VIDAL SOLAR INTERCONNECTION PROJECT, DOE/EA-2170

​​​ABOUT THE PROJECT​

The Vidal Solar Interconnection Project (Project) is a proposal by CDH Vidal LLC to construct a 160 MW solar photovoltaic generating facility and a 160 MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) on 1,220-acres of privately-owned lands in San Bernardino County, California (see map, parcels depicted in blue​). In October 2021, CDH Vidal LLC submitted a request to Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) to interconnect its proposed facility to WAPA’s Headgate Rock to Blythe (HDR-BLY) 161-kilovolt (kV) transmission line. In order to potentially interconnect the Project, WAPA would need to construct a new switchyard and associated interconnection facilities adjacent to the Project and the existing HDR-BLY line (see map, interconnection would occur within red-circled area​). WAPA’s proposed interconnection switchyard would be located near the vicinity of HDR-BLY structure 25/4.

In response to the interconnection request, WAPA determined it is appropriate to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate the environmental effects of the Project and meet WAPA’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements.

The Project scope previously included upgrading WAPA’s communication equipment along the entirety of the approximately 52-mile HDR-BLY transmission line by replacing the existing overhead grounding wire with new fiber optic grounding wire. After further coordination it was determined that microwave would be used as the primary form of communication. This eliminates the required fiber optic upgrades between Headgate Rock and Blythe Substations. The Project scope no longer includes installing 52 miles of new overhead fiber optic grounding wire fiber optic wire along the HDR-BLY transmission line. For more details, see the Revised P​roject Scope Memo​.

​PROJECT FEATURES

CDH Vidal LLC plans to build, operate, and maintain up to a 160 MW photovoltaic solar energy facility and a 160 MW BESS facility.  Construction of these facilities includes the following components:

  • Installing solar panel arrays on 1,220 acres of land
  • Installing underground collection lines from each panel to a collection point substation
  • ​Installing the battery storage facility which would consist of battery storage containers, inverters/transformers, communications equipment, switchgear, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units
  • Creating access roads within the facility for construction and maintenance
  • Constructing an on-site collection point substation, and
  • Installing and maintaining an on-site interconnection facility to the existing Headgate Rock-Blythe 161-kV transmission line​

​CURRENT STATUS​​​

WAPA completed its project scoping activities on the proposed Vidal Solar Interconnection Project upon the closure of the scoping comment period on February 17, 2022​.  WAPA will be using any substantive scoping comments that were submitted to help guide the environmental review process as we develop the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) document.  The development and release of the Draft EA to the public is the next step in the environmental review process.  When WAPA releases the Draft EA in late-Spring 2022 or early-Summer 2022, we will be having another comment period associated with the release of the Draft EA.

CONTACT

For questions about the environmental review process, please contact:

Natalie Ortega, Environmental Manager
Western Area Power Administration, DSW
Phone: (480) 341-0233
Email: nortega@wapa.gov

For technical questions regarding the project’s design and schedule, please contact:​​

Kalani Ellis, Project Manager
Western Area Power Administration, DSW
Phone: (602) 605-2451
Email: kellis@wapa.gov​​

​DOCUMENTS

DRAF​T ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

  • Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) (anticipated by early 2024)

​SCOPING

​OLDER PROJECT DOCUMENTS

Last modified on October 12th, 2023