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Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility

Pattern Energy, through Ocotillo Express LLC, proposed to construct and operate a 465-megawatt wind generation facility on approximately 12,500 acres in Imperial County, California, near the unincorporated community of Ocotillo. Aspen, under contract to Imperial County, prepared the joint Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for the proposed Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility. The Aspen Team also conducted extensive biological and cultural resource surveys to support the EIS/EIR.

The project is located on BLM-administered land except for approximately 500 acres of private and public land outside the project boundaries that will be utilized for road access and collection line right-of-ways. Major facilities include 155 wind turbine generators, access roads, and electrical collection and connection. Ancillary facilities include an operation and maintenance facility, project substation and switchyard, temporary parking and storage laydown, temporary batch plant, sand and gravel source, and permanent meteorological towers. A 500-kV above-ground stub line will connect the project substation to the new San Diego Gas & Electric Sunrise Powerlink transmission line. After project changes to address environmental and community concerns, the approved project consists of 112 wind turbine generators capable of generating up to 336 MW of power.

The Aspen Team prepared biological, cultural, and paleontological technical reports, as well visual resource simulations, noise modeling, traffic impact analysis, and a mitigation monitoring and reporting program. A broad suite of vegetation and wildlife surveys were conducted, including avian point counts, bird migration studies, focused species surveys, and rare plant surveys. In addition, a 404 (b)(1) analysis, jurisdictional delineation, integrated weed management plan, habitat restoration plan, and Biological Assessment were prepared. Extensive cultural resources surveys were conducted and assistance was provided to the BLM in consultation efforts with 14 Native American Tribes. A Memorandum of Agreement was developed to guide implementation of a robust cultural resources monitoring program during construction that provided for tribal participation, as well as compliance with the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act Plan of Action to ensure proper treatment and protection of prehistoric human remains should any be found during construction.

Aspen, BLM, and Imperial County were recently awarded the  AEP 2013 “Outstanding Environmental Analysis” award for the preparation of this EIS/EIR. For more information about this, click here.

Practice areas: Energy

Services provided for this project: