Defending the Desert



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Protecting the Basin and Range Province



Basin and Range Watch is a group of volunteers who live in the deserts of Nevada and California, working to stop the destruction of our desert homeland. Federal and many state agencies and some local governments are seeking to open up millions of acres of unspoiled habitat in our region to industrial renewable energy development. Our goal is to identify the problems of energy sprawl and find solutions that will preserve our natural ecosystems and open spaces. We support renewable energy but advocate for better national and state planning.

Come visit and experience the great beauty of spring wildflowers, vast open vistas, bird watching trails, and wildlife viewing.

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Solar Projects Next To Manzanar Withdrawn

April 23, 2015 - Independence CA - The Northland Power solar project, located next to Manzanar National Historic Site in the Owens Valley, was withdrawn from its 20th position on the list on April 1. Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch was ninth on the Priority Queue List and also lost its place and was withdrawn on March 12. The time limit on the interconnection request for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s solar ranch expired, and as a result the project lost its spot in line to hook up to LADWP’s Inyo-Rinaldi Transmission Line. But "withdrawn" from the queue to interconnect may not mean the projects are dead. LADWP stated it will continue to examine the viability of this renewable project and many others, especially in light of the new state goals of 50 percent renewables by 2030.


See Sierra Wave.

Desert Sunlight Solar Project Damaged by Tornado

April 23, 2015 - Desert Center CA - The National Weather Service reported that a tornado touched down Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday the Weather Service gave the tornado a rating of "E-F-0." The tornado formed just east of Kaiser Road and damaged the Desert Sunlight Solar Project, breaking some photovoltaic panels. We received photos of the damage from viewer Jim Kreizinger. The National Weather Service says they plan to tour the solar plant next week and get a first hand look at the damaged solar panels.

^Tornado in Chuckwalla Valley, Riverside County CA. Photo: Melissa Cruisinberry

Hidden Hills Solar Power Tower: Energy Commission Moves to Terminate

April 17, 2015 - The California Energy Commission staff made a motion today to terminate the Hidden Hills Solar Electric Generating System, mostly in response to Inyo County's Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment which had specific limitations, such as photovoltaic only (no solar thermal power towers). They said:

"Applicant’s failure to meaningfully fulfill its status report requirements, and failure to timely file a renewed request for suspension, are by themselves sufficient basis for terminating the proceeding. However, there is an additional reason that supports termination beyond 'failure to pursue with due diligence.' That reason is the recent adoption by Inyo County of a Renewable Energy Plan (General Plan Amendment No. 2013-02). The general plan amendment (Amendment) was the product of Inyo County’s participation in the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, and was financed with grant funding from the Energy Commission to do comprehensive planning on the county level for renewable energy development. (Inyo Co. Resolution No. 2015- 26, March 24, 2015, p.2.) The Amendment is the product of extensive public outreach, consultation with public agencies, consultation with Native American tribes, and a full- blown environmental impact report process that considered extensive project alternatives. (Id., pp. 2-11.)"

More >>here.

Judges Hear Arguments in Two Cases Against Ivanpah Solar Project

April 10, 2015 - Pasadena CA - A three judge panel of the 9th Circuit heard from both sides in two cases challenging the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in San Bernardino County CA -- Western Watersheds Project objected to its lack of proper environmental review, and the Native American group La Cuna de Aztlan objected to restriction of religious freedom. More >>here.

Our Report on the Inyo County Supervisors Hearing on the REGPA

April 4, 2014 - The March meeting to discuss the Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment, with public comment, and far-reaching concerns for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, >>here.

Conservationists Ask for New Decision on the Searchlight Wind Project

March 12, 2015 - Last week conservation groups, including Basin & Range Watch, asked the U.S. District Court in Reno, Nevada to order Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to take a fresh look at a controversial wind project in an area with the densest concentrations of protected golden eagles and one of the densest desert tortoise populations in Nevada. The latest motion asks Judge Miranda Du to vacate the Record of Decision and require the Secretary of the Interior to make a new decision whether to approve the project after the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provide additional explanation for their wildlife analyses. More >>here.

News Archive: News page 2.....News page 1























The Better Alternative: Rooftop Solar and Energy Efficiency (California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan) >>here - Sign the Petition




































Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) >>here



Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for CA, NV, AZ, NM, CO, UT >>here - Solar Done Right Response >>here







Inyo County Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment>>here

Las Vegas Resource Managament Plan >>here

Solar Projects (Active):




Blythe Solar Power Project

A huge 1,000 MW photovoltaic panel project in McCoy Wash, Riverside County with a 5,950 acre footprint. Cultural issues, Fringe-toed lizards, and Desert tortoise are concerns. >>here (under construction)



Crescent DunesCrescent Dunes Solar Project

Solar Reserve Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project. A 100 MW power tower project with molten salt storage, near Tonopah, Nevada >>here. (under construction)


