The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on May 20 issued for public comment a draft environmental assessment for the Mesa Wind Repower Project, which would replace 460 wind turbines with up to 11 new turbines on a site about 11 miles north of Palm Springs.
The 30-MW project is proposed by Brookfield Renewables, which would install the new turbines to replace the older, mostly non-operational units. The older units at the facility, built in 1986, are 85- to 140-foot-tall lattice towers and would be replaced with new units that have a maximum height at top of blade tip of 499 feet. The repower project would reduce the number of disturbed acres from 40 to 30. An alternative development plan would result in nine turbines and fewer acres disturbed, at 26.
Resources analyzed in the plan include cultural resources; air quality/greenhouse gases; fuels and fire; socioeconomics; noise and vibration; soils; special designations; vegetation and wildlife; and visual resources.
The repower project would remain within the existing right-of-way boundaries. A transmission line tying into Southern California Edison's Pan Aero Substation can accommodate the repowered project and would not require an upgrade, BLM said.
BLM opened up a 30-day public comment period beginning May 20. The draft EIA and a presentation summarizing the project are available online, where comments can be made, or by email at BLM_CA_PS_MesaWind@blm.gov. All written comments received will be considered and evaluated prior to issuing a final decision, the agency said.
The proposed project supports Executive Order 13783: Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, signed by President Donald Trump in March 2017, and Secretarial Order 3349: American Energy Independence.