Holland & Knight partner Elizabeth Lake has negotiated the first Advanced Mitigation Program (AMP) agreement for a renewable energy project in California. The AMP program was authorized under California Senate Bill (SB) 34 in 2010, and it provides the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) with the authority to design and implement advanced mitigation actions, including the purchase of land and conservation easements to protect, restore and enhance the habitat for endangered, threatened and other special-status species in California. Land purchased as part of the advance mitigation program essentially provides a conservation bank designed to service eligible projects.

This first AMP agreement is for the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS), a solar thermal power plant project, located on approximately 3,500 acres of federal land in California’s Mojave Desert. When completed, it will produce enough clean energy to power 140,000 homes. ISEGS’s design minimizes the impact on the natural environment. It is owned by NRG, Google and BrightSource Energy.

The ability to meet mitigation land needs for renewable projects like ISEGS was the intent of SB 34 and the AMP. Through this program, CDFW purchases high-value conservation lands that provide intrinsic habitat values, essential connectivity, and ecosystem service values as mitigation for large-scale renewable energy projects.

“Agreements such as this one enable companies to pool land acquisition requirements and apply them to qualifying renewable energy projects,” said Lake, who works in the firm’s San Francisco office. “This is a more efficient way to purchase large plots of land as well as increase the conservation of land to support habitat protection and connectivity. It is complex, but it is one way that California can work to achieve the goal set by Governor Brown of 33 percent renewable energy by 2020.”



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