest Intertie Project 500 kV 523 447 Notices to Proceed issued (South Portion)
NV White Pine NV Energy, One Nevada Line (ON Line) 500 kV 236 236 Published July 29, 2009. Draft EIS published November 20, 2009.

Source: Press Release – Bureau of Land Management