457MW California Solar Project Reaches Full Power

457MW California Solar Project Reaches Full Power
The Palen Solar Project is a 457-megawatt photovoltaic facility in Riverside County, California.

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced this week that the Palen Solar Project - a 457-megawatt photovoltaic facility in Riverside County, California - has reached full power operation.

The project will supply enough energy to power approximately 116,000 homes, according to the DOI, which added that the development “represents another major step forward in the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to lower costs for families and create a clean energy, carbon-free future”.

Back in 2018, EDF Renewable Energy received authorization from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to construct the solar photovoltaic facility and an approximately seven-mile single circuit 230-kilovolt generation interconnection transmission line. Palen was completed in five phases starting in December 2020, the DOI highlighted.

The Palen Solar Project is in an area analyzed and identified as suitable for renewable energy development as part of the BLM’s Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Land Use Plan Amendment, the DOI outlined. The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) is a landscape-level plan focused on 10.8 million acres of public lands in the desert regions of seven California counties that streamlines renewable energy development while conserving unique and valuable desert ecosystems and providing outdoor recreation opportunities, the DOI noted.

“Bringing another solar project to full operation on our public lands will accelerate our nation’s transition to a clean energy economy by unlocking renewable resources, creating jobs, lowering costs, and boosting local economies,” Secretary Deb Haaland said in a DOI statement.

“The Interior Department will continue to advance the sustainable development of clean energy in order to help meet the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035,” Haaland added.

Laura Daniel-Davis, the principal deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management, said, “the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan represents an unprecedented partnership that balances our country’s equally important goals of facilitating renewable energy while ensuring that lands in California’s deserts are set aside for conservation and recreation”.

“As with all the Department’s clean energy projects, the Bureau of Land Management has seen this project through to completion with extensive engagement with Tribal governments, local communities, state regulators, industry and other federal agencies,” Daniel-Davis added.

The DOI outlined that the latest Palen development follows several recent renewable energy and conservation approvals via the DRECP. These include construction of the Oberon, Arica and Victory Pass solar projects near Desert Center in eastern Riverside County, the DOI highlighted.

The BLM issued the final approval for construction of the Oberon solar project on about 2,600 acres of BLM-managed land last month. The project will generate up to 500 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to power approximately 146,000 homes, and includes 500 megawatts of battery storage, the BLM noted in July.

In June, the DOI announced that it had issued final approval for construction of the Arica and Victory Pass solar projects. The notice to proceed, issued by the BLM Palm Springs South Coast Field Office, authorized Clearway Energy Group LLC to begin full construction of the 265-megawatt Arica Solar Project and 200-megawatt Victory Pass Solar Project, the DOI stated.

According to BP’s latest statistical review of world energy, the U.S. had the second highest solar energy generation figure in 2021, standing at 165.4 terawatt hours. This marked a 25.6 percent year on year increase, BP highlighted.

BP’s report showed that China had the highest solar energy generation figure in 2021 - at 327 terawatt hours. This figure also grew by 25.6 percent year on year, BP revealed.

To contact the author, email andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com


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