Thursday, October 28, 2010

CEC Approves Calico Solar Power Project Despite Strong Objections

The California Energy Commission (CEC) gave final approval for Tessera Solar LLC's 663 megawatt Calico Solar power project.  Dirty solar at its finest, the facility will be built on 7 square miles of pristine desert on public land, home to endangered desert tortoise, Mojave fringe-toed lizard and a rare plant called white-margined beardtongue.  You can read more about the ecological significance of the site on a previous post covering the testimony of desert expert Mr. Jim Andre.

The public land that will soon be destroyed for Tessera Solar's project
The Sierra Club issued strong testimony on the CEC's approval of the Calico Solar power project, according to transcripts from the 22 October CEC hearing, noting that the approval process violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the Warren-Alquist Act.  The Sierra Club claimed that the CEC's approval would be susceptible to "judicial review and reversal."  So far, no national environmental organization has shown leadership in correcting the current renewable energy strategy, which subsidizes energy companies that destroy pristine desert habitat.   Opposing destructive projects can help steer renewable energy development to land that is already disturbed, such as the Abengoa or Beacon Solar power projects which will be built on land previously used for agriculture.

The Tessera Solar project is eligible for Federal loan guarantees and grant money.  Tessera Solar is also responsible for the massive Imperial Valley Solar power project, which will also destroy Native American sites of cultural significance.

2 comments:

  1. They could show strong leadership by acting on their "convictions." A lawsuit filed right now on behalf of the Mojave would go a long way in redressing their recent wrongs on these issues.

    But having morphed into an organization that shies away from the slightest possibility of conflict, I am sure the leadership will just issue more talking points in an effort to assuage the anger amongst their ranks.

    Yes, the wholescale raping and plundering of the Mojave has begun at long last, to the overwhelming indifference amongst groups that had they stayed true to their founding ideals, would now be going all out to stop it.

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  2. let's hope they come through, Bill. We need someone to take a stand, and they are one of the few organizations powerful enough to have an impact. In the meantime we will continue our grassroots awareness campaign.

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