BLM wants your input on Socorro Solar Energy Project! Let’s participate

By Oliver Townsend Jul 3, 2024
BLM Seeks Public Input on Proposed Socorro Solar Energy Project in La Paz County.pngOrginal image from: https://solarquarter.com/2024/07/03/blm-seeks-public-input-on-proposed-socorro-solar-energy-project-in-la-paz-county/

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public input for the proposed Socorro Solar Energy project in southeastern La Paz County. This project, put forth by EDF Renewables in October 2021, aims to generate up to 350 MW of solar energy along with battery energy storage. The BLM Arizona State Office has determined it appropriate to move forward with the project after a solar variance review process.

Public Input for Development

The next step in the process involves public concurrence on the State Director’s Socorro Solar Project Variance Determination. This will allow the BLM to proceed with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, including public scoping and preparing an environmental assessment or impact statement. The public scoping period began on July 1 and will span 38 days, seeking input on alternatives, environmental analyses, and resource protection measures.

Project Details and Environmental Assessment

The Socorro Solar Project will occupy 3,066 acres within a 6,000-acre site designated as a Renewable Energy Development Area. The project aims to deliver clean electricity via the Ten West Link 500 kV bulk transmission line. The environmental assessment will evaluate potential impacts on areas like Native American religious sites, endangered species, socioeconomic effects, and environmental justice. It will also suggest mitigation measures to reduce environmental impact.

Importance of Public Engagement

Engaging the public in large-scale solar energy projects is crucial for success. By involving stakeholders during the scoping phase, the BLM can develop a range of alternatives for analysis. William Mack, Colorado River District Manager, invites federal, state, tribal, local partners, stakeholders, and the public to participate in scoping. The United States aims to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035, making projects like Socorro Solar pivotal in reaching that goal.

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