Riverside County Approves McCoy Solar Energy Project
RIVERSIDE – The Riverside County Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved permits and a development agreement for the McCoy Solar Energy Project, which will create jobs in the Palo Verde Valley, revenue for Riverside County and renewable energy to the power grid.
The project is the first to finish the permitting process since the county’s solar power plant policy was enacted, outlining the terms of payments to the county for the use of its property and for committing vast tracts of land exclusively to solar development. The policy requires developers of solar projects greater than 20 megawatts to make payments to the county of $150 per-acre, adjusted annually to inflation, through a negotiated agreement between the county and the solar developer.
Supervisor John J. Benoit credits the board-approved policy with paving the way for a successful approval of the McCoy Solar Energy Project and its related development agreement. The project developer, McCoy Solar, LLC a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, Inc., knew what it would be expected to pay under the terms of the agreement which will grant a right to develop the property as a solar project for the next 30 years.
“Today is a historic vote, the result of amicable and smooth negotiations with NextEra and agreement on all issues and concerns,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit. “This project will put hundreds of people to work and we can look forward to long-term benefits to the county.”
The project is scheduled to be built in phases. The first phase of 2,262 acres could bring Riverside County as much as $14 million over 30 years and would ensure the project’s sales and use taxes are allocated to the county. Depending on when the second phase is built, this amount could increase substantially. The agreed-upon total solar power plant net acreage is 4,442 acres at full build-out.
“We’re pleased that the McCoy Solar Energy Project has reached this significant milestone,” said Scott Busa, Executive Director of Business Development for NextEra Energy Resources. “We look forward to continuing to work with the county in the coming months to get the project ready for construction.”
The 750-megawatt photovoltaic project will be built on approximately 4,096 acres of Bureau of Land Management land and 477 acres of private land approximately 13 miles northwest of Blythe. The first phase of the project, a 250-megawatt unit, will begin construction in late 2014.
If both phases are built consecutively, the project would employ an average of 341 construction workers over a 46-month period and close to 600 workers at peak construction. Once operational, the plant will employ approximately 20 full-time employees.