Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Calico Solar Site Sold to K Road Solar LLC

In a surprise move, Tessera Solar LLC sold its development rights on 7.2 square miles of pristine Mojave Desert habitat to K Road Solar LLC, according to an announcement on Tuesday.  Tessera Solar LLC's parent company, Ireland-based NTR, could not afford to build a solar project on the site after receiving approval from the Department of the Interior.  Tessera and NTR announced the sale on the same day that a lawsuit was filed against the Department of the Interior for improperly approving development on the Calico solar site, among 5 other projects.

The Calico solar power project site is home to at least 22 desert tortoises, a pocket of rare desert wildflowers known as white-margined beardtongue, Mojave fringe-toed lizards, and other special status species. 

Desert tortoise photographed on the Calico Solar power project site.  Photo from the Department of the Interior biological review documents.
K Road Solar LLC announced its intent to increase the energy yield on the site from 663 MW to 850 MW, using more photovoltaic panels instead of Stirling Engine technology proposed by Tessera.  The increase in yield could mean a larger footprint, and the different technology used on the site may warrant another environmental review to determine the impacts of the changes.  K Road will also have to reacquire a power purchase agreement, since Southern California Edison canceled the contract it signed with Tessera.

K Road's acquisition and plans to bulldoze the site are an unwelcome continuation of the threat that has loomed over this pristine desert for the past two years.

Photo of the Calico Solar site from BLM EIS documents.

No comments:

Post a Comment