Thursday, November 17, 2011

9 day Public Comment period begins on Solar Reserve proposal

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BLM opens comment period on solar project in La Paz County

With the release of the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Quartzsite Solar Energy Project, the public can now comment on the proposed project and the proposed amendment to the Bureau of Land Management Yuma Field Office's Resource Management Plan, which will allow the solar plant to be built on public land in La Paz County.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) announced the release of the draft EIS on Monday, which officially begins a 90-day public comment. The comment period will end on Feb. 10. Two public meetings on the project have also been scheduled.

The first of the public meetings has been scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 13 at the BLM Yuma Field Office, located at 2555 E. Gila Ridge Road. The second public meeting will be from noon to 2 p.m. on Dec. 14 at the Quartzsite Improvement Association Building, which is located at 235 E. Ironwood St.

The public may also submit their comments by mail or by e-mail. Written comments can be sent to: Liana Reilly, NEPA Document Manager, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 281213, Lakewood, CO 80228-8213. Emails may be sent to

The project proposes to construct a 100-megawatt solar-powered electrical generation facility in La Paz County, and requires about 1,675 acres of BLM-administered land. The proposed site is about 10 miles north of Quartzsite and about a mile east of State Route 95.

According to the BLM, the proposed location was chosen because it had the least impact on wildlife. The agency has further stated that the project application is requesting a right of way to construct, maintain and operate the electrical generating facility.

If built, the plant would use concentrating solar “power tower” technology to capture the sun's heat to make steam, which would power traditional steam turbine generators. The solar power facility would include a 653-foot tower, which would be the receiver of energy reflected from solar fields. The solar fields are made up of heliostats, which are a collection of mirrors. Those mirrors would then focus light at the top of a 653-foot tower, heating salt to a molten state, which would in turn heat steam to power a turbine. The project would also include a thermal energy storage system.

In addition to evaluating whether to allow use of the land, the BLM is evaluating a proposal to amend the Yuma Field Office Resource Management Plan, which was adopted in January 2010. The amendment would change the visual resource management class for the proposed site to a category that would allow construction of a tower.

The tower, which is described as “a high contrast to the landscape,” is at the heart of the current proposal. According to BLM, the tower's contrast, the solar glow and the project's proximity to SR 95 required an amendment to the Yuma Resource Management Plan because the area is designated as a Visual Resource Management Class 3 area, which only allows a moderate change to the landscape.

For the tower to be built, the area's designation is being changed to a Class 4 designation, which allows for a high change to the landscape.

Information from comments, including addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, may be made public at any time. The BLM and WAPA have said they cannot guarantee that requests for withholding information will be honored.

Information on the project and a link to the draft EIS is available on the BLM Arizona web site at

Information on the BLM's role with the project is available from Eddie Arreola, Supervisory Project Manager, (602) 417-9505 or

James Gilbert can be reached at or 539-6854.


  1. This looks like a really big project. Adding a large solar project to a states electricity supply is forward thinking and deserves to be allowed to be commissioned.

  2. Good way of posting dear. it's really nice post. Thanks for sharing it dear.

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