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Showing posts with the label SES

Clock Ticking for Calico Solar Site

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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. 

Although the Calico site layout was reduced i…

CEC Requesting Reliability Data from Tessera Solar

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The California Energy Commission (CEC) requested that Tessera Solar LLC submit detailed logs on the reliability of its "Suncatcher" solar technology,  potentially reflecting doubt about the effectiveness of the company's proposals.  According to transcripts of a 20 September CEC hearing, the CEC Staff believed that Tessera Solar should be required to submit reliability data in order to be allowed to proceed with its Imperial Valley Solar project, which is proposed for over 6,000 acres of California Desert habitat.   Tessera Solar is the same company that is also proposing to bulldoze another 4,600 acres of the Mojave Desert for the Calico Solar power project.

Both the Calico Solar and Imperial Valley Solar projects would utilize the "Suncatcher" technology.  Each Suncatcher resembles a giant satellite dish that would harness solar energy.  This technology is not as tested as parabolic technology selected for other solar projects since the Suncatchers involve mo…

Calico Solar Avoiding Responsibility for Environmental Damage?

In a document submitted by Calico Solar LLC (Tessera Solar and Stirling Energy), the company proposes weakening conditions proposed by the California Energy Commission (CEC) requiring it to conserve nearby Mojave Desert wilderness to compensate for the loss of endangered species.   The proposed Calico Solar power project would displace or kill at least 100 desert tortoises currently located on the site, in addition to several other special status species, including desert kit fox, burrowing owl and foxtail cactus.

In the original conditions proposed by the CEC Staff, Calico Solar would have to purchase and conserve 14,018 acres of desert tortoise habitat elsewhere in the Mojave to make up for the loss of wildlife and habitat on the proposed site.  However, in the document submitted by Tessera Solar and Calico Solar LLC, the company lowers the acreage for which it is responsible to 11,658 acres on "BIO-17", which is the designation for the condition requiring the company to c…

The Project Formerly Known as Solar One...

Updates on the certification process for two large-scale solar projects -- Solar One and Beacon Solar

The  850 megawatt and approximately 8,000 acre solar project previously titled "Solar One" proposed for the Pisgah, California area (just east of the Interstate 40 and Interstate 15 Junction) has adopted a new name -- Calico Solar Project as proposed by the newly re-named Calico Solar LLC (formerly SES LLC).   You can read my December posting on the preliminary environmental impact statement for the Calico site, but the short and dirty is that the site is host to the endangered Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard and Desert Tortoise. 

As of early January Calico Solar LLC  submitted additional information required by the California Energy Commission (CEC) for its application so we can expect to see more forward movement on the certification process.  They still have to submit a Desert Tortoise relocation and mitigation plan.  However, review of Calico LLC's documents from last year…

Panorama Photos of Solar Energy Study Areas Available

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As many of you are probably already aware, the Federal Government is proposing Solar Energy study areas, whereby the government has designated areas throughout the southwestern United States to evaluate for the suitability of future solar energy development.  The upside to this program is that it would ideally encourage energy companies to consolidate development in specific areas rather than scattered all throughout the Mojave Desert, although the jury is still out regarding the environmental impact on the specific sites chosen by the Federal Government.

You can visit the website for the Solar Energy Development Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) here, and you can also view panoramic photos of the sites being evaluated here.  If you check out the photographs for Pisgah, California, you'll see plenty of old lava flows, which will most likely host the endangered Mojave Desert Fringe-toed lizard.  That said, the site is located near agricultural fields and not far fro…

Preliminary Environmental Data for Pisgah Solar Project

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You can review preliminary data submitted by Stirling Energy Systems (SES) for its application to build a solar power plant just west of Pisgah, CA along the I-40 and Route 66. The PDF file is listed under "Applicant's Documents" on this California Energy Commission site. Some of the land requested from BLM may have been donated to BLM by the Wildlands Conservancy (former "Catellus" lands). This begs the question, can the Federal Government properly steward land intended for conservation, which presumably was the intent of the Wildlands Conservancy's acquisition and donation.

What I do like about the site is that it's located relatively close to disturbed agricultural land and probably will not impact some of the Mojave's more impressive view sheds. This makes the project more agreeable, especially when compared to the impact of the Ivanpah site in the Eastern Mojave. That said, it will be interesting to see the full Environmental Impact State…