Imperial Valley Solar

The Imperial Valley Solar site.
Photo by Argonne National Laboratory
The Imperial Valley Solar application was approved in the California Desert in October 2010. If constructed, the project would produce 709 megawatts of solar energy.

Proposed by K-Road Power, Imperial Valley Solar would produce enough energy to power over 200,000 homes if it is constructed. The Wilderness Society worked to improve the proposal through the permitting process, and supported BLM’s approval because it limited environmental impacts and will produce renewable energy if constructed.

Limiting impacts to wildlands and wildlife habitat

Imperial Valley Solar was proposed for 6,360 acres of BLM land west of El Centro, CA.  The project site is located in an area with no conflicts with designated critical habitat for endangered species and wilderness quality lands.  During the permitting process, the project was reduced in size to avoid sensitive desert washes, and the developer is required to off-set some potential impacts as described below. 

Producing clean solar energy

If constructed, Imperial Valley Solar will produce up to 709 megawatts of solar energy, enough to power over 200,000 homes.  Originally proposed to use sterling dish engines, the project is now planned for photovoltaic panels.  We expect the BLM will conduct additional environmental review because of this change, and intend to participate in that process.

Engaging with the BLM and the project developer

The Wilderness Society was actively involved in the permitting process for Imperial Valley Solar and will be going forward.  Working with our conservation partners, the BLM and the project developer, we closely reviewed the proposed project and gained some improvements, including a reduction in size to avoid sensitive desert washes.  The BLM permit also requires the developer to offset impacts from the project, including by permanently protecting 6,600 acres of flat-tail horned habitat off-site through conservation easement.

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