U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Sally Jewell has announced the approval of a 500 MW wind energy project to be located on public lands in Arizona.
The Mohave County Wind Farm, proposed by BP Wind Energy North America Inc., would feature up to 243 wind turbines. The DOI says the approval paves the way for right-of-way grants for use of approximately 35,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land and 2,800 acres of Bureau of Reclamation land.
The DOI adds that BP Wind Energy agreed to undertake mitigation efforts to minimize impacts to wildlife and other resources, including reducing the project's footprint by about 20% from the original proposal.
In particular, the DOI decision bars the installation of turbines within designated sensitive areas to avoid golden eagle nesting locations, as well as provides for a 1.2-mile buffer zone to protect the nests. Additionally, no turbine will be closer than a quarter-mile to private property.
The DOI notes it has approved 46 wind, solar and geothermal utility-scale projects on public lands since 2009, including associated transmission corridors and infrastructure to connect to established power grids. The BLM has also identified an additional 14 active renewable energy proposals slated for review this year and next.