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Visual Resources Management and Renewable Solar Electrical Energy Generation in the California Desert

Thinking Forward
Categorized Under: Environment



This article, written by ICF International, summarizes visual resources management for renewable solar electrical energy generation in the California desert. The number of utility-scale renewable solar electric energy proposals is increasing in the California desert because of the existence of areas of high solar incidence index and the availability of vast amounts of land. Military bases in the California desert are a logical place for such installations because of their heavy energy use and the current administration’s edict that federal agencies lead the way in reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

Planning the appropriate location of a facility to minimize its visual dominance is the preferred method of visual resource management. Attempting to visually mitigate a solar facility that is poorly sited can be a futile effort. However, a well-conceived project location will require little or no visual mitigation.

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Authored By

  • Peter Langenfeld

    AssociateICF International

    Peter Langenfeld has more than 25 years of experience in environmental consulting. As southern California's Visual Resource Management Specialist, he has evaluated the potential aesthetic impacts on projects ranging from mega cruise ship terminals to public art. Mr. Langenfeld is unique to aesthetic analysis in that he is a primary author as well as a design visualization specialist (visual simulations). Being intimately involved in all aspects of the visual resource methodology gives him a unique perspective few have.

    Mr. Langenfeld has been trained by BLM in Visual Resource Management (VRM) at their award-winning weeklong boot camp for employees tasked with VRM for each field office. He has also successfully implemented California Environmental Quality Act/National Environmental Policy Act (CEQA/NEPA) documentation for the U.S. Forest Service's (USFS) Scenery Management System. For the past several years, he has been working primarily on renewable energy projects. A recent CEQA document he and his team prepared for a wind energy project was selected as Outstanding Environmental Resource Document by the Association of Environmental Professionals. ICF’s VRM Group epitomizes the firm’s emphasis on synergistic cross-regional professional collaboration.

Insight Details

Published: Dec 13, 2011
Source: ICF International

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