US greenlights 485MW Blythe Solar project in California

The US Department of the Interior (DOI) has approved the 485MW Blythe Mesa PV project that will supply electricity for more than 145,000 homes in Riverside County, California.

While developer Renewable Resources Group will build the project on private land, approval by DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was necessary because a planned 230kV transmission line from the project must cross public lands to connect to the grid owned by Southern California Edison.

In May, Riverside County approved the project, which will utilize single-axis trackers. It has support from a coalition of environmental organizations that include Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Audubon California, The Wilderness Society and Natural Resources Defense Council.

DOI did not say when construction will begin. 

“The Obama administration is committed to expanding responsible domestic energy production on our public lands as we diversify our nation’s energy portfolio and transition to a cleaner energy future,” says Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

Blythe Mesa is the 57th utility-scale project – 34 solar, 12 geothermal and 11 wind - authorized by DOI since 2009. They represent nearly $40bn in potential capital investments, according to DOI. Thirteen of the projects are in commercial operation.