Construction to resume on parts of solar project

Jun 11, 2011
FILE - This Sept. 3, 2008 file photo shows an endangered desert tortoise, sitting in the middle of a road at the proposed location of three BrightSource Energy solar-energy generation complexes in the eastern Mojave Desert near Ivanpah, Calif. A federal agency said Friday June 10, 2011 that construction can resume on a massive Southern California solar energy project after wildlife officials determined it will not jeopardize the threatened desert tortoise. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

(AP) -- Construction can resume on a massive Southern California solar energy project after wildlife officials determined it will not jeopardize the threatened desert tortoise, federal officials said Friday.

The U.S. approved the next phase of construction on the nearly $2 billion Ivanpah project located in eastern San Bernardino County, about five miles from the Nevada border.

In April, federal officials ordered BrightSource Energy Co. to halt construction on two-thirds of the project after a federal assessment showed that more than 3,000 desert tortoises would be disturbed, and up to 700 of the young turtles would be killed during construction.

But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a new assessment, known as a Biological Opinion, for moving the tortoises, as well as new ways to protect them from predators and increased monitoring and fencing.

"This new Biological Opinion allows the project to move forward without jeopardizing the tortoise, taking into account the higher number of animals found," BLM-California Acting State Director Peter Ditton said.

"We worked closely with the throughout the development of this new BO and will continue to work together to monitor construction."

The project, to be built in stages on the 5.6-acre Ivanpah Valley site near Primm, Nev, is slated to have three generating plants including 346,000 billboard-sized mirrors that focus the desert sun on steam turbines. The 100 megawatts operation will produce enough electricity for 140,000 homes.

It's one of about a half-dozen solar projects approved last year for public lands in California and Nevada.

Explore further: Going nuts? Turkey looks to pistachios to heat new eco-city

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Solar showdown in Calif. tortoises' desert home

Jan 02, 2010

(AP) -- On a strip of California's Mojave Desert, two dozen rare tortoises could stand in the way of a sprawling solar-energy complex in a case that highlights mounting tensions between wilderness conservation ...

Calif. solar firm hits desert swarm

Sep 29, 2009

BrightSource Energy has encountered some storm clouds in its quest to bring a solar future to large stretches of the western United States. The Oakland, Calif.,-based developer of solar farms has been forced to scuttle its ...

Desert clash in West over solar potential, water

Apr 19, 2009

(AP) -- A westward dash to power electricity-hungry cities by cashing in on the desert's most abundant resource - sunshine - is clashing with efforts to protect the tiny pupfish and desert tortoise and stinginess ...

Solar plant to be built in Nevada

Feb 10, 2006

Construction of a 300-acre solar power plant, believed to be the largest built anywhere in the world, is expected to begin in Nevada.

Recommended for you

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

Apr 17, 2014

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake

Apr 17, 2014

Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

zevkirsh
not rated yet Jun 11, 2011
throw those tortoises into a patch of oil. teach them a lesson!

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...