The 153MW project was approved by the Bureau of Land Management after the Fish and Wildlife Service judged that the project was unlikely to pose a threat to condors, which are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
The "right of way grant" means that, if a condor is killed over the thirty-year lease, there will be no prosecution under the Endangered Species Act. This is the first time such an agreement has been reached.
Alta Windpower, which is a subsidiary of Terra-Gen Power, will install condor detection technology which will switch off the turbines when condors are nearby.
It has also reduced the size of the project from 106 turbines to 51 and will contribute financially to a lead abatement programme. Ingestion of lead is the single biggest cause of condor deaths.
"This project provides an opportunity to engage other renewable energy companies and stakeholders with best practices that support condor recovery," said Ren Lohoefener, regional director for the FWS Pacific Southwest Region.