The Calico and Imperial Solar projects may be up for grabs because Tessera Solar LLC appears unable to develop the sites with its own resources. While Tessera Solar LLC's lack of cash and unreliable technology (Stirling "SunCatchers") are probably the biggest factors contributing to the company's doomed state, its poor choice of locations with high ecological and cultural value cast doubt on the future of its proposed projects. Tessera's Imperial Valley project was halted by a judge earlier this month after the Quechan Tribe sued the Department of the Interior for approving the project absent a thorough review of the site's cultural significance. Tessera Solar chose a site that contained over 400 Native American cultural landmarks, including burial grounds, and the Department of the Interior failed to properly consult with the Quechan Tribe before hastily approving Tessera's project.
Tessera's Calico Solar power project was under threat of legal action from the Sierra Club and California Union for Reliable (CURE) because the project would kill or displace at least 22 desert tortoises and a rare desert wildflower. SCE's withdrawal of the power purchase agreement from the Calico project could be one of the final nails in the coffin, although other companies could eventually seek to build on the same site.
|The creosote scrub and washes on the proposed Calico Solar site provide foraging habitat for desert tortoises and bighorn sheep, while sand dunes in the lower portion of the site host threatened Mojave fringe-toed lizards.|
|Desert Tortoise on the Desert Sunlight project site. Photo: BLM Draft EIS|