Desert Quartzite Solar Farm


A 2,500-acre photovoltaic project by First Solar near Blythe, in Riverside County, California >>here


fsDesert Sunlight Solar Farm




A large-scale First Solar photovoltaic project in Colorado Desert area of Chuckwalla Valley, Riverside County, California >>here. (in operation)

I-10 Corridor Projects in Chuckwalla Valley >>here



GensisGenesis Solar Energy Project

NextEra Energy proposes to build a 250-megawatt parabolic trough solar thermal plant near Ford Dry Lake in Chuckwalla Valley, Riverside County, California. Water is a concern. >>here (under construction)




Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System


BrightSource's solar thermal power tower proposal in Ivanpah Valley, San Bernardino County CA >>here. Updates >>here (online)


Proposal for an Ivanpah Valley Area of Critical Environmental Concern >>here










BlytheMcCoy Solar Power Project

750 MW photovoltaic project in McCoy Wash, Riverside County near Blythe, by NextEra Energy. >>here (under construction)


Owens Valley solar projects

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and private companies are planning on developing large-scale solar facilities in Owens Valley at various locations. See >>here, and LADWP Solar Ranch; Northland Solar Project.

See also: Deepest Valley: The Story of Inyo Continues


UmaPalen Solar Electric Generating System

500 MW solar power plant in Chuckwalla Valley ten miles east of Desert Center, on good Mojave fringe-toed lizard habitat. Abengoa Solar. >>here




Silver StateSilver State South Solar Project

Photovoltaic panel proposal in Ivanpah Valley, Clark County, Nevada >>here

(under construction)


sodaSoda Mountain Solar Project

Photovoltaic panel proposal in San Bernardino County, California >>here

Last Spring at Soda Mountain? >>here


statelineStateline Solar Project

Photovoltaic panel proposal in Ivanpah Valley, CA >>h

ere (under construction)

See also Ivanpah Updates page >>here; May 2011 >>here


clapper railSunshine Valley Solar Project

A 110 MW photovoltaic project by First Solar on private land in Amargosa Valley NV that is close to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refgue. Federally Endangered Yuma clapper rails may be threatened by the "lake effect" of the solar panels >>here

Solar Demonstration Area in Nevada Test Site by Department of Energy >>here


Wind Projects (Active):





ocotilloOcotillo Express Wind Facility

Pattern Energy's project on the boundary of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Imperial County, California >>here (online)

Spring 2011 Field Trip >>here



tiptonMohave County Wind Farm Project

On the White Hills and fan next to Lake Mead National Recreation Area in northwestern Arizona, near Mt. Tipton Wilderness and by places where California condors have been sighted from Grand Canyon reintroductions >>here


SearchlightSearchlight Wind Energy Project




Duke Energy's proposal to place giant wind turbines over the Searchlight Hills, Clark County, Nevada >>here.





SilurianSilurian Valley Wind and Solar Energy Project

Iberdrola plans on various wind and solar projects in this remote Mojave Desert valley southeast of Death Valley National Park, San Bernardino County, California >>here. (Solar project rejected by Bureau of Land Management)




spring vallySpring Valley Wind Energy Project

Pattern Energy wants to build up to 85 giant 400-foot tall wind turbines in Spring Valley east of Ely, Nevada, 12 miles from the boundary of Great Basin National Park. The site is home to Pygmy rabbits, Sage grouse, and Pronghorn antelope. DEADLINE for Comments January 15, 2010! >>here (online)


Transmission Projects:




transmissionCoolwater-Lugo Transmission Project

A large Southern California Edison transmission project from Barstow south along State Route 247 which would open up huge swaths of desert and threaten local communities with energy sprawl >>here


eldorado-IvanpahEldorado-Ivanpah Transmission Project





Southern California Edison proposal to upgrade and add lines in southern Nevada and eastern California in Ivanpah Valley, to deliver future renewable energy to coastal cities >>here (completed)




transmissionSunrise Powerlink

Southern California proposed mega-powerline to supposedly link wind and solar in the eastern deserts and Baja to coastal cities in San Diego County, but also tied to fossil fuel >>here (completed)


SCE Proposes 2 New Renewable Energy Transmission Projects in Mojave Desert >>here

Inactive or Withdrawn Solar Projects:
























AmargosaAmargosa Farm Road Project





Proposal with storage in Amargosa Valley, Nye County, Nevada >>here (not active)


CalicoCalico Solar Project (SES Solar 1)




This project is larger than the city of Berkeley. K Road project by the proposed Cady Mountains Wilderness, San Bernardino County, California >>here. Updates >>here (withdrawn)



hidden hillsHidden Hills Solar Electric Generating System

BrightSource Energy's second solar thermal power tower proposal in Mesquite Valley, Inyo County CA >>here (inactive but could return)




