For the many that were not able to attend the 11 January California Energy Commission (CEC) hearing addressing the Ivanpah Solar Energy hearing today, we will have to wait until the staff posts the comments and outcome of decisions regarding the impact of the Ivanpah site on the Mojave Desert's biological resources. A review of the CEC Staff's initial rebuttal to the comments from BrightSource Energy request to water down many of the requirements holds promise that, even if Ivanpah is allowed to move forward, neither the State or the BLM will subsidize BrightSource for their poor choice in locations.
posting about BrightSource Energy's complaints about the conditions imposed by the CEC, some of which demanded that the company mitigate for the loss of desert tortoise habitat, institute a raven management plan and a desert tortoise relocation plan. The CEC rebuttal appears to hold fast to most of the biological resource conditions, rejecting BrightSource Energy's attempt to weasel out of its responsibility to mitigate for the loss of desert tortoise habitat--requiring that the company purchase and set aside quality tortoise habitat at a 3:1 ratio. The CEC staff also agreed with intervenors, such as the Sierra Club and Defenders of Widlife, that the company needed to submit a more detailed closure/revegatation plan so that the company would not be let off the hook 25 years down the road when it decides to close the facility without restoring the habitat.
BrightSource has lodged public complaints about the costs of the permitting process, alleging that the process could hurt the solar energy industry in its infant stages. The problem with their argument is that neither the State of California nor the Bureau of Land Management asked BrightSource to build in the Ivanpah valley. There are alternative sites in the Mojave that would be better suited for development, and would not endanger as many natural resources. If BrightSource had chosen more wisely, they would not be meeting these hurdles.