Imperial County Board of Supervisors Approves World's Largest Solar PV Farm, 600MW, by 8minutenergy Renewables With Support From Sierra Club and Leading Environmentalists
- Investment in Local Labor and Collaboration with Sierra Club to Protect Biological Resources Sets Standard for Cooperation on Common Goals -
Folsom, CA April 04, 2012
8minutenergy Renewables, LLC, a leading independent solar PV developer based in California, today announced that the Imperial County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved its utility-scale solar PV projects underway in the Imperial Valley. The approval received support from the Sierra Club, Audubon California, Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
8minutenergy's solar generation plant, currently the largest in the world, will be built in three phases and produce a total of up to 600 megawatts (MW) of clean, renewable solar power to provide electricity for over 200,000 households in California. The solar PV projects will displace the equivalent of approximately 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year of a coal plant, which is equal to the amount that roughly 67 million trees would displace annually. These environmental benefits sync with the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign,' which strives to shift our nation's power resources away from burning coal to more natural, renewable energy sources.
8minutenergy worked closely with the Sierra Club to ensure the development of solar power projects that will provide low cost, clean renewable energy from the sun with low biological impacts particularly when compared with public lands projects on pristine desert wildlands. This unique collaboration includes a significant investment by 8minutenergy to jointly create a stewardship and education program – beyond what is required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) – to protect and enhance threatened species in the area. In the Imperial Valley, the program will safeguard the habitat of the borrowing owl - a species of special concern - and enable it to continue to blossom and thrive in the region.
"We are delighted that from the beginning 8minutenergy has considered potential environmental impacts when siting their projects," said Bill Corcoran, Western Regional Director of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. "By working with the Sierra Club and the rest of the environmental community to provide additional stewardship for the burrowing owl they have demonstrated that they will go the extra mile."
"We appreciate the approval of our solar projects by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors, and are proud to work proactively with the Sierra Club to protect and enhance biological resources in the Imperial Valley," said Tom Buttgenbach, president of 8minutenergy Renewables. "This is a strong example of how solar energy developers can work proactively and collaboratively with the local community and government, as well as with environmental and labor leaders to create a win-win-win for everyone involved."
"Today we're also announcing a substantial investment of over $25 million dollars in Imperial County's public benefit program, again going beyond the requirements of CEQA. The Imperial Valley is home to many of our projects, so it is important to be good contributing citizens to the Valley," said Martin Hermann, chief executive officer of 8minutenergy Renewables, which has over 2,000 MW on private, disturbed land under development for renewable solar projects in California. "Our investment in local jobs and protecting the environment in the area exemplify our commitment to going above and beyond to support the local community."
This investment into the local community will enhance the use of the Imperial Valley's agricultural resources and support a variety of community programs focused on education, careers and economic development from large scale solar power plant operations. The three phases of 8minutenergy's solar project will ultimately create almost 700 construction jobs (direct and indirect) over a period of three years, as well as nearly 100 permanent, well-paying jobs (direct and indirect) in an area with high unemployment, and produce renewable energy that will help the state meet its 33 percent RPS mandate.
The specific 8minutenergy solar PV project phases approved by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors, with the support of the Sierra Club, Audubon California, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, include:
Mount Signal Solar Farm
The Mount Signal Solar project is a large, 200 MW utility-scale solar generation facility sited on roughly 1,400 of low-value farmland in the Imperial Valley, Calif. The project will create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs in Imperial County, Calif. during the 18-month construction period. Slated to begin delivery in mid-2013, it will produce enough renewable solar energy to serve approximately 70,000 households in SDG&E's service territory.
Calexico Solar Farms I & II
Calexico Solar Farms I & II are two large utility-scale PV power plants that will produce 200 MW each of clean, safe, reliable electricity for approximately 140,000 households by 2014. The two solar projects will occupy a total of roughly 2,800 acres of private, disturbed, low-value farmland in the Imperial Valley, Calif. They will generate jobs and contribute millions of dollars in related benefits to the local economy.
About 8minutenergy Renewables, LLC
8minutenergy is a California-based company that is passionate about helping California develop its renewable energy industry and is developing more than 2,000 MW of utility-scale solar projects all located on private, disturbed and low-value farm land within California. 8minutenergy's development team is the largest focused on utility-scale solar PV in California and the United States. In concert with our partners, 8minutenergy delivers complete solar power plant solutions, including all aspects of development, financing, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance. 8minutenergy's proprietary transmission, land and economic analysis process and tools helps select optimal power plant sites for accelerated permitting with counties and utilities. 8minutenergy has offices in Folsom, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and El Centro, California. For more information, please call (916) 608-9060, send email to email@example.com or visit http://www.8minutenergy.com.