The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Palen Solar Power Plant project in Riverside County, California.

 Palen Solar I, LLC (Palen), a wholly owned subsidiary of Solar Millennium, Inc., has requested a right-of-way authorization to construct and operate the proposed project on approximately 5,200 acres of public lands 10 miles east of Desert Center. The proposed project would construct a 500-megawatt concentrating solar energy generating facility, as well as a transmission line and associated facilities. The project would connect to the planned Red Bluff substation, which would connect the project to the Southern California Edison regional transmission grid.

The BLM’s preferred alternative in the FEIS is a modified footprint alternative that includes an optional 240 acres of private land at the south end of the project. The preferred alternative would also include an amendment to the California Desert Conservation Plan. The FEIS analyzes three action alternatives, a no-action alternative and two no-project alternatives that would amend the CDCA Plan. If approved, construction would begin in late 2010.

The FEIS/Proposed CDCA Plan Amendment analyzes the site-specific impacts on air, soil, water, cultural and biological resources as well as land use, noise, visual resources and impacts on Joshua Tree National Park.

Publication of the FEIS and proposed plan amendment initiates a 30-day comment period on the FEIS and a 30-day protest period on the proposed plan amendment. Details on filing a protest can be found in the Federal Register Notice and in the FEIS, both of which are available on the project website.