Showing posts with the label Ridgecrest

Ridgecrest Solar Project: Alternative Site Consideration Highlights Policy Deficiency

Solar Millenium's proposed Ridgecrest Solar Project considered alternative sites near Boron and California City that may have less overall impact on the Mojave Desert's biological resources since they are closer to industrialized or built-up areas, but determined that the acreage was insufficient or that it could not amass enough acreage due to the company's own arbitrary preference in land acquisition and unspecified guidance from the California Energy Commission (CEC) guidelines.  Data submitted by Solar Millenium indicates that the company's alternative site consideration seems shallow and suggests the company is not serious about smart site location.  Sadly, for reasons previously mentioned on this blog, the CEC seems content to move forward with consideration of the company's proposed site, even though it is home to special status wildlife, instead of devoting more serious investigation to the alternative sites.  Here is the response from Solar Millenium,

Ridgecrest Solar Site: Ivanpah of the West Mojave?

Preliminary surveys of the proposed site for the Ridgecrest Solar Power Project in the western Mojave Desert indicate it is currently home to several sensitive species, even though it is not far from the outskirts of Ridgecrest.   The proposed facility would disturb roughly 2,000 acres, and would be situated on a site already crossed by some dirt roads, and adjacent to Highway 395.  During surveys in 2009,  however, biologists spotted approximately 50 desert tortoise , including 40 in the proposed disturbance area, and four active Kit fox burrows were also found.  An active burrow for an American Badger was discovered within the project buffer zone, and four primary burrows for the Western burrowing owl were found within the proposed disturbance area. Although the endangered Mojave ground squirrel was not spotted during the surveys, biologists judged that there is a high likelihood that the squirrels occur on the site because of high quality habitat in the area, and the existence of