At 1:30pm Tuesday, Inyo Planning officials expected to show the Board of Supervisors and the public a revised Draft Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment that would be the basis of an EIR. This document is the result of heavily attended public hearings and strong statements from up to 100 people. The general sentiment was too many large-scale solar and wind development sites and too much potential for environmental and visual damage. The new plan reduces proposed development sites from 14 to 7. The new plan does include the possibility of solar development where DWP wants to build across from Manzanar, but it is not listed as an official development site.
The County’s draft plan says no wind development in the County, and it says that development will be limited to transmission line capacity of 250 megawatts. The proposed development sites include Laws, Owens Lake, Rose Valley, Pearsonville, Trona, Charleston View and Sandy Valley. Planners have set megawatt caps on each area but noted that there is a general 250 megawatt cap overall due to the available capacity in transmission lines.
Potential criteria for solar energy siting in the Owens Valley include only utilizing existing transmission facilities; guiding development to disturbed lands, including over the Los Angeles Aqueduct; considering development at solid waste and wastewater treatment facilities, on private lands, in small-scale and distributed generation arrays of 20 megawatts or less, and around communities in smaller arrays. Planners also suggest mitigation of potential impacts to the environment, society, culture and economy of the County as well as working to avoid significant alterations to visual resources.
Planners have proposed a schedule of public meetings and an environmental review process that will lead to a final Programmatic Environmental Impact Report for the General Plan Amendment. The Board of Supervisors final consideration public hearing would take place in the fall or winter.