ImperialImperial Valley Solar Project

This project is no longer active. Former Tessera Stirling dish project on 6,500 acres sited on archaeologically sensitive Colorado Desert with Flat-tailed horned lizards, west of El Centro, Imperial County, California >>here (withdrawn)



Lathrop Wells Solar Facility

This project is no longer active, an older Abengoa application. In Amargosa Valley, Nevada, a 250-megawatt parabolic trough solar thermal plant that may be upgraded to 500 MW, with 70 MW photovoltaic. >>here (withdrawn)



Lucerne Valley

Lucerne Valley Solar Project


Chevron Energy Solutions is proposing to build a 516-acre photovoltaic project on Mojave Desert with Joshua trees and tortoises. Some call the area disturbed, but we disagree >>here (inactive)


Pacific Solar Big Dune Photovoltaic Project

7,500-acre project in Amargosa Valley, Nevada, on rare and endemic beetle habitat >>here (inactive)




Rice Solar Energy Project


A 500-foot tall power tower in a remote California desert by Solar Reserve >>here (inactive)



Desert dandelionRidgecrest Solar Power Project

Photovoltaic panel proposal for Kern County, California, in the West Mojave Desert >>here. Updates page >>here (terminated)



eagleRio Mesa Solar Electric Generating Facility

BrightSource Energy's third solar thermal power tower proposal along the Colorado River near Blythe, San Bernardino County CA>>here (inactive



Inactive or Withdrawn Wind Projects:


Granite Mountain Wind Energy Project


RES proposal to place wind turbines on a roadless pristine mountain in San Bernardino County, California, home to the rare Ford's Indra swallowtail. >>here




Wilson Creek/Table Mountain Wind Project

This project has been canceled. A proposed 990 MW wind farm on 30,000 acres of beautiful Great Basin mountain range with elk and sage grouse, a popular recreation area in Lincoln County, Nevada near Pioche >>here (withdrawn)


Wind Project Impacts - Photos of Construction in the Mojave Desert and Tehachapi Grassland >>here

Wind Project Proposed for Eastern Edge of Joshua Tree National Park >>here


Storage Projects:





Eagle Mountain Hydroelectric Pumped Storage Project

An area that should be part of Joshua Tree National Park, in Riverside County, California. Related to the renewable energy projects along the I-10 corridor >>here

Inactive Transmission Projects:

Green Path North Transmission Project




Los Angeles Department of Water and Power high-voltage line would cut through Big Morongo Canyon Preserve in San Bernardino County, California >>here (not active)



Better Renewable Energy Alternatives:




Sign the Petition by Solar Done Right (scroll down to petition on left front page)

This initiative will bring citizens together to demand a more cost-effective, faster, less damaging, and more democratic path to renewable energy. Our goal is to move renewable energy development away from our ecologically rich and agriculturally important lands and onto rooftops and already-developed areas. Solar Done Right will take this petition to top energy policymakers in our government: the White House, Department of Interior, Department of Energy.


Community Power: Decentralized Renewable Energy in California by Al Weinrub >>1.22 MB PDF




Golden Eagle Research in the Desert: Renewable Energy Impacts >>here

BRW Recommends Agencies Follow the Final Report of the Independant Science Advisors to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan >>here



Desert Pavement: A Natural Soil Type >>here



Desert Tortoise Recovery: Science and Politics Clash >>here


New Desert Tortoise Species Described, Mojave Population Unique, Implications for Big Solar and Conservation >>here

Revised Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan Fails to Address Renewable Energy Sprawl >>here


Sand Lizards of the Desert: Fringe-toed Lizards >>here



Flat-tailed Horned Lizard in Trouble in Imperial Valley, California >>here


Evolutionary Hotsports in the Mojave Desert >>here

Carbon Sequestration in the Desert: Dr. Michael Allen Paper on Gaps in Desert Research >>here

Letter From an Ecologist: Solar Development Threatens the Desert >>here


All Renewable Energy Issues >>here

Summary of Solar

golden evening primrose

^March 2015- Golden evening primrose (Camissonia brevipes), near Shoshone CA.







Calendar of Comment Deadlines


Of Interest:

Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan >>here

Coolwater-Lugo Transmission Project in the California Desert >>here

Robert Lundahl Film: "Who Are My People?" >>here





More Renewable Energy NEWS >>here




Hiking the Desert










Reward Mine Gets Permit >>here




"In the first place you can't see anything from a car; you've got to get out of the goddamned contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you'll see something, maybe."

--Edward Abbey, 1967, Desert Solitaire


"Polite conversationalists leave no mark, save the scar upon the earth that could have been prevented had they stood their ground."

--David Brower













All text and photographs Copyright 2014 Basin and Range Watch unless otherwise stated. Basin and Range Watch is an all-volunteer group which does not accept donations from any corporation, individual, or entity.
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