Los Angeles pulls the plug on Mojave solar plant

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won’t buy electricity from the project over concerns that it could harm wildlife.

Bechtel Corp. is developing the 2,000-acre Soda Mountain Solar Project, east of Barstow near the Nevada border. The L.A. Department of Water and Power was expected to be the plant’s biggest customer.

But the DWP says the project would be too harmful to desert tortoises and big horn sheep that populate the area – echoing the arguments of environmental groups. The DWP also says that other proposed renewable energy projects could sell power to the city at a lower cost, and with fewer delivery issues. The city-owned utility has set a goal of getting 35 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.sodamountainsolar

The DWP’s decision comes just a week after the Bureau of Land Management issued its final environmental review of the project. The federal agency requested that Bechtel reduce the size of the plant by about 20 percent, and lower its production targets by a similar amount. That decision didn’t sit well with environmental groups, who wanted the project scrapped altogether.

Bechtel will now have to find someone else to sell its power to or the project could fall apart. The company says it’s negotiating with other potential customers.