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Showing posts with the label SES Solar One

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…

Calico Solar Environmental Impact Deemed Significant

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The Calico Solar (formerly SES Solar One) project proposed for the Pisgah area was deemed to have significant impacts on biological resources, according to the draft environmental impact statement produced by the California Energy Commission (CEC).   The Calico Solar project, which would be built on approximately 8,230 acres of Mojave Desert public land.

Unlike with the Ridgecrest Solar Power Project staff assessment (see previous post) where the CEC openly recommended against construction on the proposed site, the CEC Staff did not make an outright recommendation on Calico Solar.  The CEC Staff made it clear, however, that the environmental impacts would be significant under current environmental laws, and if construction goes forward Calico Solar would have to implement substantial mitigation and adhere to several conditions in order to reduce the environmental impact to "less than significant" levels.   The Staff also noted that the Calico Solar "reduced acre…

Rainy Winter Could Reveal Value of Proposed Solar Sites

Defenders of Widlife, which is an intervenor in the proposed Calico Solar project east of Barstow, requested that Calico Solar LLC conduct another review of its proposed site for special status plants this year.  Defenders of Wildlife noted that the 2007 review of biological resources did not identify any rare plants but precipitation that year was also well below normal.  Precipitation in 2008 rose to 88% of normal, and a review of the site in that year did identify special status plants.  Defenders of Widlife highlights an important and time sensitive opportunity to conduct more accurate surveys of proposed solar sites this year since the Mojave Desert received approximately 200% of its normal precipitation this 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…