Construction of Two Solar Projects of 465 MW Capacity in California Approved

The projects will have 400 MW of battery energy storage


The U.S. Department of Interior‘s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved two solar projects with a cumulative capacity of 465 MW being developed by Clearway Energy near Desert Center in eastern Riverside County, California.

Clearway Energy has started constructing the 265 MW Arica solar project and the 200 MW Victory Pass solar project. The projects will have 400 MW of battery energy storage (BESS).

The approval issued for the two projects is said to support the Biden administration’s efforts to modernize power infrastructure in the West and permit at least 25 GW of solar, wind, and geothermal production on public lands in the next three years.

In a recent statement, BLM declared that the two projects would be executed with a combined infrastructure investment of $689 million to generate $5.9 million in annual economic benefit.

The Arica and Victory Pass solar projects would provide electricity to 132,000 households.

Arica and Victory Pass projects are the first two clean projects considered suitable by the BLM for renewable energy development under the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP).

BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning, observed, “The BLM is committed to making significant contributions to the nation’s renewable energy portfolio and has approved more than 120 renewable energy projects on public land generating more than 12,000 megawatts.”

Over 245 million acres of public lands, primarily in 12 western states of the U.S. are managed by the BLM. The agency currently processes 67 utility-scale onshore clean energy projects on such lands, including interconnect gen-tie lines crucial to clean projects proposed on non-federal lands.

The solar, geothermal, and wind projects have the potential to add more than 41,733 MW of clean energy to the western electric grid.

The Biden-Harris administration has recently taken measures to strengthen America’s transmission lines and the power grid.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a Request for Information to collect public input on the $2.5 billion Transmission Facilitation Program structure.

The U.S. government is also making significant efforts to ramp up solar installation in the country, which fell year-over-year by 243% to 3.9 GW in the first quarter of 2022, compared to 5  GW installed in Q1 2021. However, solar accounted for 50% of all new electricity-generating capacity added to the US grid in the first quarter of 2022.