Big Solar and the desert: the draft DRECP is coming!

For years, California has struggled to balance the need to bring more renewable energy online with its environmental and conservation goals. The flashpoint has been large, utility-scale projects like BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah project in the Mojave Desert. The building of “Big Solar” in the desert has not been without a backlash, with conservationists and desert communities raising valid concerns about impacts on the desert tortoise, birds, water use, Native American sites and other issues.

On Tuesday, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird will announce the release of the draft DRECP, or “Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan.” It’s part of a wide effort to shape the future of renewable energy development in the California Desert: how can you protect ecosystems, landscapes and species while supporting the timely development of renewable energy projects?

The DRECP designates zones for renewable energy development and conservation across seven counties that span the Mojave and Colorado/Sonoran deserts: Riverside, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego. Jewell will be in North Palm Springs Tuesday morning for the announcement, which is apparently at 11:30 am. I’ll update this blog post when the actual draft of the DRECP is in hand.

You can also follow Desert Sun reporter Sammy Roth on Twitter: he’s on the scene with Jewell.

Aerial view of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System.

 

 

 

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