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Rice Solar Project Tests the Definition of Wilderness

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At face value, the Rice Solar power project seems much less harmful compared to other solar projects approved by the California Energy Commission (CEC), including the destructive Ivanpah, Calico or Imperial Solar projects.  The project is proposed for about 2.5 square miles of mostly privately owned land with low quality desert habitat.  The project could result in the death or displacement of approximately 7 desert tortoises,  a smaller impact compared to the 40 desert tortoises already found at the Ivanpah Solar project site.


If it receives final approval, however, the project's small 2.5 square mile footprint will host a giant tower rising 653 feet above the ground, that could project glare comparable to half the brightness of the sun, according to CEC analysis.  The tower and its glare will be visible from 737 square miles surrounding the project.   The project will be visible from four separate wilderness areas.

The Presiding Member's Proposed Decision -- which is the seco…

Review of Riverside County Solar Projects in Initial Stages

The California Energy Commission (CEC) invited the public to view three proposed solar energy sites near Blythe, California.  The three projects include:
1.) Rice Solar Power Project (Solar Reserve LLC asking for approximately 1,370 acres)
2.) Palen Solar Power Project (Solar Millenium asking for 5,200 acres)
3.) Blythe Solar Power Project (Solar Millenium asking for 9,400 acres)

It appears that Palen and Blythe will be the largest plants in terms of energy output (which usually equates to larger footprint in the desert, as well), and all three projects would utilize dry-cooling technology, reducing the amount of water taken from local aquifers.

If you want to follow the proceedings of each CEC review process you can clink on either three of the links above and sign up for the corresponding list-serve, or you can check back here for updates as I plan to keep track of the processes myself.  You can read this posting from November for background on the CEC process as it applied to a sep…