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U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar has announced the approval of three major renewable energy projects that, when built, are expected to deliver 1.1 GW to the grid.

The McCoy Solar Energy Project, located about 13 miles northwest of Blythe, Calif., was proposed by McCoy Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC. According to the DOI, the 750 MW facility is slated to become one of the largest solar projects in the world and encompass about 7,700 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-managed lands and 477 acres of private lands.

When the solar farm is operational, a 12.5-mile generation transmission line will connect the project to Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Colorado River Substation.

The Desert Harvest Solar Farm, proposed by EDF Renewable Energy (formerly enXco) on a site six miles north of Desert Center, Calif., is planned to encompass about 1,208 acres of BLM-managed lands. The 150 MW project also includes an on-site substation and a 230 kV line to the Red Bluff Substation, which will connect the project to the SCE regional transmission grid.

The Searchlight Wind Energy Project will be built on 18,949 acres of federally managed land near Searchlight, Nev., 60 miles southeast of Las Vegas. The permanent footprint of the 200 MW project will be approximately 160 acres. The Western Area Power Administration is proposing to construct, operate and maintain a new switching station to connect the project to the existing power grid.

“These renewable energy projects reflect the Obama Administration's commitment to expand domestic energy production on our public lands and diversify our nation's energy portfolio,” says Salazar. “In just over four years, we have advanced 37 wind, solar and geothermal projects on our public lands - or enough to power more than 3.8 million American homes. These projects are bolstering rural economies by generating good jobs and reliable power and strengthening our national energy security.”

Additionally, the BLM has identified 23 active renewable energy proposals slated for review this year and next, including 14 solar facilities, six wind farms and three geothermal plants.



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