Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan in Southern California Announced

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced the finalization of the first phase of an ambitious renewable energy plan eight years in the making called the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP).

The wide ranging landscape-level plan seeks to spur renewable energy activity while protecting conservation land and recreation areas among 10 million acres in Southern California.


The two-phase land use plan is a collaborative effort between the BLM, the California Energy Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The plan involved extensive feedback from the public and stakeholders.

The plan's first phase involves federal land in Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. It identifies 388,000 acres of development areas of high-quality renewable energy potential.

The first phase is part of a comprehensive plan that encompasses 22 million acres of public and private land in Southern California. The second phase will address management of renewable energy on private lands.

“By designating over 600 miles of renewable energy areas, the DRECP provides a clear pathway for projects on public lands, while giving the state much greater certainty about where those projects could be located,” said Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas.

The Energy Commission developed planning assumptions for the plan. The plan assumes that 8,174 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy will be developed on public land.

“Renewable energy is a key part of California’s approach to addressing climate change and large scale renewable projects in the California desert will play an essential role in California meeting climate and renewable energy goals,” said Douglas.

The DRECP is crucial to California's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan to permit 20,000 MW of renewable energy on public lands by 2020.

The DRECP specifies species, ecosystem and climate adaptation requirements for desert wildlife, and protects recreation areas on public land. In total, the plan identifies 5.3 million acres of lands for conservation.

The plan excludes renewable energy development from important recreation areas. It also provides conservation and management actions to minimize the impact of energy development and infrastructure on recreation areas.

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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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