- Final Environmental Assessment for the Smart Grid Center for Commercialization of Electric Technology Ccet Technology Solutions for Wind Integrati
DOE prepared this EA to evaluate the potential environmental consequences of providing a financial assistance grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act; Public Law 111-5, 123 Stat. 115) to the Center for Commercialization of Electric Technology (CCET) to facilitate the development and demonstration of a multi-faceted, synergistic approach to managing fluctuations in wind power within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas transmission grid. This EA analyzes the potential environmental impacts of DOE’s proposed action of providing the Recovery Act funding and of the No-Action Alternative. In this EA, DOE evaluated potential environmental consequences from a portion of the overall project that would involve land disturbance. Other portions are described as significant elements of the project, but because they involve only installation of equipment in existing facilities, they do not involve potential for significant environmental impact and are not evaluated further. With regard to the land disturbing actions considered in this EA, DOE evaluated impacts to air quality, noise, aesthetics and visual resources, surface water resources, and biological resources. After performing a screening analysis of other environmental resource areas, DOE concluded that impacts to some aspects of the environment would not be likely to occur or would be negligible. The proposed project would be designed in compliance with federal and state air quality regulations, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and would have a net beneficial impact on air quality in the region. New construction would involve a 500-kilowatt solar farm with an array of solar panels, a storage battery with capacity to hold at least 250 kilowatts, and other green technologies. Operation of the solar farm would not result in any increase in noise in the vicinity. The aesthetics of the Discovery at Spring Trails community would change with the addition of the solar photovoltaic panels, which would be housed on rows of metal framework designed to allow the panels to be sloped toward the south for optimal exposure to the sun. The top edge of the modules would be 10 to 11 feet above the ground and the bottom edge would be about 2 feet above the ground. Developing 4 acres for the solar farm on the Discovery at Spring Trails site would not significantly impact any population of plant or animal species because the project site is small and isolated from larger tracts of undisturbed land, and because plant and animal species found there are expected to be widespread in the region or, for sensitive species, the area is not unique habitat. The red-cockaded woodpecker, which is an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act, occurs in Montgomery County. However, forest habitat in the project vicinity is second growth due to past development of the area, and it is unlikely that this species would occur there.
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