What impact would a million solar panel array have on the Owens Valley? The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has proposed such a plan. They call it the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch Project. The Draft Environmental Impact Report is out with information about possible impacts.
DWP mailed a notice to local residents and groups to say their DEIR is available at libraries in Bishop, Big Pine, Independence and Lone Pine, plus DWP headquarters in Bishop. The DEIR is also available online at www.ladwp.com/envnotices. The public comment period is open and ends October 18th.
The project would go up on around 1200 acres six miles southeast of Independence and four miles east of Highway 395 opposite the Manzanar Historic Site. DWP says their project would generate 200 megawatts of power which would go into the grid from a transmission line already located near the project site. DWP went on to say that the project would produce about 440 gigawatt hours of renewable energy annually. This would power around 75,000 households, according to DWP. The project would allow LADWP to meet its State-required renewable energy goals.
According to the notice mailed to residents, the proposed project would include the solar panel arrays, supporting electrical equipment, on-site electrical collection cabling, an on-site electrical substation, a maintenance building, and improvement of part of Manzanar Reward Road plus other roadways.
DWP’s notice does say that the project “may result in significant environmental impacts to air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, hydrology and water quality.” The notice goes on to say that best management practices and mitigation measures would mean less than significant impacts. The public can comment through October 18th. Public meetings will be held at 6pm at Statham Hall in Lone Pine September 24th and the Methodist Church in Bishop September 25th.