Thursday, July 10, 2014

EIR (Environmental Impact Report) is Under Way for Thousands of Future Solar Acres of Land in Lancaster and Los Angeles County

The Lancaster City officials recently authorized an environmental impact report on a proposal to install solar panels on 1,350 to 1,500 acres in west Lancaster. The Sustainable Power Group (sPower) (formerly Silverado Power, LLC) has filed a conditional use permit (CUP 14-10) for the development of 250 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic solar Power on approximately 1,500 acres. Due to the size of the proposed project, the preparation of an EIR is required as part of the approval process. Lancaster Planning Dept. on May 27, 2014 had a request for proposals (RFP) for the preparation of an EIR for the proposed project was sent out for consideration to 12 environmental consulting firms. Seven proposals were submitted to the City by the deadline of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Staff and the developer have reviewed the consultant proposals, and staff is recommending that the City retain the services of Stantec to prepare the EIR. Stantec will prepare the environmental impact report at a cost of more than $246,000. The cost would be paid by the Sustainable Power Group, which also would be required to pay a $25,000 deposit to cover city administrative costs. A recent article by the AV Press indicated that the 250-megawatt project is the largest ever proposed within city limits, though other larger solar plants have been approved elsewhere in the Antelope Valley. The planned solar area is generally bounded by 80th and 105th streets west, Columbia Way (Avenue M) and Avenue K-4. Just last month sPower Group received approval from Los Angeles County planners for six solar power fields proposed to cover nearly 1,000 acres around Antelope Acres and west of Lancaster. This 1500 acre Lancaster Solar Project is similar to the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One which was approved for 230 megawatts on 2,100 acres at Avenue D and 170th Street West. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett's has a 579-megawatt Solar Star development is 3,230 acres straddling the Kern County-Los Angeles County line between 110th and 190th streets west. The Silverado Power/Sustainable Power Group projects approved last month by the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission are proposed on Avenue B east of 110th Street West (20 megawatts, 240 acres), Avenue K west of 110th Street West (40 megawatts, 157 acres), Avenue G west of 70th Street West (35 megawatts, 135 acres), Avenue I west of 112th Street West (20 megawatts, 160 acres), Avenue D at 35th Street West (5 megawatts, 38 acres), and between avenues J to H-8 between 85th and 97th streets west (52 megawatts, 256 acres). In giving their approval, county planners attached a condition to the project at Avenue J and 85th Street West that requires the developer to provide an air filtration system for the adjacent Summerhaven Ranch All-Nations Retreat Center prior to construction. A condition was added to the project on Avenue K west of 110th Street West that requires the developer to dedicate one-third of the site as permanent open space. The Antelope Valley is quickly becoming the Solar Capital of the US. This bodes well for land owners on Lancaster’s West side. Buy land and wait still holds true in Los Angeles County.

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