For Immediate Release, October 22, 2010
||Kierán Suckling, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 275-5960
Kristin Hunter, BrightSource Energy, (415) 281-7161
Center for Biological Diversity and BrightSource Commit to Desert Protections
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity and BrightSource Energy, Inc. reached an agreement today to provide additional protections for the desert tortoise and other rare species affected by the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System project in the Mojave Desert.
Under the terms of the agreement, BrightSource will arrange for the acquisition and/or enhancement of thousands of acres of desert tortoise and other desert habitat. The specific lands identified for acquisition and/or enhancement will be made public when agreements are completed with the willing sellers.
“This agreement will provide important additional protections for the desert tortoise and other sensitive species in the area affected by this project, above and beyond what was required by the state and federal agencies that recently approved it,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center, which will receive no money or other compensation from the agreement.
“With world-class sun and rich biological diversity, the Mojave Desert is a vital resource to California and our nation,” said John Woolard, President and CEO of BrightSource Energy. “From the start of this project, we have focused on reducing its impact by implementing an environmentally responsible technology. We’re pleased to work with the Center to enhance the project by ensuring additional protections for desert tortoise and other habitat.”
Following a three year permitting process, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the State of California approved the 370-megawatt project earlier this month. The project entails approximately 3,500 acres of public land in San Bernardino County.
“The desert tortoise is an irreplaceable member of the Mojave Desert ecosystem that has been struggling to survive for decades against an onslaught of threats ranging from loss of habitat, cattle grazing, off-road vehicles, disease, and now, the effects of global warming. Today’s agreement will provide the tortoise significant additional relief,” said Suckling.
BrightSource and the Center agree that the California and Nevada desert ecosystems are nationally important and must be better managed and protected. The Center and BrightSource are committed to working to ensure that future utility-scale solar projects are sited thoughtfully to avoid conflict and achieve the mutual goals of preserving species habitat, meeting the need for climate protection, and rapidly transitioning the U.S. away from fossil fuels.
About the Center
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national environmental group based in Tucson, Ariz., that advocates for endangered species and wild places. To learn more, visit www.biologicaldiversity.org
About BrightSource Energy, Inc.
BrightSource Energy, Inc. provides clean, reliable and low cost solar energy for utility and industrial companies worldwide. The BrightSource Energy team combines nearly three decades of experience designing, building and operating the world’s largest solar energy plants with world-class project development capabilities. The company now has contracted to sell 2600 megawatts of power to be generated using its proprietary solar thermal technology. BrightSource Energy’s solar plants are designed to minimize their impact on the environment and help customers reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., BrightSource Energy is a privately held company with operations in the United States, Israel, and Australia. To learn more about BrightSource Energy and solar thermal energy, visit www.brightsourceenergy.com.