Rice Solar Energy Project
Rice Solar Energy, LLC proposes to construct a 150-MW solar-powered electrical generation facility in eastern Riverside County, Calif., approximately 40 miles from Blythe, 65 miles from Needles, and 75 miles from Twentynine Palms. The proposed solar generation facility would be located on the site of a former airfield (Rice Army Airfield) that was used during World War II as a training site, later transferred to private use, and then abandoned sometime between 1955 and 1958.
The proposed Project would use concentrating solar “power tower” technology to capture the sun’s heat to make steam, which would power traditional steam turbine generators. The solar generation facility would contain the power block, a central receiver or tower, solar fields which consist of mirrors or heliostats to reflect the sun’s energy to the central tower, a thermal energy storage system, technical and non-technical buildings, a storm water system, two onsite water wells, water supply and treatment system, a wastewater system, evaporation ponds, and other supporting facilities. These facilities would be situated on 1,410 acres within the project parcel and would be surrounded by a site fence. Other Project components would include a new transmission line, a new electrical substation, and an access road.
RSE has applied to Western to interconnect the proposed Project to Western’s power transmission system and has applied to the Bureau of Land Management for a right-of-way authorization to construct and operate a transmission line that would interconnect the proposed Project to Western’s transmission system. Under California law, the California Energy Commission is responsible for reviewing the Applications for Certification filed for thermal power plants over 50 MW, and also has the role of lead agency for the environmental review of such projects under the California Environmental Quality Act.
Western and the Bureau of Land Management Palm Springs - South Coast Field Office, together with the California Energy Commission, are preparing a joint Environmental Impact Statement/Staff Assessment, which may include an amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan.
Record of Decision issued
Rice Solar Energy Project Record of Decision (632 kb pdf)
Final environmental impact statement available
Rice Solar Energy Project Final Environmental Impact Statement/Plan Amendment (6.2 MB pdf)Staff assessment and draft environmental impact statement available
Staff assessment and draft environmental impact statement (42.5 MB pdf)Scoping meeting materials
Meeting announcement (214 kb pdf)Contact
National Environmental Policy Act Document Manager
Western Area Power Administration
P.O. Box 281213
Lakewood, CO 80228-8213
Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office. BLM
1201 Bird Center Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262