Clock Ticking for Calico Solar Site

K Road Power, the company that purchased the rights from Tessera Solar to build the proposed Calico Solar power project, recently told the Desert Dispatch that they could begin bulldozing the site as early as August.   The Calico site is one of several locations poorly chosen by energy companies for solar development, and is home to a high density population of desert tortoise and a pocket of rare plants found in only a few other spots in the world.  The Sierra Club filed a legal challenge against the State of California for approving the project on such ecologically important land.

K Road Power (and its subsidiary, K Road Solar), expect to change the original plan of development to use fewer of Tessera Solar's "Suncatcher" dishes, and more photovoltaic panels.  The change in technology almost certainly will necessitate a new environmental review because of differences in ground disturbance and water flow during rain storms. 

The Calico site after a winter rain shower with the Cady Mountains in the distance.
Although the Calico site layout was reduced in order to lessen impacts on endangered species, the project would still displace or kill at least 22 desert tortoises, according to biological surveys.  The site also hosts one of the few pockets of rare white-margined beardtongue plants, and would block wildlife movement along the Cady Mountains.

The rare white-margined beardtongue plant found on the Calico site.

A desert tortoise foraging on the proposed Calico Solar site.  Photo from a CEC biological resources report.

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