A plan to build a solar power energy plant in San Diego County’s back country was unanimously approved Wednesday by the Board of Supervisors.
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The board voted to grant a major use permit, certify an environmental impact report and approve agreements for fire and emergency services for the 108-acre plant about 1 1/2 miles east of Jacumba Hot Springs along the U.S.- Mexico border.
The Jacumba Solar photovoltaic solar energy generating facility was proposed by Jacumba Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy. The developers plan to preserve 184 acres as open space.
The plant will provide 20 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 5,000 homes, according to a staff report.
Maris Brancheau, attorney for the Protect Our Communities Foundation, asked the board not to approve the project.
“This project is not sustainable. It’s planned along critical migratory bird routes of the Pacific flyway and in the path of wildlife corridors that are already constrained by fences,” Brancheau said.
“The project area is mostly undeveloped, hosts a wide array of protected species, and even given the environmental review that we consider insufficient, it’s going to result in the potentially significant and unavoidable adverse impacts for which feasible mitigation measures would not reduce the impacts to a level of below significant,” Brancheau added
The project was supported by the Jacumba Community Sponsor Group and the San Diego County Planning Commission.
“Continuous sun exposure is optimal for these projects,” Supervisor Dave Roberts said. “The location seems to make sense for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the close proximity to the SDG&E ECO substation, which keeps the above-ground transmission lines shorter.”
—City News Service
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