U.S. Department of Energy

    Interior Approves Transmission for California Solar Project

    August 31, 2011

    Photo of a row of metal towers with wires strung across them.

    Transmission lines approved by the Department of Interior will cross public lands to link a California solar project to the energy grid.
    Credit: Dennis Schroeder, NREL

    The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced on August 25 approval for construction of a transmission line that will be located on public lands and will connect a 250-megawatt solar power project to the energy grid in California. The aboveground 230-kilovolt line will bring power from the Imperial Solar Energy Center West Project, located on private, fallowed farmlands in Imperial County. The new line, to be located on 65 acres of DOI-managed land, will deliver power to more than 75,000 homes. Proposed by CSOLAR Development, LLC, the transmission project is expected to create up to 285 jobs during construction.

    Because the transmission line will cross both private land and a federal right-of-way, it could not proceed without DOI approval and the environmental impact report/environmental assessment (EIR/EA) had to consider the impacts of the entire generation and transmission project. The proposal received extensive environmental review and mitigation measures, with the EIR/EA issued on July 28. DOI's Bureau of Land Management also worked with American Indian communities, the DOI's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other stakeholders to minimize and compensate for potential adverse impacts. See the DOI press release and the record of decisionPDF.