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Market News

 January 11, 2012
DOI Approves Renewable Projects in Calif., Ore.

 The Department of the Interior (DOI) on Thursday approved a 275-MW solar plant in California and a 104-MW wind farm in Oregon that will be built on private lands and use power lines that cross public lands to connect to their respective grids. The projects are the 26th and 27th renewable projects approved by the DOI in the past two years.

In California, the 275-MW Centinela Solar Energy Project will connect via a 230-kV transmission line to the existing San Diego Gas & Electric Imperial Valley Substation. The solar plant will be located on 2,067 acres near El Centro, Calif. The DOI approved the right-of-way for 19 acres for the power line on public land, and Imperial County gave a green light to the solar power plant on Dec. 27, 2011.

In Oregon, the North Steens Transmission Line Project is a 44-mile, 230-kV power line that will carry power from a proposed wind power project on the north side of Steens Mountain in Harney County to Harney Electric Cooperative's existing transmission grid.

Both the projects approved "underwent extensive environmental review and reflect strong efforts to mitigate potential environmental impacts, such as requiring funding for the acquisition of 80 acres of additional habitat for the flat-tailed horned lizard in California, and requirements that minimize audio and visual impacts from the Oregon project," the DOI said.

"Land stewardship is an important part of any energy project, including renewables," said Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey, whose agency worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state and local agencies, members of the environmental and conservation communities, interested stakeholders, and the companies to minimize the projects' potential impacts on resources. "We use these lands now, but it is also important to make decisions that help ensure future generations get to use and benefit from these resources just as we do."