Biden administration approves $550 million solar project in Californian desert

The Biden administration has approved a large scale solar energy project located in the Californian desert, as part of  President Joe Biden’s pledge to develop more renewable energy projects on public lands.

The US$550 million Crimson Solar Project will be sited on 2,000 acres of federal land west of Blythe, California, according to the Interior Department. It is being developed by Canadian Solar unit Recurrent Energy and will deliver power to California utility Southern California Edison.

“Projects like this can help to make America a global leader in the clean energy economy through the acceleration of responsible renewable energy development on public lands,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in a statement.

Crimson Solar will create 650 construction jobs but just 10 permanent and 40 temporary jobs in operations and maintenance for the 30-year life of the project, the statement added.

The project, which will include a battery storage system, will be situated on land designated for renewable energy development by the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan – an agreement forged between the state of California and the Obama administration that set aside areas for wind and solar projects.

Renewable energy projects form a key part of President Biden’s broader agenda to fight climate change, create jobs and reverse former President Donald Trump’s stance on maximising fossil fuel extraction.