Approval by Imperial County officials means work can begin on what will be the world’s largest solar farm.
The project will produce enough electricity to power more than 200,000 households and create about 700 construction jobs.
Conservation groups say they support it because it isn’t being built on environmentally sensitive public lands. Kim Delfino, California program director for Defenders of Wildlife, says the project is a great example of the “right way” to develop solar energy.
Listen to Defenders’ Kim Delfino on California News Service radio.
“There’s a lot of land out there. They don’t need to be going into these more intact, pristine areas. We think that, with good planning and good information, they can choose good, low-impact sites.”
Delfino calls the proposed California-based Calico solar project near Barstow an example of the “wrong way” to develop solar. She says the project fails to meet basic environmental-protection requirements and threatens fragile wildlife.
The Calico project covers more than 4,000 acres of vital wildlife habitat in the Mojave Desert’s Pisgah Valley, she says, and is located on key habitat for the desert tortoise.
“Despite the fact that we have been meeting with the developer of this site for the last three years, urging them to move the project because of the conflicts with wildlife, they’ve chosen to move ahead.”
Defenders of Wildlife, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club are filing a federal lawsuit in an attempt to stop the Calico project.