By Kari Williamson
The solar and wind projects will be built on private lands and will use power lines that cross public lands to connect to their respective power grids.
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 2067 acres of previously disturbed private land near El Centro, California.
Interior 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 27 December, 2011. The solar installation is expected to support at least 367 jobs and generate more than US$30 million in tax revenue over the life of the project.
In Oregon, the 44-mil, 230 kV North Steens Transmission Line Project will carry power from a proposed wind farm on the north side of Steens Mountain in Harney County to Harney Electric Cooperative’s existing electrical transmission grid.
The 104 MW wind farm, proposed on private land near Diamond, Oregon, could support 235 jobs and generate US$4.5m in local tax revenue of the life of the project.
“Today’s projects are the 26th and 27th renewable energy projects that Interior has advanced in just the last two years,” says Secretary Ken Salazar. “As we continue to move thoughtfully and quickly toward a clean energy future, these projects are strengthening local economies by generating good jobs and reliable power.”